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.
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.
- Tuesday Olson knew her pregnancy was in trouble and tried to access hospital care as soon as possible. But there was a problem: she was in jail. This is her story.
It’s time to end the death penalty in Colorado. Family members who lost loved ones to murder speak out against an unjust and broken system.
Category Archives: Blog
I’m Nine Years Old and Transgender
Everyone has a story. This is mine. What is gender? What does it mean to be a “girl” or a “boy”? For me, it was confusing because it was hard to be who I was with everyone around me calling me a boy, when deep down I felt like a girl. In Kindergarten I drew a picture of “Clark as a girl” and it was the first time I realized that I felt uncomfortable with being a boy. I didn’t know if I was right to be a girl or a boy or if I would get in trouble. We lived in Texas. I loved pink,.... | Read More
The Price for Free Speech: Teetering between Hong Kong and America
June 2020 marks the first anniversary of the beginning of the Hong Kong protest. In the past year, students in Hong Kong joined hands with suited professionals, stay-home moms, and seniors to resist against the city’s fading freedom under the iron fist of an authoritarian regime. While being physically away from home and enduring the pain of not being with my people, my heart has never left Hong Kong. Studying in the U.S. and now interning at the ACLU of Colorado have been precious opportunities.... | Read More
We Won, What’s Next?
June 16, 2020 By Julian Camera, Field Organizer Yesterday, Aimee Stephens, Don Zarda, and Gerald Bostock won. The LGBTQ+ community won. Hope, justice and humanity won. The Supreme Court ruled that it was against the law to fire our clients — fire anyone — for being LGBTQ+. This landmark victory was the result of decades of work by LGBTQ+ people fighting for the right to exist. It belongs to Aimee, Don, and Gerald, and innumerable individuals who spoke up and spoke out against discrimination. To.... | Read More
Goodbye From Nathan Woodliff-Stanley
On my last day at the ACLU of Colorado, I want to express my gratitude for the opportunity to have led this essential, impactful organization for the last 7 ½ years. I had no idea I would be leaving in the middle of a pandemic, but even this crisis illustrates the critical work of the ACLU, where we have sought to reduce immediately the crowding of people in jails, prisons, and detention centers, protecting people’s rights along with public health simultaneously. As the current crisis evolves,.... | Read More
“Do Not Kill in My Name” – How Colorado Finally Repealed the Death Penalty
For more than twenty years, an evolving coalition of victims’ family members, corrections officers, defense attorneys, prosecutors, faith leaders, and civil liberties champions have worked relentlessly to end the death penalty in Colorado. In 2019, following a democratic sweep of both the legislature and the Governor’s office, many thought repeal was inevitable. Unfortunately, the state senate could not bring the bill across the finish line. In response, the ACLU of Colorado launched an ambitious,.... | Read More
New leadership for the ACLU of Colorado
Since October of 2012, it has been my enormous privilege to serve as Executive Director of the ACLU of Colorado. Now, I am preparing to move on from this position, after completing our current fiscal year on March 31. I would not do this if I were not confident that we have the resources, staff and expertise to continue the critical work we do every day. You can read the official announcement at ACLU-co.org. When I began this position, I could not have imagined everything that we would accomplish.... | Read More
ACLU of Colorado’s New Year’s Resolutions
2020 is here, and this will be a very important year for the ACLU, Colorado and our nation. Here are seven ACLU of Colorado resolutions for the New Year to help guide our work and yours: Bring Our Neighbors Home. The majority of people in Colorado jails are not there because they have been convicted of a crime. The majority are legally innocent and only incarcerated because they can’t afford to pay a monetary bond. As the Colorado legislative session begins this week, the ACLU of Colorado.... | Read More
Vote Yes on V to Give Youth a Voice
By Emma Davis Youth Volunteer, ACLU of Colorado October 15, 2018 Since the 2016 election, I have been active in the ACLU of Colorado. I've lobbied, phone-banked, spoken at events and been to countless protests. During the legislative session, I am constantly visiting state legislators, talking to aides and working to convince our representatives to vote “yes” or “no” on certain bills. But I'm still just a teenager. Right now, my opportunities are limited, but someday, I hope to become.... | Read More
Vote Yes on A to Abolish Slavery
By Nathan Woodliff-Stanley, ACLU of Colorado Executive Director Would it surprise you to learn that even though Colorado was never a slave state, the Colorado Constitution still leaves a door open for legal slavery in this state? Colorado voters have the opportunity on November 6 to vote yes on Amendment A and close this constitutional loophole, finishing the constitutional abolition of slavery in Colorado. Along with the Abolish Slavery Colorado coalition and a wide array of bipartisan and.... | Read More
ACLU Seeks Information about Death of Iranian Man at ICE Detention Facility
DENVER - The ACLU of Colorado filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request this morning seeking records related to the arrest, detention, and subsequent death of Kamyar Samimi, an Iranian man who died earlier this month while in Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) custody at the Aurora Contract Detention Facility, a for-profit detention center operated by GEO Group, Inc. On December 4, ICE issued a brief news release announcing Samimi’s death. According to ICE, Samimi fell ill the.... | Read More
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