'Channel This Moment Into A Transformational Opportunity:' Stephany Rose Spaulding On Protests

Jun 9, 2020

Protesters across the country have gathered to denounce police brutality and demand action from their representatives. In Colorado Springs, protesters remember George Floyd, but also invoke the names of De'Von Bailey, Breonna Taylor, Nina Pop, Tony McDade and others. 

Stephany Rose Spaulding is the senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church and an associate professor of Women's and Ethnic Studies at University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. She has spoken out at protests since they started in the city. She spoke with KRCC’s Elena Rivera about media coverage of Bailey's death, its impact on protests in Colorado Springs and what keeps her hopeful.

Highlights from the interview:

Is this the largest scale of protests you've witnessed in the community?

Last year's protests around the death of De'Von Bailey were probably, before now, the largest outrage. I think because of the death of De'Von Bailey more people are protesting the death of George Floyd because they remember what happened here in relationship to police violence. It's very fresh in their memories.

"The energy and passion of these young people is so inspiring when I think about what our possibilities can be in the midst of this pain."

How do you feel media here covered the De'Von Bailey case?

There was some coverage but until we started getting some national attention, it did not get the same weight that again, the murder of George Floyd has gotten. It did spark a conversation with more white community members than some previous incidences here.

However, much of the same racialized tones, all of the classic things that we see when a young black person is killed at the hands of police, all of that took place in the coverage.

What's it been like to be protesting and see the Colorado Springs community come out in the past week?

It's been absolutely amazing. It is not the same usual suspects. It is a more diverse representation. It's a younger representation. I was downtown and people are there with their daughters, with their high school students with even younger [people].

"While I am extremely weary about the racial violence and trauma that I continue to see and experience, if we can channel this moment into a transformational opportunity, then I will do this all day."

The questions that they are asking, the perspective that they are bringing to the conversation [and] to the community is what excites and comforts me. In some ways, the energy and passion of these young people is so inspiring when I think about what our possibilities can be in the midst of this pain.

What's been keeping you energized? What gives you hope as you're moving through this moment?

The desire for transformational change has given me hope. As an African-American woman, I have seen this moment, this pain, this anger before. However, the images of young white people taking up this cause is hopeful.

While I am extremely weary about the racial violence and trauma that I continue to see and experience, if we can channel this moment into a transformational opportunity, then I will do this all day.