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Photo by Trevor Jacques

Reasons to Love Denver: The Simple Things

COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter protests have given us the chance to prove that altruism does still exist, as evidenced by these incidents of kindness.

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1. Thousands of citizens—individuals and groups—volunteered on mornings after the protests to help collect trash and scrub graffiti in an effort organized by the Downtown Denver Partnership.

2. The owners of a brick bungalow in Washington Park hung a sign—“Need A Mask? Take one!”—and a mesh basket full of homemade face coverings on their picket fence.

3. Often marked by homemade red crosses, dozens of “street medics”—some professionally trained, some with basic skills, all there on their own time—circulated through the protest crowds to distribute first-aid supplies, such as eyewash, gauze, ointments, and water.

4. As Paul and Stephanie Vitulli struggled to keep their Glendale restaurant, Pie Society Pizza, open, every neighbor on their street coordinated to order a pie from the pizzeria.

5. North High School student Gabi Isom, 15, organized a march down Tennyson Street on June 3. Hundreds of residents were joined by Denver police, who walked with the blocks-long crowd. “We are here because this world and this country are desperate for change,” Isom said.

6. Shelsea Ochoa and Brice Maiurro’s Go Outside and Howl at 8 p.m. Facebook group inspired nearly 600,000 members, from Denver to Brazil, to howl for communion, support, or just to yell.

7. Artists Armina Jusufagic and Karlee Mariel transformed some of the many boarded-up windows around downtown Denver into murals celebrating George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter protests. “As artists,” Mariel said, “this is the way we can contribute to peaceful protests.”

8. Darrius Newton and other McMeen Elementary School teachers volunteered during the protests by supervising a stash of free water bottles for demonstrators. “All of these have been donated by people,” Newton said. “Random strangers just come up and drop them off.”

9. The owners of the Optiv Building, one of Denver’s tallest skyscrapers, used whiteboards and pink LED lights to fashion a gleaming eight-story Bat-Signal-style heart over downtown.

10. An anonymous customer left more than just two months of scruff behind on the first day of Denver’s safer-at-home phase, dropping $5,800 in combined tips on a $27 haircut for the staff of Floyd’s Barbershop in the University neighborhood.

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