Hundreds marched through downtown Parker the evening of June 4 in solidarity with the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement.
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Hundreds marched through downtown Parker Thursday night in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
Organizer Nina Garcia told Colorado Community Media that she was surprised at the turnout for the June 4 protest. She said she has children who are bi-racial and felt she needed to do something to decry racism.
“I don’t want to talk. I want to be about it,” Garcia said. “I want to be part of something that is very near and dear to my heart. My kids have dealt with racism before, and it’s not right.”
Chants of #BlackLivesMatter prior to march down Mainstreet pic.twitter.com/QSyc2mIPKw— Nick Puckett (@nick__puckett) June 5, 2020
Chants of #BlackLivesMatter prior to march down Mainstreet pic.twitter.com/QSyc2mIPKw
Protestors have demonstrated in Denver since May 28 to honor George Floyd, a black man killed while in police custody in Minneapolis May 25. The June 4 protest was the first organized demonstration related to Floyd’s death in Parker and the second in Douglas County, following demonstrations in Castle Rock.
Garcia said she lives in Aurora and works in downtown Parker. She said she has never organized a protest before, but felt she needed to do something for Parker.
“I spend a lot of my time here in Parker. I love Parker. I work down the street,” Garcia said. “I consider this my town. I love it.”
A few police officers stationed themselves every few blocks along Parker's Mainstreet. Two Lone Tree Police Department squad cars and one Douglas County Sheriff’s Office car were seen around downtown Parker.
Another video from today’s march. @ColoradoNewsCCM pic.twitter.com/UR4TI8deUT— Nick Puckett (@nick__puckett) June 5, 2020
Another video from today’s march. @ColoradoNewsCCM pic.twitter.com/UR4TI8deUT
Garcia and a few others addressed the crowd first. Garcia then led a demonstration where the crowd lay on the grass for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, the length of time Floyd was on the ground with an officer kneeling on his neck in an act that led to his death. Some chants of “I can’t breathe” could be heard.
The crowd began marching east on the sidewalk along Victorian Drive and back down Mainstreet twice. Protestors intermittently chanted “Black lives matter,” “I can’t breathe” and “No justice, no peace,” as well as a few names of prominent victims of police brutality or racial profiling, including Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin and Floyd.
Some protesters expressed surprise that the Parker protest happened at all — and at this scale.
Steven Madena, originally from Houston, said he moved to Parker two years ago with his wife.
“Being here (in Parker), you don’t really ever feel like you have a corner,” Madena said. “To see all these people here definitely was something that made me feel like it took away lot of the apprehension I’ve had about living here and not being able to have the diversity for my kids so they can understand what it looks like.”
“I didn’t expect this many people, honestly. There’s a good feeling about it. Everybody seems happier and seem like they came here to do what they came to do,” said Martin Caliz, an eight-year resident of Parker. “It’s a good experience, especially for my kids.”
“It was nice to come into a community that really is doing the right thing. This makes us proud,” said Carl Ladson, a five-year Parker resident. Ladson attended the march with his wife Gwen and son Grayson. “It’s great to see all these people come together to support what’s right, regardless of color of skin.”
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