By Suzanne McCarroll
DENVER (CBS4) – Students from Denver public high schools met with community leaders on Monday to talk about race relations.
It’s been one year since some high school students walked out of class in support of the protests going on in Ferguson, Missouri. Those protests occurred after an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, was fatally shot by a white police officer.
Denver was one of the communities across the country that also had gatherings supporting the memory of Brown. Michael Chavez, a student at East High School, remembers the day students at East High School walked out of school.
“Not only are these African-American people standing up for what they believe is the injustice that has been done to them by police brutality, but there are other races supporting them as well,” Chavez said.
In the last 12 months student groups have worked with Denver police to create better relationships. Denver Police Chief Robert White says his department is reaching out, inviting students to ride along in police cruisers and getting together for sports games.
“Five or six of these schools made a commitment to better interact with police and we made the same commitment,” White said. “We’ve had 15,000 contacts, positive contacts with young people.”
Denver Public Schools Superintendent Tom Boasberg says bringing students together with community leaders gives them a positive outlet.
“I think it’s helped build stronger bridges and a deeper understanding between our students and our police officers,” Boasberg said.
One East High School student, Ezekiel Quattlebaum, described the exchange with community leaders.
“This showed us and others that we do have a voice and we care,” Quattlebaum said.
Denver leaders and students at the roundtable discussion on race relations say while they’re encouraged, they’re still far from satisfied by the state of race relations in Denver.
Suzanne McCarroll is a general assignment reporter at CBS4. Her stories can regularly be seen on CBS4 News at 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. Connect with her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @SuzanneCBS4.