Images courtesy Micah Smith/Denver7 News Anchor

The vandalism of the Martin Luther King Jr. Monument in Denver’s City Park is a heinous affront to our community and the legacies of those who struggled for the civil rights of Black, Brown and Indigenous communities. The desecration of this statue — during Black History Month, nonetheless — highlights the importance of the critical work still necessary to protect and advance human rights for all.

“The violation of this monument, designed by a Black artist to commemorate a Black luminary, is outrageous and must be condemned in the strongest terms possible,” said Deborah Richardson, ACLU of Colorado Executive Director. “I grew up in the Collier Heights neighborhood of Atlanta surrounded by Black civil rights leaders, including Dr. King’s family. This act is particularly distressing to me, as well as the memory and legacy of my loved ones and the community that raised me.”

"We condemn in the strongest terms the desecration of the Martin Luther King Jr. Monument. This terrible crime sends a message to communities of color that they are not welcome," said Scott Levin, ADL Mountain States Regional Director. "I want to make it clear that all people, including those from Black, Brown, Indigenous and other targeted communities are welcome in Colorado. All of us are entitled to feel safe, secure and welcomed in a state where there should be no place for hate."

The First Amendment does not protect acts of vandalism. We look to see that authorities and law enforcement honor the rights of due process in the investigation of this crime.