DENVER (KDVR) — Hundreds of people filled the parking lot outside Manual High School in Denver Saturday, coming together for a peaceful demonstration to celebrate individuals, who organizers say, are still fighting for full freedom.
“We’re celebrating black lives, we’re celebrating brown lives, indigenous people, immigrant brothers and sisters,” said Portia Terrell, a co-organizer with the group “10for10.”
The event comes on the heels of a protest that stretched overnight and into the morning in Aurora, demanding justice for Elijah McClain.
The 23-year-old black man died following an altercation with Aurora police officers last year. The district attorney did not file charges against the officers involved, but there are currently multiple investigations into the case.
“We are tired of police brutality. We are tired of corrupt government and tired of not being free,” said Terrell.
The event featured speakers and performers followed by a march through Denver streets. The organizers encouraged participants to be respectful of the surrounding properties and people who live there.
“It’s definitely important that we stand up and we fight for our rights and for the freedom but also we believe in peace and love and unity,” said Terrell.
Families with children came out for the event. Dwayne Dokes says he believes it’s important to show his son that people care about him as a young black man.
“On our way here we were having a conversation about how Elijah was walking to get something. And he likes to go out in our own neighborhood and I tell him you can’t do that sometimes. I have two older sons and we continue to have this conversation all the time,” said Dokes.
Dokes says he fears for his sons’ safety regularly.
“I understand the police side, too. I used to be a chaplain for the Denver Police Department so I understand both sides. It’s just alarming,” said Dokes.
He believes now is the time for the country to come together and create lasting change.