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Reasons to Love Denver: Community Organizers

New Hope Baptist Church pastor Quincy “Rev Q” Shannon shares insights he gleaned from helping organize Denver’s downtown protests.

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“I call them actions as opposed to a protest. When you say the word protest, it brings a certain connotation of what you expect when someone is there. An action of us coming together can be viewed and done and made different ways. We might march with our hands up. We might sit silently outside of somewhere.”

“We take breaks to dance. If you’re sad and angry seven days in a row, you continue to traumatize yourself. Sometimes you need to take a breath.”

“If you can steer the boat the direction you want it to go, there are a lot of people willing to row it. It has been powerful to see people step up in ways I never would have expected. It shows that although we all have different contexts in which we’re feeling the pain of this reality, when given the opportunity to come together it makes us strong.”

“The great thing about all of this is that there have been children and families who are willing to have the hard conversations with their parents or other family members. For the youth, it is as simple as giving them a chance to speak. We think they are too young to engage in some of these conversations. But they say, I hear the news. I see what’s happening. I see you. And I have something to say.”

“You can’t please everybody. There have been several members who have come up to me and have been upset that we weren’t protesting or that we weren’t activating the hearts and minds in the way that they want to. Why aren’t we throwing things at the police? So there’s been criticism that people don’t often see.… My calling right now is to utilize peace in a way that we can get some of the results we want. If we are not able to, I’m not a person who’s against other means.”

“People keep asking, Will you be out here tomorrow or next week? I think the linear-ness of time doesn’t really apply when you have something as systemic as white supremacy and racism. To get the changes we need, there will be multiple actions and myriad amounts of time. That might look like people gathering. Or voting. Or people getting in positions of power and infiltrating from the inside like a Trojan horse. To understand that means you are invested and not thinking, I’m only going to do this for a week. I may be outside again tomorrow or not. If I’m not, it doesn’t mean my fight stops. It just means I might change my tactic.”

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