‘We just want to be looked at as equals’: Pueblo’s NAACP calls for change

Following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Pueblo’s local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is taking action to address the relationship between law enforcement and people of color in Pueblo.

“We want people to understand the need for change,” said Roxana Mack, president of Pueblo NAACP unit 4005. “It is a global issue of racism and race relations. We just need to come together and recognize that. Once we recognize that as a society, as a government, then we can start addressing the issue and making the change necessary.”

A conversation between members of the NAACP, local organizations, community members, Pueblo Police Chief Troy Davenport, Sheriff Kirk Taylor, and District Attorney Jeff Chostner is slated for Thursday, June 18th at 1:00 p.m. The NAACP is working to get the conversation broadcast on Government Access Channel 17.

“We do feel that we have a good relationship with our law enforcement here but we’re not naive enough to know it’s not perfect,” Mack said. “But we believe that we have the relationship that we can communicate and it will be a respectful interaction on both sides to affect change that we need in the community.”

“We are going to talk about policing and how it is different in different neighborhoods and how we can address that…,” Mack said. “Let them know that we just want to be looked at as equals… not at the color of our skin. We have an issue with having to teach our young boys and now even our young girls how to respond or act.”

The following day, the NAACP plans to hold a Justice Rally at the Dennis Maes Judicial Building. The rally falls on the date of Juneteenth, a holiday commemorating the reading of the Emancipation Proclamation in Texas; the final state to announce the proclamation on June 19, 1865.

The rally will be an “upbeat” event with music, giveaways, and voter registration, Mack said. The NAACP will also be taking membership at the rally and are looking to include various community organizations. Mack said the NAACP would especially like to get into contact with young organizers of previous protests in Pueblo.

“They are very energized and we support and stand in solidarity with them,” Mack said. “We understand that change in America has always come from the young people but we older ones would like to be a part of that change. We want them to know that we back them, we support them and we can do it together.”

Those with questions about the developing details concerning the NAACP two upcoming events can email Mack at PresidentMack@pueblonaacp.net or call 719-582-3132.
As a branch of the nation’s oldest civil rights organization, the NAACP’s Pueblo chapter has fought for racial equality in the area since 1918. The organization is currently holding their meetings through Zoom on the second Saturday of each month at noon. Mack said the NAACP welcomes members from all backgrounds.

“It is not a black-white issue,” Mack said. “It’s a justice issue. It’s a race issue. It’s a right and wrong issue. We welcome anybody who is moved towards that movement.”