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. 

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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