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. 

Setbacks Aside, Plenty for ACLU to Celebrate at Pridefest 2012

By Marc Sallinger

DENVER — Despite many setbacks, despite Colorado’s civil unions legislation being filibustered in the legislature, despite the fact that this legislation was killed in committee, this has still been a year of extraordinary change for LGBT rights. This year, like no other, the ACLU of Colorado will be walking with a renewed sense of purpose in the Coors Light Pridefest Denver parade June 17.

This year, you should be there, too.

There are so many reasons.

Just recently on May 8th, in a less than surprising conclusion, North Carolina voters passed a bill banning same-sex marriages and civil unions making North Carolina the last state in the South to outlaw gay marriage and the 30th state in the nation to do so.
Just one day after the North Carolina vote, in an unprecedented move amongst United States Presidents, Barack Obama declared his support for gay rights and same-sex marriage. Although polls taken shortly after the announcement showed a nearly equally divided country in support of and against the President’s move, for those who support full equality for all persons, Obama’s words were a momentous step in an arduous battle.

Although the path to equality runs through dips, hills, and often mountains, the end of the road would not be in sight without the support and activism of those who have the strength to stand up and speak. Kate Cohn, a former Falcon High School student, showed this strength in great fashion when she wore a shirt reading “Marriage is so Gay” to school. Cohn was wrongfully censored by the school and told she could not wear the shirt. The ACLU of Colorado wrote a letter to the school demanding that Kate be allowed to express herself and less than 24 hours later, Kate was allowed to wear her shirt to school and a small battle in the incessant war for equality was won.

Steve Marcantonio, a former Union Colony Prep student, also showed the strength needed to create change when he petitioned his school to start a Gay-Straight Alliance Club. When the Greely public charter school denied his petition, the ACLU of Colorado stepped in. Union Colony Prep now boasts a club to discuss issues such as sexual orientation, gender identity and bullying as well as an outlet for students to express themselves without the fear of retribution.

It’s for all these reasons that we are marching in the Pridefest Denver parade.

On June 17th, we will come together to show the world that we believe in full equality for all persons. The Denver Pridefest, held in Civic Center Park, will not only boast chanting, singing, dancing, and fun, but will also symbolize Colorado’s fighting strength.
You might kill our bill in the legislature, but you can’t kill our zeal for civil rights.

Join the ACLU of Colorado and thousands of others as we take to the streets of Denver in the Pridefest parade. Meet us at 9 AM, June 17, under the ACLU banner at E. High and 8th Street. Let the world hear your voice June 17th as we come together to support full equality for our friends, neighbors, and all who live in Colorado.

Sallinger, a senior at Mullen High School, is a summer Media Intern at the ACLU of Colorado

Return to News