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. 

Meet the ACLU Summer Interns

Each year, the ACLU of Colorado gets scores of applications from talented students wanting to work as legal interns, media interns and fellows over the summer in our affilliate office in Denver. This year, we've selected a particularly talented and energetic group of future legal eagles and civil rights activists. Meet our summer 2012 interns and fellows:

Elliot Mamet, Colorado College Public Interest Fellow

Elliot will be entering his sophomore year at Colorado College, in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where he is majoring in political science. At CC, Elliot is the Constitutional Vice President for student government and is an executive committee member of Honor Council. He is a peer writing tutor at the writing center, a residential advisor, and will begin as an admissions tour guide in the fall. Elliot is an avid debater and the 2011 NFL national champion in congressional debate. A graduate of Denver East High School, Elliot is interested in public interest law and civil rights law and hopes to attend law school. For fun, Elliot loves to play golf and tennis and explore different parts of Denver.


Rachel Milos, Legal Intern

Rachel Milos will be entering her 3L year at DePaul University College of Law, in Chicago, Illinois. At DePaul, Rachel has published an article for DePaul’s Journal for Social Justice and works as both a research assistant and a teaching assistant. A native of Elmhurst, IL, Rachel received a B.A. in French Literature and Language, and a Masters in Education and Social Policy, both from Northwestern University. Rachel was previously a program director at the Colorado I Have a Dream Foundation, and a classroom teacher who helped to start Mapleton Expeditionary School of the Arts in Thornton, Colorado. Her dream job is working at a nonprofit on poverty law issues concerning women and children. Rachel loves to run, hike, ski, read, travel as much as possible, play Frisbee with her dog, and chase around her two-year-old nephew, Danny.

Lisa Napper, Media Intern

Lisa Napper is a rising senior at Rangeview High School, in Aurora, Colorado. Hailing from Dallas, Texas, Lisa moved to Colorado and has been raised in Aurora. Lisa is a part of the Galaxy Initiative, which focuses on science, technology, engineering and mathematics. She is president of the Diversity Student Alliance, a student trainer for No Place for Hate, and the secretary of M.E.S.A. Additionally, Lisa is involved in National Honor Society, Sisters Involved in the Community, and Advanced Performing Arts. Interested in a career in environmental engineering and public health, she is working at the ACLU this summer to gain experience in positive publicity directed at change. Lisa has a very busy summer ahead: she is taking a college class in mythology, and attending leadership conferences in Denver, Fort Collins, Bloomington Illinois, and Houston Texas.

Lisa Faye Petak, Legal Intern

Lisa Faye Petak will be entering her 2L year at the University of California, Irvine School of Law in Orange County, California. At UC Irvine, Lisa chairs of the Student Bar Association, directs The Vagina Monologues, serves on the Executive Board of the Women’s Law Society, and works as a research assistant. A Colorado native, Lisa grew up in Littleton before flitting eastward for a B.A. in Political Science/Literature at American University in Washington, DC, and then a M.A. in the Humanities from the University of Chicago. Previously Lisa worked as a reproductive rights counselor for the National Abortion Federation and as a research assistant for the New York Times. One goal of hers is to rid the world of sexism, racism, classism, and every other –ism as a civil rights litigator, preferably while fighting for reproductive choice and gender equality. For fun, you can find Lisa ice skating or curled up with the latest subversive contemporary fiction.

Marc Sallinger, Media Intern

Marc Sallinger is a rising senior at Mullen High School, in Denver, Colorado. A new media whiz, Marc is interested in all things journalism, and in particular, how organizations like the ACLU of Colorado use social media to affect change. He is editor of Mullen Media, Mullen’s online newspaper, and plays soccer competitively for Colorado Rush. Additionally, Marc is president of the National Honor Society at Mullen. Besides working at the ACLU this summer, Marc is writing for the Stapleton Front Porch Newspaper and interning in the campaign office of Congressman Ed Perlmutter. On top of that, he will be travelling to Spain with his family for July and stopping by the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Tanika Vigil, Legal Intern

Tanika Vigil will be entering her 2L year at Harvard Law School, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Tanika is the Project Director for the Harvard Immigration Project’s Bond Hearing Project that represents detained immigrants in their Immigration Court bond hearings. This fall, she will be starting work with the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, providing pro bono legal services to low income families. A Boulder native, Tanika received a B.A. from Amherst College. Previously, Tanika worked for an immigration attorney in Boulder, and worked for Amigos de las Americas in Boaco, Nicaragua. Her passion is for immigration law and the first amendment, and she’d love to work on issues that affect the immigrant community. Tanika loves to play soccer and travel. After completing her internship this summer, she will visit an Achuar tribe in Ecuador to learn about sustainability.

Rosalie Wilmot, Media Intern

Rosalie Wilmot just graduated from the University of Denver in Denver, Colorado, with degrees in English and International Studies. Rosalie served as president of New Era Colorado’s DU chapter, working to engage young people in the political process. Additionally, Rosalie has served as a summer fellow on the Washington Bus. Her passion is for communicating complex issues to the public, and she hopes to land a career in international correspondence or public radio. One highlight of her pre-ACLU life was standing under Sipi Falls in Eastern Uganda. Besides working at the ACLU this summer, you can find Rosalie serving drinks as a barista at Dazbog Coffee.

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