COLORADO SPRINGS — Dozens of people gathered at John Adams Elementary Saturday for "Shut it Down," a rally aimed at bringing awareness to systemic racism, oppression and education in Colorado Springs.
The rally was held near Adams Park were 19-year-old De’Von Bailey was shot and killed by Colorado Springs police. Demonstrators marched from there to Pikes Peak Elementary in a show of solidarity.
The group that organized the rally, Colorado Springs Oversight, said the main goal was to bring attention to the inequalities in education within the city.
"We really want to highlight how different education is across the districts and start having a conversation as a community about how we can equalize the differences between districts and ensuring that all of our students, all of our constituents, are getting access to a fair and equal education," said Jasmine Marchman, co-founder of Colorado Springs Oversight.
Colorado Springs Oversight said there is a huge economic gap among districts and it needs to be addressed to shut down systemic racism and oppression.
"I don't think a lot of people understand the huge economic gap, especially between District 20, 12 and 2. District 20 gets almost double the amount of money in property taxes over District 2," said Marchman.
Demonstrators said property taxes is the key driver of these unequal outcomes at the local level.
"If we are not serious about investing in all of our communities, particularly Black and brown communities, we will never make a dent in systemic racism," said Gabriel Pierre, demonstrator.
"I did not learn Black history and I had a good education. I think it's important to teach in schools. I think it can foster empathy among people who are not Black and people of color," said Mary Butt and Amanda Bodung, demonstrators.
Organizers say the point of the rally is to educate the community about these disparities while also ensuring everyone is registered to vote. They say it's a key factor in making change.
"Voter registration is certainly part of the puzzle here, we always want to get rate of voter participation up. We need to be able to bring mass and organized pressure to bear on our elected officials in order to get the progress we need," said Pierre.
Colorado Springs Oversight plans to hold a meeting for the community to learn more about the voting process. Anyone who's interested in joining the group can visit their website.