Boulder’s Kristi Persinger attended the Womxn’s March Denver on Saturday, then joined Boulder’s march in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday.
With the presidential election in November, she said, she’s all about politics and activism.
“Showing up is part of my civic duty,” she said.
But participating in political discussion can be “really disheartening,” she said, adding that marching with like minded people “is good for my mental health.”
“It’s really good to be around people who share a common thread,” she said.
A small but passionate group attended a short rally and then marched from downtown Boulder to the Dairy Arts Center on Monday afternoon. The event was hosted by the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center.
Following the march, the Dairy hosted a performance of “JustUs: Stories From the Frontlines of the Criminal Justice System.”
Several public officials, including Boulder City Council members and state Rep. Jonathan Singer, D-Longmont, spoke before the march.
“Regardless of what faith, regardless of what party, regardless of where we come from, we have a responsibility to care for each other,” Singer said. “We can all work together to change things.”
Nikhil Mankekar, chairperson of Boulder’s Human Relations Commission, talked about spearheading the effort to update the city’s hate crimes ordinance. The changes, approved by the City Council, expand the ability of municipal police and lawyers to charge those who use language meant to evoke fear in someone because of their perceived race, religion, nationality, sex, gender, sexual orientation, age or disability.
He said seeing a rise in hate crimes locally and nationally keeps him up at night, knowing how easily the tide has turned so that “the things we thought we had put behind us as a nation are coming back.”
“When you are truly tested, what do you choose?” he asked. “What values do you live for?”
Katherine Bertone said the march was a great opportunity to show her two children, 10-year-old June and 8-year-old Willem, how “people show up and speak out.”
June added that she wanted to participate because “it’s not fair that black people get treated differently than white people.”
Rich Bryan, who usually attends the Denver march but ended up in Boulder this year, said he’s most concerned about inequality in the criminal justice system.
“It’s not just a day off from school, but to celebrate what’s been done and talk about what’s still needs to be done,” he said.
Broomfield’s Eric Ironside said he marched with his two kids, 16-year-old Mack and 14-year-old John, because he wants them to know more about King’s legacy and how hard he fought for social justice.
Mack, a sophomore at Boulder’s New Vista High School, said the school’s equity program sparked an interest in participating in social justice events.
“I feel a lot more connected to the community,” Mack said.
Detre Godinez, who previously lived in Boulder and now is a Denver resident, called King a great role model, especially in the current political climate.
“We have to keep using our voice and keep marching on in solidarity and unite together,” she said. “We all value a lot of the same things.”