Denver Mayor Michael Hancock canceled his planned welcoming address at the Task Force’s annual Creating Change conference last night after a large group of transgender advocates stormed the stage in protest of the recent killing of a Latina teen by Denver police. Michelle Garcia reports at the Advocate:
Task Force deputy executive director Russell Roybal and Creating Change director Sue Hyde welcomed thousands of attendees at this year’s conference in Denver Thursday evening, and both showed emotion as they remarked upon the death of queer Latina Jessie Hernandez. Last week, Hernandez was fatally shot by police fire in Denver in a car authorities report was stolen. After Hyde and Roybal introduced the evening’s emcee, comedian Kate Clinton, a group of trans activists and allies, led by Bamby Salcedo, stormed the stage with dozens of handmade signs as the chant “Jessie Presente!” filled the ballroom. Shortly after the demonstration, an activist told The Advocate that Creating Change organizers were not told about the action, in case the trans activists would not be allowed into the ballroom of the Sheraton in downtown Denver. Not only did Salcedo demand better accountability on the part of police and the criminal justice system, she also called for LGBTQ organizations to include transgender people on their boards and staffs as decision makers. “If you serve us, you need to include us,” Salcedo said to a crowd cheering and raising their fists in solidarity.
After the stage was cleared, Roybal announced that Hancock would not be making his speech. Learn more about the Hernandez shooting at this Feministing post. Follow Creating Change on Twitter at this hashtag.