Aspen Times’ BLM coverage was flawed
Dear whoever read the article titled “Hundreds of people flood the streets over Floyd, BLM,” published this past Sunday,
We are grateful The Aspen Times covered the protest; however, we have feedback about the article from the counsel of the two women who led the event, Jenelle Figgins and Sájari Simmons.
Black Lives Matter is about racial equity and the hope to heal 400-plus years of racial oppression through action, education and awareness. The subtitle, “Protesting against police brutality,” is inaccurately stated as it dilutes the greater message the protest was making. The protest is to bring awareness to systemic racism and oppression toward African American communities all over the United States. Police brutality is just one of many factors of this reality. News publications need to lead the awareness (especially in Aspen) that systemic oppression impacts education, the health care system, environmental policy — the list goes on. The protest also is meant to bring awareness on educational resources available to help people take action.
Additionally, the main photo highlights a white male instead of Jenelle Figgins and Sájari Simmons, the two African American women who organized the protest. Jenelle is displayed in a smaller picture below, Sajari is not pictured. This is an example of centering white people in a black people’s movement and it cannot happen again.
We are so fortunate to have Jenelle and Sajari’s voices in this town, they need to be heard. We have created a committee called Roaring Fork Show Up. We provide resources to help educate on African American history, organizations to donate to, petitions to sign, etc .… as well as creating a space for fellow African Americans to find each other in the valley. Our email is firstname.lastname@example.org if anyone wants to be in touch we have a website coming soon. Aspen needs to be educated and we all need to play a part in that effort.
Sájari Simmons, Jenelle Figgins, Skye Weinglass, Erica Joos, Erin Greenwood