NewsLocal News


Kentucky contingent travels to Colorado to stand in solidarity with family of Elijah McClain

Posted at 3:29 AM, Aug 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-23 05:30:20-04

DENVER -- Twenty activists from Louisville, Kentucky traveled 1,000 miles to attend the Caravan for Racial Justice's 'Say Their Names' rally, Saturday, at the Colorado State Capitol.

Among the Kentucky contingent, were Breonna Taylor's family and representatives from Kentucky's Alliance Against Racial and Political Repression.

"We're not here to cause trouble, as your police chief has stated, but as Congressman John Lewis called it, we are here to cause good trouble," said Tyra Walker, co-chair of the alliance. "We want to fight for justice and for change."

The Kentuckians traveled to Denver to reciprocate a visit by Colorado activists, who traveled to Kentucky last month to attend a rally for justice for Taylor. Their return visit nearly coinciding with the one year anniversary of Elijah McClain's fatal detainment by Aurora police.

McClain's mother, Sheneen, attended the "Say Their Names" rally, but did not speak.

Her attorney did.

"This is about a Mother who has lost her son, who has now taken on the amazing role of speaking as the voice of a community," said Mari Newman. "The same is true of Breonna Taylor's friends and family, who have come 1,000 miles, all the way from Louisville, to support the McClain Family. Thank you."

Lynn Eagle Feather opened the rally, talking about land.

"This land is Cheyenne and North Arapahoe," she said.

Eagle Feather's son, Paul Castaway, was shot and killed by Denver police on July 12, 2015, after Eagle Feather called 911 and told them her son was suicidal and had a knife.

Security video shows Castaway running and crouching behind a wooden fence, raising a knife to his own neck, and then standing to walk toward the officers. As he advances, the officers back up slowly, until Castaway is only a few feet away.

One of the officers fired at Castaway.

The DA determined the shooting was was justified, but Eagle Feather took issue with that.

"My son needed help," she said. "He didn't need to be killed by you people."

State Representative Leslie Herod, D-Denver, reminded rally participants that Colorado has ended qualified immunity for law enforcement.

"We're going to make sure that we hold every single law enforcement officer accountable when they do harm to someone in our community," she said.

Rep. Jame Coleman, D-Denver, said it's not enough to get a bill passed.

"Next time one of your elected officials tell you they got a bill passed, ask them how it's doing. Ask them if it's being enforced," he said.

Candice Bailey, a friend of the McClain family, talked about the names on two scrolls which were unfolded and placed on the ground during the rally.

She said it's hard to look at the names, "but we must remember not only the names that are here, but the names we will never, ever know and will never be able to say," she said. "People who were killed, and it was swept under the carpet."

Bailey also said it's time to recognize that motherhood has stepped in to reclaim the planet.

She had some words of wisdom for white women who are part of that motherhood group.

"White women, you are the nurturer of white supremacy," she said. "I expect you to get up and educate your children. When your white husband feels that something is appropriate and you know it is not, you shut him down."

She also had words of wisdom for black women in that group.

"Stop your children from killing their brother, that looks the same," she said. "Stop your sons from hitting their women. You stop everything that kills us, and I mean now, inside of your households."

Nearly every speaker noted the long struggle for true equality and against racism.

While many in America may have forgotten George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Elijah McClain, they said "we have not."

Stephany Rose Spaulding said, "just like COVID-19 has changed our lives, this fight will continue to change our lives."