Coloradans join in national peace march

It was a sunny, breezy day around Confluence Park as people gathered for a 1.8-mile march to the Colorado State Capitol for the Nationwide Solidarity March for Peace.

Young and old people from all races and cultures took the streets of Denver on Oct. 14. Before the protest started, marchers gathered for a Native American prayer and blessing that took place by the South Platte River. A member of the Four Winds American Indian Council and active protester Molly Ryan-Kills Enemy said that there needs to be a better balance between the voices of men and women in today’s culture. She marched in order to address this and to bring attention to violence against Native American women.

The march had around 200 people in attendance. Among the marchers were students from Strive Prep Montbello Middie School. Elle Sypek, a social worker at Strive, brought the students to the march to, “teach the kids they have a voice and ways to stand up for what they believe in.” Students, parents and workers from the school all wore shirts that said 100 percent human, made a statement that no matter where one is from or who one is all are united as humans.

With police help, the marchers walked down the 16th Street Mall chanting, “This is what democracy looks like,” and, “the people united will never be divided.” Bystanders cheered, car horns blared and fists in air accompanied the marchers as they made their way to the Capitol building.

Arian Noorzai, one of the main march organizers, said marches are good for awareness because they show that there are people who believe in peace and unity. Noorzai is the executive director of March for Humanity and helped organize the Muslim travel ban protest at Denver International Airport earlier this year.

Everyone had a reason to take part in the march. Reverend Christopher Wilkins wanted to rally the population. “It is easy to complain, hard to take action, do not complain about what we allow,” Wilkins said.

At the capitol, several speakers voiced the importance of peace and unity. Among these speakers were Lisa Calderon, a criminal justice activist, Mohammad Noorzai, a Muslim faith speaker, Jeanette Vizguerra, immigrant rights activist and Kyle Southerland, a poet.

They emphasized that even though we have differences, we can all come together for the common good. They told the crowd that they did not have to be a part of a culture to help fight for it. Jeanette Vizguerra, through a Spanish translator, spoke on behalf of immigrants and the importance of keeping families together. In his speech to the crowd Kyle Southerland said, “Solidarity is to feel the pain of others.”

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