There was a protest at the corner of Alameda Parkway and Jewell Avenue on the afternoon of June 11. But it was also an opportunity for Lakewood parents to talk to their children about some difficult …
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There was a protest at the corner of Alameda Parkway and Jewell Avenue on the afternoon of June 11. But it was also an opportunity for Lakewood parents to talk to their children about some difficult topics.
As the sun tilted over nearby Green Mountain, dozens of protesters stood on all four corners of the Lakewood intersection, waving signs supportive of the Black Lives Matter movement, and decrying police violence and systemic discrimination, as a good number of the passing vehicles honked in support.
The protest was organized through GM Mamas parenting group on Facebook, and shared from there to other community pages.
"A lot of moms wanted to take their kids to a protest, but were nervous about going downtown," said Jocelene Smith, a GM Mamas group member and the organizer of the June 11 event, who brought her own "Black Lives Matter" sign.
Smith said repeatedly seeing a lone woman, holding a "Black Lives Matter" sign on that same corner for many days, and hearing about another community rally held days earlier in the same spot helped motivate her to organize her own "safe, peaceful, and close to home," event for the other moms and families in the area to participate.
"I think it's an important issue and I want them to learn early that it's important to stand up for racial justice," said Angie Anderson who brought her two children, ages 1 and 3 to the rally.
Anderson said her children were too young to learn everything, but she still showed them a Sesame Street town hall special on racism, and they had recently read a children's book based on the life of Rosa Parks.
Anderson, and several other GM Mamas members at the protest all said the group has always been more about play dates than politics. Still Anderson didn't see the protest a real break from that tradition.
"People are equal. That's not really political," she said.
Green Mountain -area mother Jennifer Morris said she came to join in the protest because she has two adopted black children, though, "even if we didn't, it would be the right thing to do."
Morris said she was thankful for the community protest.
"It made it really easy to have some of these conversations," she said.
Nine-year-old Dasi Morris sat in his mother's lap holding a protest sign. He said he was excited to come to the protest, "until I learned we'd be here two hours!"
Still, the youngster said he was happy to see so many people in his community come out to the protest, "to tell the world what's going on and how to fix it."
Steve and Krista Frank, stood on another corner of the intersection. They had wanted to join the protests and to talk to their 6 and 8-year-old children about racial justice sooner, but said being part of the larger, and sometimes violent protests in downtown Denver, especially amid the COVID-19 outbreak seemed daunting, so the smaller June 11 protest came along at a nice time.
"They (the children) both helped put this sign together, and learn, well, who are these names?" said Krista Frank. She said the conversation that followed was uncomfortable, but meaningful.
Lakewood mom with 5-year-old twins Erin Lucas smiled and waved her sign, calling on white people to not be complacent. She said that over the years as more and more incidents of police brutality have been documented by cell phone technology, it just got harder for her to not try to do something.
"If your kids went to the store for Skittles and didn't come back .... it's an unspeakable injustice."
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