Colorado Rights Blog

ACLU of Colorado By: ACLU of Colorado 1.20.2017

The People’s Oath: Your Own Oath of Office

As Donald Trump takes the Oath of Office as President, the American Civil Liberties Union invites you to take your own oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States.  Whatever challenges we may face to principles of due process, privacy, equal protection and freedom from cruelty, the ACLU will stand firm.  The ACLU is ready to defend First Amendment rights of press, protest, speech, and religious freedom for all people.  We will not ignore threats to the rights of immigrants, women, people of color, religious minorities, LGBTQ communities, people with disabilities, people experiencing poverty or homelessness, or anyone else.  What constitutional rights and freedoms are you most committed to upholding and defending?  What do you want to promise in your own People’s Oath?

Starting today, our responses will be to the actions and policies of Trump’s administration, not merely to his words or tweets.   Today the ACLU took its first legal action against the Trump Administration. On behalf of the American public, the ACLU filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the Office of Government Ethics and three other government offices demanding access to key documents concerning Trump’s conflicts of interest.

The ACLU of Colorado will participate in national struggles for freedom and justice while seeking to make Colorado a Civil Liberties Safe Zone, protecting our rights in this state no matter what happens nationally.  Colorado’s legislative session is already underway, including bills that we support to improve police practices, end the death penalty, and stop criminalization of homelessness, and bills we will fight that would allow discrimination in the name of religion or undermine abortion rights in Colorado.  The ACLU of Colorado keeps track of more than a hundred bills each year. To follow what we are doing this year, track our legislative database.

I am awed by and grateful for the outpouring of new members, volunteers and supporters for the ACLU in the last two months—it is what most gives me hope.  Using that support, we are building our capacity for public policy, litigation, education and communication, all in order to protect and advance civil rights and civil liberties in this new political environment. We will protect dissenters if they are silenced, activists if they are spied upon, women who could lose their reproductive rights, immigrant families that could be ripped apart, youth who have been caught up in the criminal justice system, people who can’t afford bail or bond, and anyone vulnerable to having their rights denied.

The ACLU of Colorado will need your support not just today, but throughout the next four years and beyond.  We work in coalition with dozens of partner organizations, and they will need your support as well.  We have an incredible community of people and organizations in this state committed to the basic principles of democracy and the Constitution, and we all need each other now.   Ultimately, the promises of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are for everyone, so no matter who you are or who you voted for, the ACLU is defending your rights, too.  What better way to express those rights than to take your own Oath of Office as an American today?

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  • Cedric Watkins is a father, uncle, entrepreneur-in-training, and a vital community pillar for many others. While behind bars, he has tirelessly devoted himself to serving his peers and his community. He developed gang disaffiliation programs for other incarcerated individuals and is currently involved with Defy Ventures. He sends letters and calls his daughter as much as he can.

    Cedric is currently in prison at Sterling Correctional Facility. He was convicted of aggravated robbery, burglary, kidnapping, theft and sentenced to 80 years; no one was seriously injured or killed. For comparison, a person convicted of second-degree murder in Colorado faces a maximum sentence of 48 years. Cedric has already served 20 years and has fully rehabilitated during that time.

    It’s time to bring Cedric home: acluco.org/redemption. Redemption is real. Clemency is compassion.

  • On November 21, 2016, 13 Aurora police officers responded to a simple noise complaint at Alberto Torres’s home. As happens all too often, Aurora police officers escalated this minor issue into a brutal affair. They beat Mr. Torres solely because he delayed exiting his garage to ask his wife to interpret for him. With that beating, the lives of Mr. Torres and every member of his family were changed and he has yet to recover. ACLU of Colorado fought to obtain justice for Mr. Torres, and Aurora has now paid him $285,000. But money is not justice, and the brutality of the Aurora Police Department against people of color has continued unabated.

    It doesn’t have to be this way.

    Imagine, if instead of 13 officers being dispatched to Mr. Torres’s home for a noise complaint, the City of Aurora sent a civilian-led response team to check on his welfare and ask that he and his friends lower their sound, resulting in a non-violent solution to a minor issue?

    ACLU Settles Case With Aurora After Police Brutalize and Unlawfully Arrest Alberto Torres

  • Hope is a discipline. It’s a commitment that together, we can create a more perfect union. We won’t rest until we fulfill the promise of equal rights for ALL people in the United States.

    Join us in our fight to fulfill this promise and move forward with hope by donating to the ACLU of Colorado. Your donation supports the ACLU’s strengths that make our work effective and collaborative.

    Donate now at https://action.aclu.org/give/support-aclu-colorado

  • Anthony Martinez is 84-years-old and suffering from renal failure, as well as other serious medical conditions including dementia. He is currently incarcerated in the Sterling Correctional Facility, site of one of Colorado’s largest COVID-19 outbreaks with almost 600 active COVID-19 cases. He and his family are understandably terrified that he will catch the virus and die.

    In the midst of this public health crisis, incarcerated people as vulnerable as Anthony, could and should be immediately released to safely live out their remaining years with family.

    Read more about Anthony Martinez and other at-risk incarcerated people.