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American Indian Movement of Colorado

Spirituality • Self-determination • Solidarity • Sobriety
Colorado AIM home page

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Transform Columbus Day Statement

Issued by TCD on 1/20/05

HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS VINDICATED
Activists Who Stood Against Columbus Day “Parade” Acquitted

In the same week that Denver celebrated the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther
King, Jr., the city today witnessed a major victory for human rights and
civil liberties in the tradition of Dr. King. After two days of eloquent
testimony, a jury has acquitted eight defenders of human rights of charges
brought against them by the city for their principled opposition to the
“celebration” of Christopher Columbus on October 9, 2004, a “celebration”
that as testimony established, was in reality a form of hate speech and
ethnic intimidation, an incitement to racism and a symbol of ongoing
genocide against American Indians.

“Today, the people of Denver have spoken, that justice and historical truth
will prevail, and that the days when genocide is sanctioned by the state and
celebrated are over” said Glenn Morris, one of the eight defenders who were
acquitted and a member of the leadership council of Colorado AIM.

As Dr. King and others in the civil rights movement stood against racism and
legalized segregation, last October 239 brave individuals stood against a
so-called parade that represented 500 years of genocide, slavery and racism.
Eight of them, Chicano, Latino, Native American, Japanese American, Italian
American and African American, took part in a consolidated trial during
which they had the opportunity to explain to a jury why they were not only
morally but legally obligated, under U.S. and international law, to do all
they could to stop an event that is no less an affront to basic human
values, and Constitutional guarantees of equal rights, than the Jim Crow
regime Dr. King fought against.

The not guilty verdict by a six-member jury represents a vindication of the
actions of all those 239 people, and a firm rejection of the city’s
sanctioning of the hate speech represented by that “parade.” With this great
victory, the members of the Transform Columbus Day Alliance are more
determined than ever to end the “celebration” of genocide and racisms in
this state, and to transform the Columbus Day holiday into a day of respect
for all Colorado’s diverse cultures.

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