Thousands of people gathered in front of the Colorado State Capitol yesterday as the sun was setting to protest the election of Donald Trump as president. Two locals, Qween Phoenix and Meghan Rose, organized the event via Facebook under the name Denver Unites for Better after they felt a need to create a space for people to voice their fears. “Make America safe again,” Phoenix said as she gathered the group with a megaphone donning an Obama sticker. “Our number one priority tonight is to be safe.”
Protest groups and events have popped up across the country since Trump’s win on Tuesday night. While some have been violent, Phoenix prioritized peace in her opening remarks and the protest began with a meditation. Amidst a few road closures, including a portion of I-25 for about 30 minutes, the protest remained peaceful.
The attendees mainly came to support the LGBTQ community, immigrants, and indigenous tribes, and there was an overwhelming theme against hate. (There have been reports of a widespread surge in hate crimes and other such incidents in the wake of the election.) “We’re here to stand against the rhetoric that this man has promoted: xenophobia, homophobia, racism; these are things that belong in our past,” said Tara Neubaur, who wrote a speech she was hoping to deliver at some point in the evening. “I am personally here to say this is not the America we want and it’s not what we want to leave our children.”
Others came to support family members, like Maria Alcantar, a 19-year-old undocumented Latina woman. “I’m here to support my family because they’re too scared to do it,” she said.
Craig and Shauna Pica have a 15-year-old gay son, and say they fear for his human rights under a Trump presidency. “We’re out here supporting him and his right to a parent, to be married, and to be happy,” Shauna said.
Craig also has separate fears for the future of America’s economy. “They’re talking about deregulating businesses to allow people to make more money and it’s a failed policy,” he said. “This is going to be terrible for working class people. Trickle down economics doesn’t work.”
The Picas said they’re feeling fed up and have begun planning a move out of the country. While it’s been a discussion for years, they said Trump taking the Oval Office will catapult the process.
Denver Unites for Better is planning another protest this Sunday. Follow the movement here.