Anti-police brutality protest postponed out of respect for Celena Hollis
In light of the death of Denver police officer Celena Hollis, the Colorado Progressive Coalition, ACLU of Colorado and others have postponed the "Summer Against Police Violence" protest. The rally, originally scheduled for tomorrow afternoon, would have fallen at the same time as Hollis's funeral service, which is also open to the public. The decision to delay the action is motivated by respect for Hollis, her family and her community -- but it will be rescheduled for July.
As Westword previously reported, the 32-year-old Hollis was shot in the head while attempting to break up a fight at City Park Jazz on Sunday. The single mother cared for a twelve-year-old daughter. Officers have since arrested 21-year-old Rollin Oliver in connection with the crime. Oliver is suspected (and reported) to belong to a gang -- though Mayor Michael Hancock calls this suspicion a distraction.
In light of the tragedy, many activists in the social justice community who have spoken out repeatedly against police brutality have reigned in their efforts while the city copes with its loss. At a memorial meeting at District 2 police headquarters earlier in the week, which Westword's Melanie Asmar covered, attendees framed the continuing conversation about concerns of police brutality in respect:
"Even though some of us fight against police brutality, that doesn't mean we're against the police," said Terrance Roberts, founder and director of The Prodigal Son Initiative. "We appreciate your work," he told the officers.
And it was with similar considerations in mind that the Colorado Progressive Coalition postponed its protest, dedicated to launching a summer absent of any officer-related violence. The group's formal decision, on view below, weighs the deaths of Hollis, Alonzo Ashley, Paul Childs and Marvin Booker and pushes for both social justice and a united respect.
"Our community brought up the concerns, and we spent Monday getting information from well over a dozen people," says Mu Son Chi, the CPC's racial justice and civil rights program director. "At the end of that day, it was an easy decision to make."
It's also an important one, a pause for unity in the middle of a push toward structural progress. For more information, read Chi's full statement on the subject below:
As many of you know, officer Celena Hollis was shot and killed at City Park Jazz this past Sunday. Her funeral proceedings are planned for this Saturday, June 30, starting at 11 a.m. and will be ongoing at the same time our action is scheduled to occur. Purely out of respect for Celena Hollis and her family, we are going to postpone our action. This is not a cancellation. Please stay tuned for more details about another action in the month of July.
Again, we are postponing this out of respect for a member of our community who has lost her life and out of respect for her family. We value the lives of everyone in our community. That includes Celena Hollis. It includes Paul Childs, Marvin Booker, and Alonzo Ashley. We are stepping back for one day while Celena Hollis's family grieves, and we invite our community do the same.
In July, we will continue the fight for accountability with our members who have been racially profiled and assaulted by law enforcement. This summer, we are continuing a concentrated effort along with our community partners to go beyond protest tactics to develop organizing capacity with our communities and to make our communities safer. Take a look at our website for information about the Community Protection Campaign here:
Of course, we will continue to organize actions, vigils, marches, etc. However, we are also building a strong base of informed, engaged members to continue the fight for justice. Of course, we cannot do this without our community. We appreciate your past, present, and future support in the struggle for racial justice. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me at email@example.com.
Thank you, Mu Son Chi Racial Justice & Civil Rights Program Director Colorado Progressive Coalition www.progressivecoalition.org
More from our Follow That Story archive: "Celena Hollis: Sunday fundraiser to benefit her daughter, twelve."
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Westword's biggest stories.