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?
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.
Category Archives: Blog
I watched my parents help organize the March on Washington 58-years-ago and “the movement” still burns inside me for social change
By Deborah Richardson, Executive Director of ACLU of Colorado As a child, the March on Washington was my first realization of “the movement” — something that every adult I knew was talking about and engaged in. It was a seminal moment for the American Civil Rights Movement when more than 250,000 people convened on the Mall in Washington D.C. to show nationwide support for Black Americans to receive the same rights and freedoms as white Americans. It was also a seminal.... | Read More
To Teach the Truth: My Understanding of Critical Race Theory
August 6, 2021 When I was a sophomore in high school, my world history teacher started off the class period one morning with a question. He presented the class with a sweatshirt that all the teachers received as a gift from the school for the holidays. Along the sleeve of the black sweatshirt, in white thread, read the school’s name: DSST: Stapleton. He asked my class, “Should I take this black permanent marker and erase the name Stapleton?” He then gave a short presentation about.... | Read More
Defending Speech We Hate
The record demonstrates the ACLU’s unwavering commitment to First Amendment rights for all. David Cole, ACLU Legal Director June 6, 2021 Has the ACLU lost its way? This appears to be a perennial question. In 1994, then-ACLU President Nadine Strossen wrote a 17-page article with 54 footnotes, responding to the charge that the organization “is abandoning its traditional commitment to free speech and other classic civil liberties and is becoming a ‘trendy’ liberal organization primarily.... | Read More
No on 115, One Family’s Story
Proposition 115 is a dangerous mistake that is deeply personal for us. When we decided to grow our family, pregnancy did not come easy for us. When it happened, after several years of attempts, we were overjoyed. Early complications left us with a risky pregnancy to both mother and child that our doctors closely monitored. They needed the fetus to develop for 22 weeks before they could fully diagnose the issues and give us accurate information. The prognosis was heartbreaking. The developmental.... | Read More
A High Risk Pregnancy Obstetrician Says Vote No on 115
"Proposition 115 does not extend compassionate care." True story. A 25-year-old patient and her husband go to their OBGYN’s office for a routine, mid-pregnancy ultrasound. They are excited - they’ve spent the last several months preparing for their new family and adventures yet to come. A few minutes later, their world turns upside down. Their baby has anencephaly, a condition in which major parts of the brain and skull do not form. It is a lethal diagnosis and a devastating blow.... | Read More
When Reform is Not Enough: Why we must reimagine safety
She was just sleeping in her bed, I think to myself. Even when we are resting . . . we are not safe. This past Wednesday, the announcement that the Louisville, KY police officers who shot and killed Breonna Taylor would not be charged for her death left a numb feeling in my stomach. News like this always hits hard, but gone are the days of expressed fear, disappointment or even rage. Nothing is more painful than the realization that the U.S. criminal legal system, a system heralded by.... | Read More
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
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