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A coalition of bi-partisan Black leaders in Denver stands together to condemn anti-Blackness in the 2023 municipal elections.

A coalition of bi-partisan Black leaders in Denver stands together to condemn anti-Blackness in the 2023 municipal elections.


Demanding candidates and media outlets act with integrity and respect towards all community members. Full statement attached.

“As a bi-partisan coalition of Black elected officials, community leaders, and organizations, we stand together to condemn the blatant anti-Blackness that has been pervasive in the 2023 municipal elections in Denver. Including white candidates, independent expenditure committees, and local affiliates of national public broadcast networks. We have witnessed the following behavior that is concerning and must be called out:

  • The media’s portrayal of Black candidates in this election season has been unbalanced, unfair, and harmful. More specifically, Black women have been scrutinized for their appearance, tone, and demeanor, while their accomplishments and leadership are overlooked and minimized. This harmful stereotype is used to discredit and invalidate their vast experiences, unique perspectives, and human emotions, particularly when they speak out against injustice.
  • We have seen propaganda that promotes segregationist messaging and seeks to dehumanize the Black vote. This type of messaging is reminiscent of the Jim Crow South, where racist policies and practices were used to disenfranchise and marginalize Black people. We find this type of behavior to be unacceptable and demand that all candidates disavow and cease such tactics.
  • We have seen commercials and ads that intentionally perpetuate harmful and racist stereotypes of people of color, particularly Black people, portrayed as criminals and undesirables. This perpetuation of negative imagery is not only inaccurate but also perpetuates a dangerous and dehumanizing narrative about our community. While we are grateful this has been called out, we are also concerned that these ads continue to be broadcast across the city and county of Denver.
  • Black candidates have also been excluded from forums and debates, preventing them from fully participating in the democratic process. This exclusion is a form of voter suppression and is unacceptable in a free and fair election. We must ensure that all voices are heard and represented in the electoral process.

We must recognize that these actions are not isolated incidents but are part of a long history of systemic racism and oppression against Black people in the United States. The legacy of Jim Crow laws and policies is still felt today in our communities, and we must work to dismantle the systemic racism and oppression that still exists.

We demand that all candidates, media outlets, and individuals involved in the electoral process act with integrity, respect, and dignity towards all members of our community and that they commit to addressing and dismantling systemic racism and oppression in our society. We must come together to create a future where anti-Blackness is no longer tolerated or accepted.

In conclusion, we will not stand idly by and watch as our community is subjected to such hateful and discriminatory treatment. We call on all Denverites to cease and desist from engaging in such behavior and instead focus on meaningful and constructive policy discussions that benefit all members of the community.

We also call on media outlets to act responsibly and ethically and to refrain from perpetuating harmful racial stereotypes. We demand that all candidates and media outlets commit to promoting an inclusive and diverse democracy that works towards the betterment of all members of our community.

We urge all voters to join us in standing against anti-Blackness. It is time for us to come together as a community and work towards a future where we can all live in a just and equitable society, free from the harmful effects of systemic racism and oppression.

We are committed to continuing the fight against anti-Blackness and to working towards a better future for all members of our community. We will not rest until justice and equity is achieved for all.

In Solidarity,

Wanda James, University of Colorado Regent, District 1

James Coleman, Colorado State Senator

Jennifer Bacon, Colorado State Representative

Naquetta Ricks, Colorado State Representative

Regina English, Colorado State Representative, and Harrison School District Two Board Member

Auon’tai Anderson, President – Colorado Black Caucus of School Board Directors

Corey Williams, President – Harrison School District Two

Will Jones, Vice President – Mesa County School District 51

Stephanie Mason, Vice President – Aurora Public Schools

JJ Frazier, Vice President – Harrison School District Two

Janice McDonald, Vice President – Cherry Creek School District

Michelle Quattlebaum, Denver School Board Director District 4

Michael Carter, Aurora School Board Director

Darlene Derbigny, East Otero School Board Director

brother jeff – Founder/Director brother jeff’s Cultural Center

MiDian Z. Holmes – Owner/Founder, 8PM Consulting for Humanity

Hashim Coates, Interim Chair – African Diaspora Initiative of the Colorado Democratic Party

Sondra Young, President – NAACP Denver

Shenika Carter, President & CEO – Urban League of Metro Denver

Ashlee Wedgeworth – President- Urban League Young Professionals of Metro Denver

Candice Bailey – Colorado State Commissioner and Founder/Executive Director Light Carrier

Bianka Emerson, President – Colorado Black Women for Political Action

Khadija Haynes – CEO, K-Solutions

Vernon Jones Jr.Faithbridge

Gene Fashaw, Educator


Photo caption: Screenshot of Denver Decides Mayoral Forum, Denver 7ABC, February 2023

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