By Conor McCue

DENVER (CBS4) – In the music and entertainment industry, it wasn’t business as usual on Tuesday. Some companies closed down for what was being called “blackout Tuesday.” The new effort asks people to pause and focus on community building and conversation. It’s also why you may have seen people posting black boxes on social media with the hashtag #blackouttuesday.

Protesters in Denver on Saturday (credit: CBS)

CBS4 spoke with two Colorado-based black activists Tuesday about the Black Lives Matter movement and people’s support for it, whether it be on social media, in protests or daily occurrences.

“There’s been a lot of conversation around what Blackout Tuesday does,” said Olivia Gardner, a recent University of Colorado Boulder graduate and local activist. “This morning I actually posted it and then deleted it because I was like, I actually want to bring black voices to the space and not just black it out.”

Gardner and her friends spent the last five days protesting at the capitol. While George Floyd’s death was a major point of concern for protesters, Gardner also had other victims of police violence in the back of her mind, including Breonna Taylor, who was shot and killed by police in Louisville, Kentucky in March.

“There have been so many black men, women, transgender men and women that have died at the hands of police and have never received any kind of justice. That’s what we want,” she said.

Gardner called the protests on Sunday afternoon and Monday evening beautiful, and called them a “healing space.” She’s hopeful for eventual change, but recognizes the fight is far from over.

“We’re literally protesting to fight for our lives,” Gardner said.

Two women embrace as people crowd in front of the Colorado State Capitol to protest on June 1, 2020 in Denver.

Two women embrace as people crowd in front of the Colorado State Capitol to protest on Monday. (credit: Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images)

Rev. Tawana Davis has been unable to join the protests recently, but fighting for social justice and black healing is her specialty. The Denver resident co-founded Soul 2 Soul sisters, a nonprofit that that provides faith-based support to black women, and even offers a curriculum, typically utilized by white people, called “facing racism.”

“We just ask that you do something, because your silence is violence, your silence is killing us, your silence is not protecting us,” Davis said. “If you don’t protest, and that’s not your thing, that’s fine, but what are you doing? What are you doing, and are you centering black lives?”

CBS4 asked Davis what she hopes the Black Lives Matter movement will achieve. Aside from equity-based changes to policing, education, health care and economic class, Davis said the following.

“It’s too often that we are not heard, we are not acknowledged, we don’t want the sympathy, we want the empathy to see me as a black woman who every day has to worry about her black son or her black grandson walking out that front door and never coming back,” she said.

Conor McCue