DENVER — Hundreds turned out for a candlelight vigil Tuesday at Civic Center Park to remember the life of George Floyd and the countless black lives lost over the years.
Nyaradzo Bere and Denver Public Schools Board Director Tay Anderson organized the vigil. They called for unity, change, accountability, and an end to police brutality as they remembered Floyd on the day he was laid to rest in Houston.
“Black people are not asking for special treatment, we’re just asking to be treated as human,” Anderson said.
Floyd died after an officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
“He was more than the 16 utterances of some version or another of 'I can’t breathe,'” Bere said.
“Our history is loss… when a black person dies, it’s like losing a family member,” Joie Cooper, a demonstrator leading a march, said.
Larea Edwards sang at the vigil. She vividly remembers the day she called police for help and says they treated her like a criminal.
“We were on the phone with 911 and they (officers) put guns to our heads, and they were like, 'put down your weapons' and it’s like... something has to change,” Edwards said.
During the vigil, blacks, whites, Latinos and Asians closed their eyes, held hands, prayed, and sang together to show their support.
Sarah Foster brought her 10-year-old son with her.
“I hope that he can see all the positivity and love and the healing that we are capable of,” Foster said.
Anderson hopes this will be the last time they have to take to the streets and chant, “Black Lives Matter.” He admits the Denver Police Department and the Aurora Police Department are making progress by making policy changes, but adds that more needs to be done, which is why he is calling for people to get out and vote.
“I’m hoping that these last two weeks are going to actually have a systemic change,” Anderson said. “I think it’s time for us to have police accountability in this state.”