GRAND JUNCTION, CO – About 100 people gathered in 90 degree weather on July 6th right outside of Charlie Dwellingtons to honor the lives of Elijah McClain and Jayne Thompson. McClain was an innocent black man tortured and killed by Aurora Police last summer as he walked home from the convenience store. He was anemic so he wore a face mask, and he was also dancing while he walked, but a bystander called the police because they thought McClain was “suspicious”. Thompson was a transgender woman killed in Mesa County by a Colorado State Patrol officer during a mental health crisis and she was misgendered in the media after her death.
String players Sarah Zambrano, Barent Foley, Aidie Reis, Tiernan Boyd, Mistie Dawn and Jessica Cooper, all played together for the first time ever in front of an eager crowd. A counter protester on a motorcycle slowly drove by, revving his loud engine in an attempt to intimidate this group of peaceful people, but the band continued playing. Several community members gave speeches in between songs to talk about the lives and tragic deaths of Elijah McClain and Jayne Thompson.
After the vigil ended, the crowd marched together across the street to the Department of Motor Vehicles office, where Governor Jared Polis was in attendance to sign legislation. RAW members Antonio Clark and Jay Bishop had the chance to speak to him. People stood by outside until Clark and Bishop finished their meeting with Polis as counter protesters tried to harass the citizens at the DMV standing with the Black Lives Matter movement and RAW.
Antonio and Jay spoke to the governor about justice for McClain, the importance of implementing racial equity programs in schools across the state, and gentrification issues in Denver.