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Community members share what Black Lives Matter means to them at fourth Solidarity Talk

Alexandria Carns, right, listens to a speaker during the Solidarity Talk event on Saturday, Sept. 19, at the Riverwalk Center in Breckenridge.
Photo by Elaine Collins

BRECKENRIDGE — When Alexandria Carns first moved to Breckenridge she didn’t view Summit County as an inclusive place. 

“I’m in an interracial marriage and we have two birracial daughters and we have had racial slurs and comments and looks and side glares,” she said. “I just felt like, while it’s beautiful here I’ll mind my business.”

Carns was the host of the fourth monthly Solidarity Talk on Saturday, Sept. 19 at the Riverwalk Center in Breckenridge. The topic for Saturday’s talk was “What does Black Lives Matter mean to you?” Unlike previous talks, Carns encouraged more community participation by having attendees sit in a circle and share their thoughts on the Black Lives Matter movement. 

Carns said she didn’t feel a sense of community until the first Walk of Solidarity protest in Breckenridge on June 1. 

“There was really not this sense of welcoming in this community until that walk,” she said. “That walk aligned me with so many people that are on our side, that are on the side of justice, that are on the side of inclusivity for all people.”

For Rockshana Desances, Ms. Colorado for the International United Miss pageant, the idea that black lives matter doesn’t currently exist. 

“If it did exist, I feel that this conversation wouldn’t be happening,” she said. “There wouldn’t be so much happening in the world for the need and the urgency to have a conversation like this.”

Desances said that she won’t believe that black lives matter until everyone is treated equally. 

Pageant queen Rockshana Desances talks about the Black Lives Matter movement during the Solidarity Talk event on Saturday, Sept. 19 at the Riverwalk Center in Breckenridge.
Photo by Libby Stanford / estanford@summitdaily.com

“We’re not being tried equally, because we don’t matter,” she said. “The day I will start saying completely, ‘black lives matter’ full on force everyday is when equality applies to everyone, no matter your race, religion, sexual orientation.”

Frisco Town Councilman Andy Held spoke about the negative perception of the Black Lives Matter movement. Held pointed to reactions to the Black Lives Matter mural in Frisco as an example of a misunderstanding of the cause. 

“I had somebody in my town who I consider a close friend tell me that ‘Black Lives Matter’ in front of town hall is the same thing to him that a swastika in front of town hall is to me,” said Held, who is Jewish. 

Held said he believes the way to help the movement is to engage people who don’t understand it. 

“When these people come to me and they come to us and they say ‘how dare you do this?’ I engage them,” he said. 

Frisco resident Tim McCall said that it’s important to recognize the systemic problems that led to the Black Lives Matter movement. 

“There’s no question that Black lives have value, the same amount of value as every other life,” he said. “The thing is, when we look around, we look at larger institutions and the systems that govern our lives, that phrase doesn’t always hold up. So we have this issue where this absolute truth is being eroded away or criticized.”

McCall said it’s most important for people to step up when the Black Lives Matter movement is given a different meaning or is being criticized. 

“That’s really revealing that there’s oppression at work,” he said. “That’s unnatural.”

Frisco Town Councilman Andy Held talks about the Black Lives Matter movement during the fourth monthly Solidarity Talk on Saturday, Sept. 19, at the Riverwalk Center in Breckenridge.
Photo by Libby Stanford / estanford@summitdaily.com

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