Gabi Isom, like most North High School students, has spent the last few months adapting to remote learning. Unlike most other high school freshmen, she also organized a march in support of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and to protest the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota.
“I was sitting at home watching protesters make a difference,” Isom said. “I wanted to take it to our neighborhood.”
Several estimates put the crowd at over 400 people, including several dozen of Isom’s classmates. The march began in Berkeley Park, continued down Tennyson St, and returned to the park. At one point protesters stretched from 46th avenue down to 38th. Different protests across the state and country have taken different tones in regards to police involvement in marches; Isom said they welcomed members of the Denver Police Department who agreed to join them. Approximately a dozen officers were present, some walking with protesters, some blocking traffic when protesters reached intersections.
Sandy Thompson, Gabi Isom’s mother, joined her at the march. “I’m so proud of our community and our kids,” said Thompson, noting she was grateful for everyone who came and to live in a diverse neighborhood.
Councilwoman Amanda Sandoval and DPS School Board Member Brad Laurvick both participated and praised students for organizing the march.
“It’s really important to allow our youth to have a voice in a safe environment,” said Sandoval. “For us to gather peacefully with police and community moves us forward.”
Speaking at a community meeting several days later, Sandoval said she did receive several complaints from recently reopened businesses on Tennyson St. She worked to move a subsequent march to a neighboring street instead.
“I am grateful for the awareness and intention our students brought to a community need,” said Laurvick. “The space they created for community of all ages to not only march in solidarity, but also to hear the names of black lives memorialized, to hear their names is essential.”
Isom hopes she and her classmates can support people of color in the community. “I’m white and I have privilege,” said Isom. “It makes me sick seeing how blacks are treated,” referring not just to the video of George Floyd but the systemic racial problems across the country.
Kathy Senft lives a few doors down from Isom’s family and said it was positive to see so many young people participating. “If they’re involved, the world will keep evolving,” she said looking at a group of students nearby.
See more photos from the march below: