Rallying for justice

A crowd of about 13 people held a Black Lives Matter rally Saturday in Guffy. Despite a number of alleged threats, according to event organizer Louise Peterson, protesters moved ahead with a peaceful demonstration. (Photo by Flip Boettcher/The Flume)

On Saturday, June 20 from noon-1 p.m., a group of 13 people from Guffey staged a Black Lives Matter rally at the Guffey turnoff of Colorado Highway 9 onto Park County Road 102/59. The rally was also held in conjunction with the nationwide celebration of Juneteenth Day.

Louise Peterson, rally organizer, said people mostly had positive comments about the rally, but some also were angry and threatened violence,. Some of those threats included: “better not get in the road, I don’t stop for protesters” and “better not touch the wrong car and you’ll be drinking out of a straw for a week,” according to Peterson.

This led Peterson to call the Park County Sheriff for a deputy to attend the rally. Peterson had also asked Southern Park County Fire Protection District Fire Chief Eugene Farmer for a fire department presence at the rally.

The Colorado State Patrol called Peterson on Friday, June 19, saying that if a lot of people showed up and she did not have a permit and liability insurance, she could be liable if anything happened. The State Patrol also said that Peterson needed permission from CDOT and Park County Road and Bridge to stage a rally at the intersection. This was on a Friday when everything in the county is closed.

In spite of this, and having second thoughts about staging the rally, Peterson decided to go ahead with her plans and all went smoothly. The rally got lots of support from people driving by, with honking horns, waves and thumbs up. There were only a few negative responses, Peterson said.

“The demonstration restored my hope in humanity. The majority of people do support Black Lives Matter,” Peterson said.

Juneteenth originated in Texas and is now celebrated annually on the 19th of June throughout the United States, with varying official recognition. It is the emancipation day of the last remaining enslaved African Americans in the Confederacy.

It commemorates Union Army General Gordon Granger, announcing federal orders in Galveston, Texas, June 19, 1865, proclaiming that all slaves in Texas were free.

Juneteenth is also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Liberation Day and Emancipation Day, according to Wikipedia.

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