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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. 

STATEMENT ON WARD CHURCHILL

Statement on Ward Churchill

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 8, 2005

 

The First Amendment of the U. S. Constitution protects Ward Churchill's right to speak or write his opinions and it protects the rights of his detractors to say they do not like what he wrote or said. The ACLU of Colorado stands firmly for these rights of free speech.

 

The ACLU of Colorado calls upon the Regents, legislators and the Governor to stop threatening Mr. Churchill's job because of the content of his opinions. This governmental interference with the content of Mr. Churchill's constitutionally protected opinions tramples on fundamental American values.

 

The Regents should take care that the Chancellor's investigation of Mr. Churchill's competence is not a fishing expedition to find something – anything – to use as an excuse to fire him. If that happens, their action will be subjected to a high level of scrutiny to determine if it is really a guise to fire him for the content of his writing. As Justice Anthony Kennedy said, "[t]he First Amendment is often inconvenient. But that is beside the point. Inconvenience does not absolve the government of its obligation to tolerate speech."

 

Free speech means we may hear something we do not want to hear. However, that does not give anyone the right to stifle dissent, especially on a university campus. After World War I, when the United States was gripped with fear over the first red scare, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes urged Americans to tolerate even opinions "that we loathe and believe to be fraught with death." It is understandable that people found Mr. Churchill's comment offensive. His language was harsh and he pointed his finger of blame for the attacks at the U.S. government, not at the zealots who flew the planes.

 

Death threats, canceling speaking engagements and threats of losing his job are not appropriate responses to Ward Churchill's opinions, even if you believe they are outrageous. Those threats are not expressions of American values. The ACLU of Colorado agrees with Adlai Stevenson, Jr. when he said in 1952, "My definition of a free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular."



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