Colorado Rights Blog

ACLU of Colorado By: ACLU of Colorado 10.18.2016

Thanks to all who celebrated with us at the 2016 Bill of Rights Dinner

On behalf of the entire ACLU of Colorado Board and Staff, we would like to send a warm “thank you” to all of our attendees and sponsors for making the annual Bill of Rights dinner a complete success! We had a wonderful time and encourage you to join us in 2017 if you couldn’t make it this year.

We had a wonderful evening of celebrating civil rights and civil liberties, honoring our awardees Jessie Ulibarri, Gail Johnson and John Parvensky, and hearing an inspiring talk from our keynote speaker, Dale Ho (Director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project).

James Fisher, an ACLU client and partner in ending debtors’ prisons in Colorado, spoke passionately about the consequences of and need to reform our criminal justice system.

Take a look at some fun pictures from the celebration on our Flickr page!


In an effort to make sure the Bill of Rights dinner is fun and meaningful for everyone, we hope you’ll share your feedback about your experience by filling out this short survey (10 questions, takes less than 5 minutes):

Thank you to our 2016 sponsors!

Circle of Liberty
Killmer, Lane & Newman, LLP

Justice Council
Recht Kornfeld PC
Colorado Coalition for the Homeless

Freedom League
Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck
Carl J. Minnig Foundation
Gleam Car Wash
Haddon, Morgan and Foreman, PC
Holland & Hart LLP
Johnson, Brennan & Klein
King & Greisen LLP
Mendez Consulting
The Sawaya Law Firm
Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell

Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center
Bob Connelly
Elkind Alterman Harston PC
Lee & Sandy Mulcahy, in memory of Edward Lee “Bud” Mulcahy
University of Denver Sturm College of Law
Williams & Daley LLC

Laurie and Chris Steuri
Davis Graham & Stubbs
Wellstone Action

If you would like to sponsor the Bill of Rights dinner next year, please contact Rachel Pryor-Lease, Stewardship and Events Manager, at 720-402-3105 or



  • 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

  • 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. 

  • Ronald Johnson is pre-diabetic, suffers from asthma and high blood pressure, and regularly uses an inhaler to breathe. His age and respiratory ailments put him at risk of serious illness and death if he contracts COVID-19. With over hundreds of active cases in Colorado’s prisons, his family fears he will not make it out alive. His daughter, Amber, says, “In prison, he can’t protect himself and he can’t social distance. My deep fear is that my dad will die in prison. That is an awful, traumatic reality to consider. My chest is tight just thinking about how quickly it spreads and how vulnerable he is.”

    Governor Hickenlooper shortened his sentence following testimony from family, friends and correctional officers advocating for his early release. Yet, he is still eight years away from parole. While he remains in prison, COVID-19 continues to spread. Ronald’s three siblings, four children and four grandchildren are desperate for his release.

    Read more about Ronald Johnson and other at-risk incarcerated people.