Students from Denver Public Schools organized a march to end racism on Sunday, and drew in roughly 3,000 people who joined in the celebration and calls for action.
The march marked the 11th consecutive day of protests since the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man who was killed in the custody of white Minneapolis police officers May 25.
“Black Lives Matter does not begin nor does it end with George Floyd,” Jayla Hemphill, an upcoming senior at Northfield High School, told the massive crowd after it had marched down Colfax and arrived at the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial at City Park.
“Black lives should not only matter when a black man is brutally deprived of his, or when the movement is trending on social media,” she continued. “Black lives matter in the classroom when your black peers speak. They matter in politics when your black politicians campaign. They matter when microaggressions go on every single day around us and go unaddressed.”
Hemphill was one of several high school students who teamed up with Denver Public Schools board member Tay Anderson to organize the Sunday movement.
Denver police closed streets to allow the march to move from the Greek amphitheater in Civic Center Park east along Colfax to City Park. They also handed out water to protesters and helped redirect traffic to prevent disruption to the march. Police Chief Paul Pazen also participated in the march.
Speakers, which included several DPS officials as well as Democratic state Rep. Leslie Herod, all stressed the importance of ending racism, passing the police accountability bill recently introduced in the General Assembly, and removing police officers from Denver’s schools.
“You are our future,” Anderson told the crowd as he led them in chants and cheers while on a truck packed with snacks, water and speakers, which were blaring songs from Beyonce, Kendrick Lamar, Stevie Wonder and more.
There was also a nearly 9-minute moment of silence in honor of Floyd at City Park.