Since George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis police officers one mouth ago, ski towns across North American have joined the worldwide protest of police brutality and racial injustice in the United States.
In support of the Black Lives Matter movement, organizers in Aspen, Jackson, Whitefish, Truckee, Ketchum, and more have led peaceful protests, marches, and demonstrations over the past several weeks.
Much like the demographics of skiing—where 72 percent of the 9.4 million skiers in the U.S. are white, according to the most recent data from 2017—many of these communities are also largely white.
To address this in Aspen, Jenelle Figgins and Sajari Simmons, leaders of four protests over eight days there, have since co-founded Roaring Fork Show Up to continue organizing events and racial justice education in the Roaring Fork Valley. In an email Simmons wrote to the Aspen Daily News, she explained the importance of continuing these efforts beyond the timely protests.
“Systematic racism is not simply an article about protests. It is not simply about George Floyd or one black life facing deadly police brutality. And it certainly isn’t about glorifying that white people are ‘helping.’ It is not simple.”
Simmons said numerous uncomfortable conversations need to occur in order to effect long-term change.
“These conversations should not diminish the voice of black people while claiming to amplify them. Reprogramming the belief system that encourages the oppression of black people is a necessary and vital step toward true social justice. If you have experienced white privilege, take accountability for your benefits that have fueled the oppression of black people.”