Protestors block Pridefest parade, call for community to ‘rise up’

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Protestors blocked the Pride Parade to call attention to the death of Jessie Hernandez on Sunday June 21, 2015

DENVER — Protestors on Sunday halted the Pride Parade, one of Denver Pridefest’s main events, to call attention to the death of Jessie Hernandez, a 17-year-old who was killed in January.

About 50 protestors blocked East Colfax Avenue just after 10 a.m. and brought the parade to a stop while holding signs and shouting their message.

“On this day, we gather to celebrate your pride in gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer love while we celebrate these same things,” the protestors shouted in unison. “We are grabbing the mic for just a few minutes while we reflect on and honor the lives that have been taken.”

Hernandez was shot and killed on Jan. 26 by Denver police when she allegedly drove at them in a stolen vehicle. A police investigation determined the officer-involved shooting was justified and no charges were filed as of June 5.

“Rise up for Jessie Hernandez, queer Latina teen murdered by Denver police,” the signs read.

Protestors listed the names of several others and called on supporters of gay rights to also support “black and brown and trans and queer people of color.”

“LGBTQ people, demand an end to police brutality and an end to the discrimination and sexual harassment in our community,” protestors said.

Protestors also said they wanted to raise awareness to the issue that LGBTQ people of color allegedly face higher rates of murder, unemployment, detention and homelessness.

The protest dispersed after approximately 10 minutes. Police did not interrupt or interfere with the protest. No arrests were reported.

Denver Pridefest is one of the largest pride celebrations in the United States with an attendance of 365,000 last year, celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.

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