AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – About 100 cars took part in a caravan for racial and societal justice on Saturday afternoon. A dozen organizations banded together for the event which demanded changes from the state’s eviction moratorium to abolishing Immigration Customs and Enforcement.
“I think what we’ve been feeling these past couple weeks is that people are really fed up,” said Lillian House, a spokeswoman for the Party for Socialism and Liberation-Denver. “People are really fed up with all the kinds of violence that the system is inflicting on them and with people we care about.”
The caravan gathered north of downtown Denver and made its way with signs, honking, and cheering to the detention center used by ICE in Aurora.
“To demand a mass release of every immigrant detained in there. We do not believe that immigration is a crime, and it certainly should not carry a death sentence and we know there’s a COVID outbreak there,” House said.
According to outbreak data from the state health department, an outbreak was declared at the Aurora ICE Processing Center on May 30. There are 13 confirmed COVID-19 cases.
Some cars called for the abolishment of ICE, others wanted funding for housing instead of law enforcement. Then there were calls for housing stability during the pandemic and a freeze on rents and mortgages.
“These demands are wide and varied because the struggles facing poor and working people are wide and varied, and the coalition that is here is wide and varied. We believe we’re stronger together. All of these demands are connected to this system that doesn’t provide for our needs and is violent against our people,” House said.
“You can’t say that you care about Black Lives Matter if you don’t also understand the housing crisis a lot of our folks here in Colorado are facing,” said Cesiah Guadarrama with the advocacy group 9to5 Colorado. “They were choosing between paying rent and putting food on the table. Paying rent or paying for medicine. Now with folks unable to work for almost two months. There is no income to pay rent. It’s a human right and it’s also a health issue to have a massive eviction during a pandemic. A lot of the folks that are impacted are folks who are rent burdened, and a lot of the time those are also people of color.”
Protesters were pleased with the state legislature’s recent passing of law enforcement reform, but say that’s not enough.
“If you’re saying ‘black lives matter’ as a politician, as a leader, as a community member, you have to understand the importance of extending the eviction moratorium. You have to understand the importance of tenant protections and keeping people in their homes especially during a pandemic. It’s not just about the policing system, it’s all the systems including housing. You cannot say you care about those kinds of issues and then turn a blind eye to evictions,” Guadarrama said.