GRAND JUNCTION, CO – On Monday, July 27, local activists met in front of the Colorado Mesa University sign on North and 12th to hold up Black Lives Matter signs during rush hour, to remind the people of Grand Junction that this movement isn’t just a “trend”.
“There are a lot of people in this community that disagree with us, and we need to let them know that we’re not gonna back down, and we’re not going to treat this like it’s just a trend,” Laurel Collins, 16, said.
Alycen Reinhart is a student at CMU and had co-organized the event with Justin Jolley.
“I have seen videos and images on social media since the beginning. I have had friends in Seattle and Portland tear gassed, and it seemed so not real. This video compilation I saw of violence in different cities was all looking the same and I know that GJ wasn’t outside that realm. I think rallies are great and the corner is the best spot.”
About 25 people participated in the protest. They heard many supportive honks from passing cars as they smiled, waved, and cheered for the protesters, who stood at that corner for about an hour and a half in humid weather.
Not all of the responses were positive.
Some passing motorists shouted “Trump 2020”, “White Lives Matter”, and the N-word. Some flashed their middle fingers and screamed obscenities before roaring off.
“The negative reactions were not surprising at all,” Reinhart said. “I see MAGA and confederate imagery all the time. The positive support outweighed the negative.”
Collins said, “Sometimes I would blow them kisses just to confuse them and not give them the [angry] reaction they want. If anything, it just empowered me even more. It reinstated why I was out there [protesting].”
The protest ended at 6:00 pm, and the organizers plan to make this a regular occurrence. It will take place in front of the CMU sign on 12th and North at 4:30, every other Monday.
Reinhart and Jolley planned this event to create change in the Valley. Through making this a regular occurrence, Reinhart hopes to “bring more power behind this movement in the Grand Valley. If you are diving by, it is hard to ignore. I want people to reconsider their hate. Racism and hate can only hide for so long, and if this can change any of the habits ingrained into our lives, I would be so happy. I want everyone to know that the people here are loving! I’m super stoked to see if this can make it to high school and other places.”
Featured image by Justin Jolley.