Colorado Rights Blog


  • 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.

  • 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.

Denver High School Student Wins National ACLU Youth Activist Scholarship

For the third year in a row, the ACLU of Colorado's nominee for the national ACLU Youth Activist Scholarship has been selected to receive the $4,000 award. Established in 2000, the scholarship honors graduating seniors who have demonstrated a strong commitment to civil liberties and civil rights through some form of student activism.

This year we nominated Ryan Brown, a senior at the Denver School of the Arts, for her documentary on the life of former Colorado Governor Ralph Carr. Brown was researching the history of World War II when she came upon the story of Ralph Carr, one of the only western leaders to publicly speak against the internment of Japanese Americans, a stand that cost him his political career. Brown conducted interviews with men and women who had been forcefully resettled in internment camps.

Her work was so compelling it led the ACLU of Colorado to create a new annual award of our own: the Ralph L. Carr award for devotion to a significant contemporary issue. We wish her the best in her collegiate years and look forward to following her future activist projects.

Watch Ryan's award-winning documentary, "A Small Voice But a Strong Voice," about former Colorado governor Ralph L. Carr's stand against internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. The film also won several awards including first place in the 2006 National History Day, History Channel Award of Excellence in Documentary Film and the Merit Award in video/film production, NFAA ARTS Recognition and Talent Search 2006-2007. The film was a finalist for Best Documentary in the 2006 Denver Academy Film Festival for Youth.

Read Ryan's personal essay about her experience researching and producing the documentary.

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