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Dozens rally for end to black-on-black youth violence, call for more 'tough love' from parents

Marchers want Black Lives Matter to really matter
Posted at 11:07 PM, Jul 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-19 10:46:33-04

DENVER -- It was a small march with a powerful message.

Nearly three dozen people marched or drove down Albrook Drive to Village Place Park in Montbello Saturday afternoon, calling attention to black-on-black youth violence and to talk about possible solutions.

"Enough is enough," said march organizer Alvertis Simmons. "We, as black folks, have got to stand up and show that Black Lives Matter."

Simmons said too many young black teens are engaging in violence with guns.

MLK teacher Mali Tolman said she marched to acknowledge the lives lost to gun violence.

"It hurts my heart to see how we have transformed to having so many guns out on the streets," she said.

Last week, two 17 year olds were shot while attending a house party on Atchison Way.

One of the victims, Davarie Armstrong, died.

He was the 8th juvenile killed in Denver so far this year, according to Denver police.

The uptick in youth violence actually dates back to August 8 of last year, when 19-year-old Darrell Mitchell was robbed, shot and killed.

Today, Mitchell's mom, who is still seeking justice, had a message for any kid who picks up a gun.

She said they better be ready for consequences.

"You cannot just let these kids go around taking lives...and then only give them four or five years, only to have them to come back out and do the same thing again," Metra Bell said.

Montbello resident Michelle Clifton said crime scene tape is becoming a little too common.

"When I see yellow tape around everywhere, the first thing I do is start praying for families," she said.

One marcher suggested parents need to show more tough love.

Kamilah Rollerson said, "we're our children's parents, not their friends."

Some marchers carried signs calling out police for their use of deadly force, but Simmons said he doesn't understand those who want to "defund" the police.

"They need some retooling," he said, "but I don't know about defunding."

He said what he does understand is that if someone were to break into his home, or to hurt his family, he would call police.

"I don't want a nurse coming to my home and I don't want a social worker," he said. "I want a trained officer who understands our community whether he looks like us or not, as long as cares! He's got to care about the people that he's protecting."

Simmons told Denver7 that some people in the Black community don't like his message.

But he adds the community has to address it.

"The young people in the community told me two things," he said. "They said, nobody loves us and we don't have any opportunity. Well, we're here today to show that we do love you, and that we've got opportunities for you."

He said he's working with a radio host and some national chain stores to help find jobs for youth and to get them thinking about the future.

His message, "Pull your pants up, leave the colors at home, and put the guns down.