Roaring Fork Show Up decries systemic racism, oppression Saturday in Aspen
A local movement protesting systemic racism and oppression in America marched into its third weekend in Aspen on Saturday.
Led by the local group Roaring Fork Show Up, demonstrators issued calls of “Black Lives Matter,” “white silence is violence,” “no justice, no peace,” and “defund the police.”
The group is scheduled to meet again at 10 a.m. Sunday at Wagner Park and march through town with a stop at Paepcke Park for more speeches.
Beyond just repeating the phrases, however, organizers urged participants to study and educate themselves about their meanings and purpose.
For instance, said one of the group’s organizers, Erica Joos, the “defund the police” phrase “is not about getting rid of police forces, this is not saying police men and women and police people are bad. This is saying that police are part of that systemic, oppressive system. Think about it as how we can redistribute funds from entities that keep black lives oppressed and disperse it in a better way — toward education, toward health care, and be more inclusive in that way.”
Marie Huntley was the Saturday event’s main speaker. A recent arrival to Glenwood Springs from Florida, where she was heavily involved in social-justice activism, Huntley delivered an impassioned plea for respect and love.
“If you say you love God, then you love me,” she said. “If you say you love God, then you love your neighbor. Let’s not walk around in this world confused and contradicting the word of the Gospel, whether you believe it or not. Because it is today, and it will always be the same: Either you love me for real, or you hate me.”
Huntley also gave personal accounts of the systemic racism her family experienced, including one of her son’s unfair treatment due to an institutionalized and prejudicial justice system.
Jenelle Figgins and Sajari Simmons co-founded the Roaring Fork Show Up movement.
Figgins also has a nonprofit organization — Goal Achievement Program for Black Excellence in the Arts — which “is committed to supporting young black dreamers become brilliant, well-rounded artists and empowered black people,” according to a description of the group on Roaring Fork Show Up’s website — https://roaringforkshowup.org.
Simmons is behind the Melanin Passport Initiative, described as “a philanthropy that gives freedom to inner city black children by assisting the attainment of travel documents, as well as planning & funding enriching retreats that expose them to horizons far beyond their neighborhood block.”
The group’s email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saturday’s crowd was roughly half the size of the ones that showed up last weekend on June 7 and 8. The assembly went peacefully like the others, and organizers have said they plan to keep the movement going on a weekend-ly basis. Aspen police provided street security.
“Some people hit the snooze button this morning,” Joos said moments leading up the event. “But we’re not going anywhere.”
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With the retirement of Colorado’s color-coded COVID-19 restrictions dial, state and local leaders are today steering Colorado toward a pandemic off-ramp. Whether that succeeds or fails will depend mightily on a few more weeks of personal responsibility and restraint from a restrictions-fatigued population.