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Marching in Peace

Marching in Peace

Marching in Peace
September 27
14:35 2019


Jesus Sanchez Melean

That Saturday morning, I wasn’t ready for the walk I was getting into. I have no training whatsoever on running or walking marathons. And I don’t know the difference between a 4k, 5k, 10k neither I have ever participated in one. I didn’t bring a hat that morning. I didn’t put on sunscreen. I didn’t wear comfortable walking shoes to walk 16 miles, eight in each direction, to get to the destination, and return to find my car.

My lack of experience and preparation for this kind of physical activity didn’t stop me when I followed the multitude of people that embraced this march. I was surprised to see the amount of people that, like me, arrived at the Martin Luther King monument at City Park. Most of these people were better prepared than me. They were carrying signs with messages related to the purpose of the march.

Meanwhile, I always had my phone, that I was using to make notes, and from time to time, to take pictures. At times, I questioned myself for being part of this march. But I would immediately convince myself that I was doing my job “purely journalistic”. This argument kept popping in my head: “this is a historic march, and I want to be a part of it. I want to live this experience.”

And by thinking that, I was complicating things. The historic meaning of the Enough! March for Justice can’t be determined at this time. It will be the job of historians, in no less than 50 years, to determine whether gathering hundreds of people at the ICE Detention Center in Aurora must be written in history or not. All I can do is present some facts for future historians to do their jobs.

This gathering was a showcase of the diversity that exists in the Denver Metro Area in the second decade of the XXI Century. “We were Native American, Muslim, Jews, and Christians; young, old, black, brown and white; from all nationalities, cultures, creeds and races,” said Nita Gonzalez, one of the organizers, when describing those who participated at the march. It must be clear that on that morning, there was no restriction for any social group to be part of the gathering.

No one was banned from walking and being part of a march with a known destiny. No one had to provide their names, or indicate what race or immigration status they had, in order to participate. I feel I could best use the word “Freedom” to describe the attitude everyone had. I saw faces of people that felt safe, and confident to express their opinions. Some were using their signs to express their opinions, others were singing, others were chanting. No one was banned from expressing their thoughts.

I saw how the Denver Police, at the beginning of the march, and later, the Aurora Police, were facilitating traffic for all those who were marching. Officers closed intersections, as the march was progressing, to prevent any distracted driver from run over those who were walking. It was clear to me that the local police departments were guaranteeing the safety of those who were marching towards the ICE detention center in Aurora. That morning the Denver and Aurora police were focused on local safety and not worrying about immigration law enforcement.

In Gonzalez’s words I also understood the motivation of those who were marching. “We marched to draw attention to the border atrocities. We marched and refused to be silent anymore. It is enough with injustice, inhumanity, and white supremacy,” said Gonzalez. The expression of these goals took place peacefully. I saw absolute civility and peace amongst the hundreds of protesters. Those who attended, respected the spaces assigned by the Aurora police upon arrival outside the ICE building.

I can’t predict how historians will talk about this event in the future. What I can affirm is that, at this moment, the great challenge for North American society is to maintain peace and harmony. I hope that events like the Enough! March for Justice continue to be the standard. I hope that people will be able to continue to express themselves with freedom. It would be sad to remember this march in history as one of those rare events that will make us long for something that we have lost.    


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