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. 

Veterans Stand Up for Marriage Equality in New Ad from Why Marriage Matters Colorado

Why Marriage Matters logo

DENVER – In its ongoing work to demonstrate that the broad majority of Coloradans support the freedom to marry, today Why Marriage Matters Colorado, a coalition of state and national organizations, released a 30-second television spot featuring a group of local veterans standing up for their gay comrade in arms.

The ad, launched on television statewide this morning, will air tonight during NBC’s “The Voice.” The spot features three military veterans who, together with their friend, U.S. Air Force Master Sergeant T. Ashley Metcalf – who is still actively serving his country – represent 45 years of military service. Sgt. Metcalf is gay, and his band of brothers – former Army Staff Sgt. Izzy Abbass, retired U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Dennis Mont’Ros, and former Marine Sgt. Will Glenn – talk about the importance of the freedom to marry for everyone.

Highlighting their years in military service where Sgt. Metcalf served in Iraq and Afghanistan, former Staff Sgt. Abbass says, “He should have the same freedoms we have, and that includes the freedom to marry.”

“Gay and lesbian Coloradans have long served their country in the military, as first responders in our cities and towns, and as valued members of our communities. We chose to tell just one of those many stories – this story of a military band of brothers who know firsthand what it means to stand up for freedom and equality,” said Dave Montez, Executive Director of One Colorado, one of the lead organizations of Why Marriage Matters Colorado, along with the ACLU of Colorado and Freedom to Marry.

“We were proud and honored to be asked to stand up for our friend and his freedoms and liberties,” said Sgt. Abbass. “But we chose to do this ad not only for Ash, but for all Coloradans who deserve the freedom to marry. We didn’t serve to protect freedom for some of us, but for all of us.”

Watch the ad and read bios of the veterans featured at:

Text of the ad:

Sergeant Mont’Ros:     Together the four of us have over 45 years of military service.

Sergeant Abbass:          The word “veteran” encapsulates so much.

Sergeant Glenn:            Loyalty and respect.  We have each other’s back.

Sergeant Metcalf:         I served in Iraq and Afghanistan.  I’m gay, these guys are straight.  But we’re all veterans and we’ve all served our country.

Sergeant Abbass:          I’ve been married for 8 years, going on 9, happily married.  And why shouldn’t Ash, a good friend of mine, be afforded that same opportunity?

Sergeant Glenn:            Sergeant Metcalf is serving his country, same as the rest of us did.

Sergeant Abbass:          He should have the same freedoms we have, and that includes the freedom to marry.
Why Marriage Matters Colorado is broadening the dialogue with Coloradans about why marriage is important to same-sex couples and their families and why it is consistent with the values of liberty and freedom. More information on this statewide initiative – which is being spearheaded by leading statewide LGBT advocacy group One Colorado, ACLU of Colorado, and Freedom to Marry – can be found here:

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