DENVER (CBS4) – The organizer for a protest planned on Saturday in honor of George Floyd hopes his event can stand out with leadership and a strong message calling for solutions. It is one of many protests in Colorado and across this country over the past few days seeking justice in the death of a Minneapolis man who was in police custody.
“They say we want to voice our opinion, but we don’t want to do it that way, well we know you’re going to do it the right way,” Alvertis Simmons said on Friday. “You’re not going to hijack this movement; we’re not going to allow it.”
A civil rights leader in Denver for almost 30 years, he has been a part of more than 1,000 protests in the city. Throughout all that time, he believes protests remain a necessary tool and often it is the only option for marginalized communities. The pressure they put on law enforcement and elected leaders leads to arrests and action in the justice system.
“I’m 63 years old and I still got the energy to fight for our people, we got to protest, we ain’t got no other choice,” Simmons told CBS4. “We understand that if we don’t have protests to have our voice heard, we’re not going to be heard.”
Simmons met with the mayor and attended his news conference asking for peaceful protests, he then witnessed a new round of demonstrations outside the City and County Building. He warned that those actions did not seem to have the organization needed to maximize their impact. Members of the black community contacted him and voiced their desire to have a protest that spoke to their feelings over the past week, watching what happened to Floyd and other unarmed black men. Simmons believes the protest on Saturday can capture that emotion.
“We’re going to show the world that Denver, Colorado knows how to protest with grace and peace,” he said.
The march begins at 3 p.m. inside City Park at the Martin Luther King, Jr. statue. Simmons will have 500 masks for protesters so they can maintain safe habits related to the COVID-19 pandemic.