Wielding protest signs, cowbells and masks, a group of Highlands Ranch residents has been positioning themselves on busy street corners, asking residents to honk as they support the national Black Lives Matter movement.
“We want people in Highlands Ranch to know they’re not alone,” said organizer Kelly Mayr. “Both people of color and those who agree with Black Lives Matter.”
Mayr is a member of the Highlands Ranch chapter of Indivisible, a national progressive activist group with the goal of “resisting the GOP agenda, electing local champions and fighting for progressive policies,” according to its website.
Though the protest was not an official Indivisible event, it was initiated and largely attended by members, said group leader Kathleen Boyer. The event was also not officially sanctioned by the Black Lives Matter organization.
The group came out on multiple days following the Minneapolis death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man. Floyd died on May 25 after Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes. Chauvin has since been charged with second-degree murder. Three other officers who were present for the incident have also been charged.
On June 8, about 20 protesters gathered at the corner of Lucent Boulevard and Highlands Ranch Parkway. Normally, the evening protest has consisted of about 40 people, Mayr said.
“We’ve been really pleasantly surprised,” she said over the sound of horns honking. “It’s been really supportive.”
Many people driving by honk their horns and shout support, some clapping or giving a thumbs up. Once in a while, someone shouts a retort like “all lives matter” or shows the protesters their middle finger. Protesters have also reported hearing a few racist remarks from unsupportive passersby.
For Highlands Ranch resident Roger Lynn, the ratio of support to opposition is delightfully surprising, he said.
“For every one finger, we get about 20 horns honks. Ten years ago it would be the exact opposite,” he said.
As cars continued passing and honking in support June 8, a Douglas County Sheriff’s Office deputy alerted the protesters that nearby neighbors had complained about the noise.
“It won’t stop us,” said protester Amy Weeks, a Centennial resident. “If just one person of color goes by and hears all those honks, then it’s worth every moment.”
Park rangers and waste trucks were among those honking in support at the June 8 rally. Deputies passing by didn’t honk but waved at protesters.
“They always say Highlands Ranch is in a bubble so it’s nice that in the bubble, there’s support for this movement,” said protester Jodi Watson, a Highlands Ranch resident. “There’s such a small amount of negativity.”
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