Near the start of the Golden Vigil and March for Black Lives on Sunday, Golden City Councilwoman JJ Trout read the recent words of a black girl who is currently growing up in a multiracial family in …
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The vigil and march was organized by Golden United, which will also be organizing several efforts and events relating to racism in the coming weeks. More information at goldenunited.org.
Near the start of the Golden Vigil and March for Black Lives on Sunday, Golden City Councilwoman JJ Trout read the recent words of a black girl who is currently growing up in a multiracial family in Golden.
“I know my friends and family love me, but I feel scared and people do not understand,” the girl had said.
Trout then shared the words the girl's mother said she had recently told her white son, who had said he feels scared for his black sister.
“For white people, we know not to talk about it (racism) but we need to be uncomfortable to make change,” said the mom.
That message hung large over the remainder of the event, which saw several hundred mostly white attendees come out to Parfet Park for the vigil, during which residents observed an eight-minute-and-40-second moment of silence in recognition of the amount of time officer Derek Chauvin had his knee on George Floyd's neck in Minneapolis. Afterward, attendees, many of whom carried signs denouncing racism and demanding change, marched to Lions Park and down Washington Street.
During the vigil, Golden Mayor Laura Weinberg thanked the Golden residents who were able for doing what is uncomfortable by “standing up for what is right” despite the continued threat posed by COVID-19. She also acknowledged Golden's troubled history with racism in extolling the need for residents to work together for change, including KKK meetings that took place on South Table Mountain 100 years ago.
“It is an ugly part of our past and it does not reflect the Golden of today,” Weiberg said. “However, we would be naive to think that racism doesn't exist here. It does and now is the time to actively commit to our Golden values — to be a community where everyone is safe, welcome and treated with respect and dignity.”
Weinberg then discussed several steps the city will take to address racism, police brutality and other related issues on a city level. Those steps will include a council vote on a resolution declaring racism a public health crisis, a review of police department policies and training procedure and an effort to look at the city code with an eye toward addressing inequity.
“The work to root out systemic racism and racial bias is not a one-time effort, but rather an effort that needs to persist until it becomes a part of the fabric of who we are and how we make decisions in Golden,” Weinberg said.
There were also several Golden police officers present at the march, including Golden Police Chief Bill Kilpatrick. On June 2, Kilpatrick released a letter calling Floyd's murder “repulsive, appalling and unconscionable.” He said he chose to attend the event because he supports people's right to protest and felt that it was important for them to see him there.
“We are part of the community,” said Kilpatrick. “We've tried to interact with the community for as long as I've worked here, and what more significant way than the show we're part of the community and open to the conversations with people that are occurring and to be present.”
Among the handful of black Goldenites in attendance at the event was Leo Igberase, a Colorado School of Mines student who said he is “sick and tired of hearing about this in the news all the time” and “seeing people who do some types of protests but then things just go back to normal.”
Igberase also said he is hoping the protests bring about changes ranging from increased student diversity at Mines to the implementation of greater training for police on ways to stop situations without resorting to violence.
“I'm glad to see people actually come out to support this because it's not black vs. white situation, it's a human rights situation and it's injustice against a people,” he said. “So I'm glad to see all of the non-black people coming out here but I hope it does not stop here and keeps progressing and the message spreads and gets stuff done.”
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