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  • 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?

    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 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.

    Read more about Anthony Martinez and other at-risk incarcerated people. 

Douglas County School Board Votes to End Unconstitutional Voucher Program

DENVER – The Douglas County School Board voted Monday night to end the district’s controversial “Choice Scholarship” Program, which the Colorado Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional in June 2015. The ACLU of Colorado with other partners, including Americans United for Separation of Church and State and Taxpayers for Public Education, a Douglas County education advocacy group, challenged the voucher program in 2011, highlighting the Colorado Constitution’s “specific prohibition” on government funds going to schools that are controlled by churches or religious organizations.  The Colorado Supreme Court agreed with the plaintiffs and struck down the program.

ACLU of Colorado Legal Director Mark Silverstein issued the following statement:

“We applaud the Douglas County School Board for responding to the clear message that voters sent in the recent election and conclusively ending the unconstitutional and divisive private school voucher program.  The School District will no longer pursue a path that would weaken public schools by funneling taxpayer dollars to private, religious schools, in violation of our state constitution.

As the Colorado Supreme Court ruled in 2015, parents are free to send their children to private, religious schools if they wish, but our constitution guarantees that taxpayers are not forced to pay for it.

The so-called Choice Scholarship program, if allowed to stand, would have eviscerated core provisions of the religion and education clauses of the Colorado Constitution and given school districts around the state carte blanche to implement similar programs, with potentially devastating consequences for our state’s public school system.

The School District can now move on from this costly chapter and focus on outcomes that will benefit all kids, not just the ones who can afford expensive private schools. 

Resources:

ACLU, Americans United Applaud Supreme Court Decision Striking Down Voucher Program Funding Religious Schools



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