DENVER (KDVR) — Students are partnering with police, going in together for a stark anti-violence billboard on Colfax and Franklin.
“We really were encouraged by the fact that this really was a youth-led effort to erect this billboard, so we were happy to be a part of it,” Denver Police Chief Ron Thomas said.
He said the message empowers students who want to share their plight: calling for an end to violence in schools.
“I identified a way to get their message out,” Thomas said. “I think this billboard speaks directly to that.”
The Denver Police Department shared the $6,000 tab on a billboard with the Office of the Independent Monitor’s youth outreach effort, a group called the Denver Teen Empowerment Program.
“Put a message out there that would get people’s attention and get them to realize that they need help, they want it to stop,” said Nicole Taylor, with the Office of the Independent Monitor.
Students want accomplishments, not funerals
“It’s something that sucks for youth because you have to worry about going to school and coming back home,” said Guadalupe Murillo, a high school sophomore in the program.
This message, Murillo said, needs to be shared now.
“We don’t realize it until something bad happens, the big shootings, the massacres that are happening,” Murillo said.
Among her and other teens in the group, Murillo said there’s a genuine desire to stay safe and alive for better days.
“We want them to accomplish something big in life and not us attending funerals and being depressed and losing people that we miss a lot,” Murillo said.
The billboard and the help they’re getting, Murillo said, is a strong start to their cause.
“It feels like we’re getting somewhere. More powerful that we have a lot of extra help, especially the chief, to support us with a billboard,” Murillo said.