Colorado Rights Blog


  • 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: 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

  • 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. 

Colorado Coalition Condemns Hickenlooper for Vote Against Stimulus

300 Colorado Advocates Call on Senator to Protect Undocumented Immigrants 

February 8, 2021

DENVER – In a letter released Monday, February 8, a coalition of 300 concerned organizations, elected officials, businesses and community members called on Sen. John Hickenlooper to commit to supporting Colorado’s impacted communities and to deliver the necessary aid and protection he promised to all Coloradans. The letter came in response to the senator’s symbolic vote to block stimulus payments to undocumented people. 

“The message U.S. Senator John Hickenlooper sent on February 4, 2021, with his vote to block vital stimulus payments to undocumented immigrants was loud and clear: I only care about you when I’m campaigning,” the letter said.

Notably, the signatories cited the harm immigrant communities have faced during the COVID-19 pandemic including the 19.8 million essential workers who’ve risked their lives under the constant threat of exposure. The coalition also called out the senator for his cruelty in turning against the communities he claimed to care about and the people who helped put him in office.

“Sen. Hickenlooper’s campaign page highlights his past actions as Governor of Colorado to address immigration challenges by granting in-state tuition to DREAMers, granting driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants, and opposing Trump’s horrific decision to end DACA. Yet, in the midst of a public health crisis that has disproportionately impacted immigrant communities and people of color, the Senator made his own cruel decision. Sen. Hickenlooper voted to deny financial relief to nurses, teachers, farm workers, grocery store employees, janitors, parents and community members who continue to risk their health to secure essential services,” the letter continued.

Manuel, an immigrant from Denver expressed the impact he felt from the Senator’s vote. “It frustrates and saddens me very much that a person who we thought would be on our side suddenly turns his back on hard working undocumented immigrants,” said Manuel. “If this bill had passed, it could’ve potentially caused someone to be evicted from their apartment, or to miss an important payment like a medical bill.”

The senator’s vote also drew widespread criticism and condemnation from several elected officials and organizations including Colorado State Senator Julie Gonzales and the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition (CIRC). 

“Undocumented Coloradans are working on the frontlines of our economy in the midst of a deadly pandemic,” Sen.  Julie Gonzales said. “Sen. Hickenlooper doesn’t get to pick and choose when he cares about immigrants. He’s either committed to protecting immigrants and all Coloradans, all of the time or he’s not. It’s as simple as that.”

“Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition Action Fund condemns Senator Hickenlooper’s shocking anti-immigrant vote to deprive our immigrant families of the help they desperately need in this pandemic,” Alex Galaena, Managing Director of CIRC said. “If the Senator wants to rebuild trust with our immigrant communities, he must relentlessly push for legislation that gives a pathway to citizenship to the 11 million members of our undocumented community.” 

In the letter the 300 signatories called on Sen. Hickenlooper to course correct and deliver on the promises he made while campaigning. 

“The Senator must immediately commit to supporting Colorado’s impacted communities, and take every opportunity to deliver necessary aid and protection to all Coloradans. Past promises and platitudes are not enough. If the Senator truly is ‘committed to reversing the Trump Administration’s harmful immigration agenda and helping to restore humanity to a broken system,’ he needs to do better than he did last Thursday. We need a senator who truly is ‘laser-focused on getting us through the pandemic, rebuilding the economy and finding a long-term solution to fix our broken immigration system.’ We need Sen. Hickenlooper to keep his promise.”

ACLU of Colorado Public Policy Director Denise Maes said, “The senator’s vote to deny critical relief to people who need it most was a slap in the face to every essential worker, every immigrant, and every Coloradan. It is not enough for him to praise people as essential while campaigning. The senator must actually prove it through his actions as an elected.” 

The full text of the Colorado coalition letter and a list of its signatories can be found at:


The ACLU of Colorado is the state’s oldest civil rights organization, protecting and defending the civil rights of all Coloradans through litigation, education and advocacy.

La Coalición de Colorado Condena a Hickenlooper por Votar en Contra del Estímulo

300 defensores de Colorado piden al Senador que proteja a los inmigrantes indocumentados 

DENVER – En una carta publicada el lunes 8 de febrero, una coalición de 300 organizaciones interesadas, funcionarios electos, empresas y miembros de la comunidad pidieron al senador John Hickenlooper que se comprometiera a apoyar a las comunidades afectadas de Colorado y a brindar la ayuda y protección necesarias que prometió a todos los habitantes de Colorado. La carta llegó en respuesta al voto simbólico del senador para bloquear los pagos de estímulo a las personas indocumentadas. 

