Community for Unity emerges from Denver Trump protests to promote message of love

“I feel like this is the first time that every single minority group … has felt hurt at the same exact time,” said Dezy St. Nolde, who goes by Phoenix.

Phoenix addresses hundreds gathered in Civic Center Park to support Community for Unity after Thursday's march. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)
Sylas Fox, 15, overlooks Civic Center Park to support Community for Unity after Thursday's march. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)
Sylas Fox, 15, overlooks Civic Center Park to support Community for Unity after Thursday’s march. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)

The organizer responsible for Thursday night’s Trump protest march re-emerged Sunday in Civic Center Park to spread a message of love and to kickoff what she hopes will be an international movement.

Dezy St. Nolde, who also goes by Phoenix, founded “Community for Unity” after Thursday’s call to action elicited a response from thousands of Coloradans, disgruntled by the results of Tuesday’s election.

Although Thursday’s march got a little out of hand, with a splinter group of marchers proceeding to block parts of I-25, St. Nolde appeared at Civic Center Park Sunday to promote a message of peace.

The movement is not meant to oppose President-elect Donald Trump. Rather it means to promote universal acceptance and renounce both leaders running in the November election as leaders that she said did not accurately represent the needs of the American people.

“I just felt extremely defeated Tuesday night,” St. Nolde said. “I felt this fear that I knew that so many people across the nation were feeling also, and I was afraid that fear would turn into hate and there would be some type of riot. I wanted to right off the bat start something peaceful.”

Phoenix addresses hundreds gathered in Civic Center Park to support Community for Unity after Thursday's march. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)
Phoenix addresses hundreds gathered in Civic Center Park to support Community for Unity after Thursday’s march. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)

Even St. Nolde did not expect the reach her call would have. She moved to Denver from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a few months ago and said at the time of her announcement, only had five friends on Facebook who were local to Denver. Out of fear of public speaking, she said she had considered canceling the event once she saw how many people had RSVPd.

Sunday’s event was considerably smaller — a few hundred people rendezvoused at Civic Center Park, bearing signs that read, “Love trumps hate,” and “When they go low, we go Mile High,” among others. 

Rebecca Carpenter, 33, hugs a stranger in Civic Center Park to support Community for Unity after Thursday's march. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)
Rebecca Carpenter, 33, hugs a stranger in Civic Center Park to support Community for Unity after Thursday’s march. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)

“People were saying, ‘Black lives matter,’ ‘Si se puede,’ men were saying, ‘Her body, her choice,’ women were saying, ‘My body, my choice,’ people were saying ‘Trans lives matter,’” she said of Thursday evening’s march. “We were just completely covering the spectrum, and people felt that they didn’t just matter to their crowd of people, but to all people there.”

Kirk James, 29, one Community for Unity member who joined St. Nolde on the Civic Center stage, said the movement would have started regardless of who won Tuesday night.

“Neither one of them would have done us much justice,” he said. “None of the politicians involved had America’s best interest in mind and at heart. Everybody ran on a platform that they were going to change, but how can you change something you don’t understand and how can you understand something you don’t love?”

Hundreds gathered in Civic Center Park to support Community for Unity after Thursday's march. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)
Hundreds gathered in Civic Center Park to support Community for Unity after Thursday’s march. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)
A sense of something new

“I feel like this is the first time that every single minority group, quote-unquote, has felt hurt at the same exact time,” St. Nolde said. “I think this is the first time they have so openly and vocally oppressed us. We should feel like we are controlling the power and that they are representing us.”

Many who gathered to support Community for Unity seemed to be on the same page.

Anahita Khosravi, 26, sat on a ledge at Civic Center next to her friends, Aisha Henry and Emerald Smith.

Anahita Khosravi, 26, Aisha Henry, 24, and Emerald Smith, 24 sit on a ledge in Civic Center Park to support Community for Unity after Thursday's march. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)
Anahita Khosravi, 26, Aisha Henry, 24, and Emerald Smith, 24 sit on a ledge in Civic Center Park to support Community for Unity after Thursday’s march. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)

“I think [the movement] needs to not be anti-Trump. That’s meeting hate with hate,” she said. “It needs to be peaceful and about coming together, recognizing peoples’ differences and making them feel safe and loved.”