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Pride Liberation March draws big crowd to Cheesman Park, State Capitol

Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ group join forces
Posted at 2:41 AM, Jun 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-15 08:02:55-04

DENVER — Hundreds of people braved the hot sun and temperatures in the 90s to take part in the Pride Liberation March in Denver on Sunday.

The march was a joint effort of the organizers of the Denver Dyke Rally and Black Lives Matter 5280.

Like so many other important LGBTQ events, this one began at the Cheesman Park Pavilion around 5 p.m. Sunday.

Denver Dyke Rally organizer Onyx Steele said the march was an attempt to create space for black lives to be cared about.

"Our (LGBTQ) liberation and our movement at Stonewall was started by black lives," she said. "They held space for us, as queer individuals, to have our liberation and our movement, so in our opinion, it's the least we could do — to hold space for them in a time like this."

Steele added that police violence and systemic racism are prevalent and need to be addressed.

"A community that only wants to be seen as equal is under attack, and it is time to stop," one speaker said during the march.

State Rep. Leslie Herod said with new laws just recently passed, police will now be held accountable for their actions.

"I'm talking criminal and civil liability, meaning in their pockets, right?" she said, to applause. "And making sure bad police officers never work anywhere in this state again."

One attendee, Pasha Eve, said her stepfather is a policeman.

"Most officers are committed to serving and protecting, but I also think, in general, in our society and especially in police forces, there is a situation of institutionalized racism," she said.

RTD Board Member Shontel Lewis said it's important to work every single day to create a world that is anti-racist.

She said we do that by building habits.

"We do that by calling out racism," she said. "We do that by calling out sexism. We do that by not ignoring homophobic comments."

From the pavilion, participants marched out of Cheesman Park, then headed west down Colfax toward the State Capitol, chanting, "Trans black lives matter, gay lives matter."

At the Capitol, there was more passion, more talk about stolen land and a brutal system that has kept minorities oppressed. Then, a candlelight vigil to honor lives lost.