On August 22, a peaceful rally in downtown Denver was followed by a confrontation between shit-stirrers and Denver police that resulted in a dozen arrests and vandalism downtown.
This sequence of events, coupled with raised tensions over the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, which spurred multiple protests across the country and athlete boycotts of NBA playoff games and other major sporting contests, serves as the backdrop for at least three demonstrations planned for the Mile High City over the weekend, with the Denver-Aurora March Against Racism & Police Violence, slated for Sunday, August 30, expected to attract thousands of participants.
The first of the gatherings is the Denver Solidarity March, getting under way at 10 a.m. today, August 28, near the Greek Amphitheater at Civic Center Park. According to its Facebook entry: "We may not all be able to make it to the March on Washington, an event taking place on the 57th anniversary of the first historic March on Washington in 1963 led by Martin Luther King Jr. The purpose of the march was to advocate for the civil and economic rights of African Americans. It's time we remind our leaders that the fight is not over! We will march here, in solidarity in our beautiful hometown!" Click for more information.
Next up is the Denver Solidarity Ride, which is scheduled to run from 10 a.m. to noon on Sunday, August 30, with participants invited to gather at the MLK statue in City Park. "The Denver Solidarity Rides are hosted by a collective of cyclists in the Mile High City," according to the group's mission statement. "We use the bicycle as a vehicle for protest to call attention to the violence disproportionately affecting Black people and people of color at the hands of police in America. We ride for racial justice, equity, and solidarity."
The Facebook event listing includes several recommendations regarding best practices, including one related to photography that speaks volumes about the times in which we live. "For individuals taking their own pictures, please USE DISCRETION," it advises. "Do NOT take photos of anyone doing anything that can later be used against them. Avoid faces where possible (perhaps take photos of signs instead), and please do NOT take photos of identifying features, such as tattoos. If you can blur faces of any photos you share, that would be ideal." Click to learn more about the Denver Solidarity Ride.
The Denver-Aurora March Against Racism & Police Violence is set to start at 2 p.m. Sunday, August 30. It's organized by the Party of Socialism & Liberation's Denver affiliate, which sponsored the July 25 gathering in Aurora demanding justice for the late Elijah McClain, who died on August 30, 2019, six days after a violent encounter with Aurora police officers. That demonstration, which featured musicians playing violins, an instrument McClain loved, soon devolved into a violent mess that's already spawned a lawsuit against the Aurora Police Department.
"When George Floyd was slowly murdered in the streets, Denver and Aurora, like cities all across the country, saw themselves," the August 30 event page begins. "Our communities too have long suffered under the knee of the racist police and white supremacy. We are now entering the third month of uprising, and demonstrations continue with no sign of stopping, demanding justice for the victims of the police in our own community and an end to all forms of racist violence."
To underscore this point, PSL-Denver offers the following list of individuals killed by Colorado law enforcement (we've linked names to Westword coverage of the cases):
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Let us not forget that we still need justice for:
Elijah McClain, murdered by Aurora Police at age 23
William Debose, murdered by Denver Police at age 21
Alexis Mendez-Perez, murdered by Colorado DOC at age 16
Jessie Cedillo, murdered by Pueblo Police at age 20
De’Von Bailey, murdered by Colorado Springs Police at age 19
Paul Childs, murdered by Denver Police at age 15
Dion Damon, murdered by Denver Police at age 40
Michael Marshall, murdered by Denver Police at age 50
Jason Gomez, murdered by Denver Police at age 33
Jessie Hernandez, murdered by Denver Police at age 17
David Baker, murdered by Aurora Police at age 32
Marvin Booker, murdered by Denver Police at age 56
Paul Castaway, murdered by Denver Police at age 35
Ryan Ronquillo, murdered by Denver Police at age 20
Joseph Valverde, murdered by Denver Police at age 32
Odiceo Valencia-Lopez, murdered by Denver Police at age 45
Naeschylus Carter-Vinzant, murdered by Denver Police at age 37
Jeffrey Melvin Jr., murdered by Colorado Springs Police at age 27
The event is slated to conclude at 6 p.m. at the MLK Memorial in City Park, and the overwhelming majority of the 2,300-plus people who've expressed interest in taking part no doubt hope that it actually does end there and then — and that anything that happens afterward doesn't distract from the important messages being conveyed.
Click here for additional details about the Denver-Aurora March Against Racism & Police Violence.
The original headline of this post, which incorrectly stated that Jacob Blake had died, has been changed. We regret the error.