//During the George Floyd protest on May 29, Tay Anderson stepped in to lead the marchers after the movement started off with white people in the lead. Photos by Esteban Fernandez | firstname.lastname@example.org
In a reversal of last night’s chaos, protest leaders took extra care to ensure today’s protest was non-violent and peaceful.
Friday was part two of three straight days of protest in response to the officer-involved death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25. The group split into two, with some staying and chanting at the Capitol building, while others marched through the city.
Tay Anderson, the at-large director of the Denver School Board, took point on the march after he noticed that the protest was being led by white allies, he said.
“When black people are ready to break things, we are going to break them,” he said through the megaphone. “We don’t need white people to break things for us.”
He then moved the protesters to both sides of Lincoln Street and urged cars to honk in support, eventually starting a new march going south down the main street and circling back to Civic Center Park.
Anderson asked the protesters of color to stand on the stage with him and for allies to stand below in the stage platform in the audience. This, Anderson said, was so allies could see who the protest was for.
After rallying people of color to him and asking white allies to form a circle around the group, Anderson referenced the statement given this morning by Denver Chief of Police Paul Pazen. Anderson said that aggressive allies were the ones who were making the protests harder for people of color.
“The allies need to step back unless they are asked to step in,” Anderson said later in an interview.
Anderson also emphasized that the protest must acknowledge black women and black members of the LGBTQ+ community. Not just black men are being killed.
“I think that people don’t realize that black women’s lives matter too. It’s not just African American men who are being shot down by the police. Women are being impacted by this as well,” said Emma Francis, a young black protester at the rally.
Francis showed up with her friends Aislyn Greer, another young black woman, and Savannah Carucci, a white ally friend of theirs.
Greer agreed that women of color receive just as much harassment from the police as men. She said that police also discriminate against women of color by not taking their reports seriously.
“Reports by an African American woman are always taken less seriously than by a white woman,” she said.
As the protest wrapped up, Anderson urged people to go home and be safe. He said that nothing else will be going on until the candlelight vigil at 7 p.m. and he didn’t want anyone having trouble with the police.
Only a few arrests were made today. The Denver County Police Department said that the arrests can not all be confirmed until tomorrow, but the majority were for minor offenses like not staying on the sidewalks.
“This is what community looks like when you pull together,” Anderson said.