“El mensaje que envió el senador John Hickenlooper el 4 de febrero de 2021 con su voto para bloquear los pagos de estímulo vital a los inmigrantes indocumentados fue alto y claro: solo me preocupo por usted cuando estoy haciendo campaña,” decía la carta.

En particular, las organizaciones citaron el daño que las comunidades de inmigrantes han enfrentado durante la pandemia de COVID-19, incluidos los 19.8 millones de trabajadores esenciales que han arriesgado sus vidas bajo la constante amenaza de exposición.

Manuel, un inmigrante de Denver expresó el impacto que sintió por el voto del Senador. “Me frustra y me entristece mucho que una persona que pensamos que estaría de nuestro lado de repente le dé la espalda a los inmigrantes indocumentados que trabajan duro”, dijo Manuel. “Si este proyecto de ley se hubiera aprobado, podría haber causado que alguien fuera desalojado de su apartamento o que se perdiera un pago importante como una factura médica.”

La coalición también criticó al senador por su crueldad al volverse contra las comunidades que decía preocuparles y las personas que ayudaron a ponerlo en el cargo.

“La página de campaña del senador Hickenlooper destaca sus acciones pasadas como gobernador de Colorado para abordar los desafíos de inmigración al otorgar matrículas estatales a DREAMers, otorgar licencias de conducir a inmigrantes indocumentados y oponerse a la horrible decisión de Trump de poner fin a DACA. Sin embargo, en medio de una crisis de salud pública que ha impactado desproporcionadamente a las comunidades de inmigrantes y personas de color, el senador tomó su propia decisión cruel. El senador Hickenlooper votó para negar el alivio financiero a enfermeras, maestros, trabajadores agrícolas, empleados de supermercados, conserjes, padres y miembros de la comunidad que continúan arriesgando su salud para obtener servicios esenciales,” continúa la carta.

El voto del senador generó críticas y condenas generalizadas de varios funcionarios electos y de la comunidad, incluida la senadora estatal Julie Gonzales y la Coalición por los Derechos de los Inmigrantes de Colorado (CIRC). 

“Los residentes de Colorado indocumentados están trabajando en la primera línea de nuestra economía en medio de una pandemia mortal,” dijo Sen. Julie Gonzales. “Sen. Hickenlooper no puede elegir cuándo se preocupa por los inmigrantes. O está comprometido con la protección de los inmigrantes y de todos los habitantes de Colorado, todo el tiempo o no. Es tan simple como eso.”

“El Fondo de Acción de la Coalición por los Derechos de los Inmigrantes de Colorado condena el impactante voto antiinmigrante del Senador Hickenlooper para privar a nuestras familias inmigrantes de la ayuda que necesitan desesperadamente en esta pandemia. Si el senador quiere reconstruir la confianza con nuestras comunidades de inmigrantes, debe presionar incansablemente por una legislación que dé un camino a la ciudadanía a los 11 millones de miembros de nuestra comunidad indocumentada.” -Alex Galaena, Director Gerente, Fondo de Acción de la Coalición por los Derechos de los Inmigrantes de Colorado

En la carta, los 300 signatarios pidieron al senador Hickenlooper que corrigiera y cumpliera las promesas que hizo durante la campaña.

“El senador debe comprometerse de inmediato a apoyar a las comunidades afectadas de Colorado y aprovechar cada oportunidad para brindar la ayuda y protección necesarias a todos los habitantes de Colorado. Las promesas y lugares comunes del pasado no son suficientes. Si el senador realmente está “comprometido a revertir la dañina agenda de inmigración de la Administración Trump y ayudar a restaurar a la humanidad a un sistema roto,” debe hacerlo mejor que el jueves pasado. Necesitamos un senador que realmente esté ‘enfocado en ayudarnos a superar la pandemia, reconstruir la economía y encontrar una solución a largo plazo para arreglar nuestro sistema de inmigración roto’. Necesitamos que el senador Hickenlooper cumpla su promesa. “

La directora de Política Pública de la ACLU de Colorado, Denise Maes, dijo: “El voto del senador para negar un alivio crítico a las personas que más lo necesitan fue una bofetada a cada trabajador esencial, a cada inmigrante y a cada ciudadano de Colorado. No es suficiente para él elogiar a la gente como algo esencial durante la campaña. El senador debe demostrarlo realmente a través de sus acciones como electo.” 

El texto completo de la carta de la coalición de Colorado y una lista de sus signatarios se pueden encontrar en:


ACLU de Colorado es la organización de derechos mas antigua del estado, que protege y defiende los derechos civiles de todos los habitantes de Colorado a través del litigio, educación y la defensa.

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