Activism

Groups Pushing for Social Justice in Denver Suburbs

Arvadans for Social Justice, like many suburban groups pushing for change, started this summer.
Arvadans for Social Justice, like many suburban groups pushing for change, started this summer. ASJ
In suburbs around Denver, residents have organized grassroots efforts to protest against racial injustice and police brutality, and to make change at the local level. Here are just some of those groups, both new and old:

Arvadans for Social Justice
Arvadans for Social Justice, which started this spring, wants to ensure that every Arvada resident is treated with dignity; to make that a reality, ASJ members are working for policy changes in the community, police department and local schools. After the election, the group’s protest schedule will move to monthly, but the demonstrations will still be outside Arvada City Hall, 8101 Ralston Road. To get involved, visit the Arvadans for Social Justice Facebook page.

Aurora Copwatch
Founded in 2004, Aurora Copwatch is dedicated to documenting police misconduct and providing peaceful, nonviolent support for victims of police brutality. This summer, the group co-hosted a rally calling for justice for Elijah McClain, the 23-year-old Black man who died as the result of a violent interaction with Aurora police in August 2019. To get involved, visit Aurora Copwatch’s Facebook page.

Cherry Creek Students for Justice
Cherry Creek Students for Justice, comprising high school and college students in the Cherry Creek area, has multiple goals to better the lives of students, but all focus on encouraging equality in south metro Denver. This summer, the group gained attention for organizing a rally against Greenwood Village's Resolution 40-20, which created a loophole to SB 217, the police-reform bill, promising that law-enforcement authorities would be protected from civil liability. The group continues to attend council meetings while also keeping a close eye on local government actions, including a Greenwood Village Facebook post with photos of several Blue Lives Matter flags. “Resolution 40-20 was definitely a slap in the face from Greenwood Village,” says Sophie Kvaratskhelia, one of the high school students who organized the group. “It was a reminder for all of us that racism exists throughout our entire country, and not just in the cities and not just in the places on the news.”
To get involved, email [email protected].

Golden Anti-Racism Collective
The Golden Anti-Racism Collective organizes events, holds bi-monthly meetings and curates resources with a goal of creating a lasting anti-racist community in Golden. Formed this summer, the group advocates for local policy changes and anti-racist curriculum in schools. To get involved, visit the Golden Anti-Racism Collective’s website.

Golden United
Golden United, which launched in May 2017, is a nonprofit now working in partnership with the Golden Anti-Racism Collective to promote racial equality. The nonprofit has compiled a vast list of anti-racism resources, including podcasts, articles and documentaries. To get involved, visit Golden United’s website.

Lakewood for Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (Lakewood JEDI)
Started this June, Lakewood JEDI stands with the Black Lives Matter movement and has worked to spark community change by holding regular anti-racism protests and demonstrations. To get involved, visit Lakewood JEDI’s Facebook page.
Wheat Ridge for Equality took fast action when this graffiti appeared. - KYLE HARRIS
Wheat Ridge for Equality took fast action when this graffiti appeared.
Kyle Harris
Wheat Ridge for Equity
The membership of Wheat Ridge for Equity includes residents of Wheat Ridge and neighboring areas. The group, which got its start this June, focuses on ending racism and other forms of oppression in the city by educating residents about white privilege and strategizing to address local institutional racism; it also wants to create an environment where members of marginalized groups feel safe in Wheat Ridge. To get involved, visit Wheat Ridge for Equity’s Facebook page.

Know of another social-justice group in the towns around Denver? Send information to [email protected]
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Casey Van Divier grew up in Colorado and graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder. She now works as a Denver area journalist covering local news, politics and the arts.
Contact: Casey Van Divier