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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. 

2021 Bill of Rights Event

Para Español haga clic aquí.

Please save the date for our virtual Bill of Rights Event on Thursday, October 7, 2021.

 

Register for this free event here.

 

Although we won’t have the opportunity to gather in person, we are excited to come together virtually for the second year in a row to celebrate our victories, honor our leaders, and inspire one another’s work.

All funds raised by the Bill of Rights Event provide crucial support to sustain and expand ACLU of Colorado’s advocacy, communication, and education work throughout Colorado. We hope you can join us!

While the Bill of Rights Event is free for all to attend, we hope you will consider a sponsorship or other tax-deductible donation of any amount to support the event and all of the ACLU of Colorado’s work. Submit your sponsorship or donation online, or learn about other ways to purchase a sponsorship.

See a list of this year’s generous sponsors here.

 

2021 Bill of Rights Event Keynote

Deborah Archer, ACLU National Board President

ACLU of Colorado is honored to present Deborah Archer as our Bill of Rights Event keynote speaker. Deborah N. Archer is a Professor of Clinical Law and Co-Faculty Director of the Center on Race, Inequality, and the Law at NYU School of Law. Deborah is also the President of the ACLU and a leading expert in civil rights, civil liberties, and racial justice. She is an award-winning teacher and legal scholar whose articles have appeared in leading law reviews. Deborah has also offered commentary for numerous media outlets, including MSNBC, National Public Radio, CBS, Monocle, The Atlantic, and The New York Times.

Deborah previously worked as an attorney with the ACLU and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., where she litigated in the areas of voting rights, employment discrimination, and school desegregation. Deborah is also a former chair of the American Association of Law School’s Section on Civil Rights and the Section on Minority Groups. She previously served as Chair of the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board, the nation’s oldest and largest police oversight agency.

 

Musical Performance

Neoma

Neoma, an Ecuadorian pop musician who currently lives in Denver, has captivated pop lovers around the world with her compositions and “tender yet powerful” voice. In 2017, Neoma reached the top of the Ecuadorian pop charts with her infectious single “Real,” and has been one of the most popular acts of the burgeoning Ecuadorian indie scene since. She’s played concerts to thousands of fans throughout South America, and hundreds of thousands of fans have enjoyed Neoma’s music videos and have streamed her songs on digital platforms. In a pandemic-stricken 2020, Neoma released multiple collaborative singles with musicians across the Ecuadorian scene. Recently relocating from Cuenca, Ecuador to Denver, Colorado, Neoma hopes to spread the joy of her music across the United States.

At the ACLU of Colorado’s Bill of Rights Event, Neoma will be joined onstage by Danny Pauta. The duo will perform an acoustic set of “Young” and their new single “FIXXIÓN,” which is gaining rotation on Colorado Public Radio’s “Indie 102.3” station.


2021 Bill of Rights Event Honorees

Sharletta C Evans

Sharletta C Evans will receive the Carle Whitehead Memorial Award for her lifelong commitment to restorative justice, juvenile justice reform, and healing and forgiveness. After the tragic loss of her three-year-old son, Ms. Evans publicly forgave her son’s shooters and turned her public spotlight both personally and politically towards juvenile justice reform. Ms. Evans’ leadership and activism have been instrumental in passing numerous laws advancing justice within the criminal legal system, including the repeal of Colorado’s death penalty and the expansion of restorative justice for adults.


Hans Meyer

Hans Meyer will receive the Edward Sherman Award for his outstanding legal work advocating for immigrants’ rights at the intersection of immigration law and the criminal legal system. Hans Meyer is the founder of the Meyer Law Office, P.C., which specializes in immigration law and removal defense, criminal defense and postconviction relief, the immigration consequences of crimes, the civil rights of immigrants, and policy work related to immigration law and criminal justice reform. As a local and national leader on these issues, Hans frequently lectures, publishes, hosts trainings, and appears in the press, as well as serves as an expert on immigration consequences for both the private bar and indigent defense systems.


Lori Lizarraga, Sonia Gutierrez, and Kristen Aguirre will receive the Larry Tajiri Media Award for fighting discrimination in the newsroom.

 

Lori Lizarraga

Lori Lizarraga is an Ecuadorian-Mexican-American bilingual journalist from Texas. The proud daughter of immigrants and one of five children, Lizarraga put herself through college at Southern Methodist University nearly five years ago. She has since become an Emmy and Murrow award-winning television reporter. After reporting internationally on the Ecuador earthquake of 2016, Lizarraga worked in newsrooms in Texas and California before moving to Colorado in 2019. It was here that she fully embraced her role not just as a reporter, but as an advocacy journalist and community partner – championing more representative language and stories at KUSA 9NEWS in Denver for two years. In March of 2021, she published an editorial on that experience. Her piece, “LatinXed: 9NEWS Got Rid of Three Latina Reporters This Past Year, Including Me,” saw tremendous outcomes for the media industry and ignited a national conversation around equity and inclusion in news. As a result of the piece, new standards of immigration coverage were enacted at Tegna, the media company that owns 9NEWS, eliminating the use of “illegal” to describe undocumented immigrants.  At 27-years-old, Lizarraga continues her work as a journalist and advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion.


Sonia Gutierrez

Sonia Gutierrez is an award-winning and Emmy-nominated journalist. Her work has changed policy, made a difference in communities across the country, and during several hurricanes, her work has revolutionized how state agencies respond. She is currently working for Rocky Mountain PBS in Denver, CO. Sonia is an immigrant from Parral, Chihuahua Mexico, but grew up in Colorado.


Kristen Aguirre

Kristen Aguirre is a journalist with nearly a decade of experience in the tv news industry. She covered the Flint water crisis and its impact on Latino and Spanish-speaking communities and the terrorist attack at Flint Bishop Airport. It was in Flint where she found her passion for reporting on underserved and underrepresented communities. Kristen is a proud Latina and an active member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. From Flint, she headed west to KUSA in Denver as an anchor and reporter and continued to focus on community-driven journalism. Towards the end of her stay in Denver, Kristen suffered an ischemic stroke that resulted in a traumatic brain injury. It left the entire left side of her body paralyzed. She then left the news world for about a year to focus on her health, and after countless hours of physical therapy and hard work, she is back in the field in Ashville.





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