Event to give commuters 70 miles of positivity
With all the talk of systemic racism in the country, Wes Campbell felt he had to do something.
“I’ve always been passionate about equality and the issues surrounding systemic racism. … I’ve seen the Black Lives Matter movement to be very strong and apparent in the valley, and I think it sparks great conversation. I just wanted to do something where I’m part of a movement,” he said.
So, Campbell, 38, organized a “demonstration of unity” for 7–9 a.m. Tuesday.
He has selected 45 spots on the commute from Rifle to Aspen where participants will hold signs saying things such as “Please listen” or “Don’t be silent.”
“Everybody who has reached out to me has been on board with the positive messages,” he said.
He isn’t going to approve messages for all 45 sign locations, however. That will ultimately be up to those who make them.
“If it goes a different way as far as someone putting a different sign or a different message then to each their own. I think that still sparks something in that person to convey their message, which even if it’s agreeable or disagreeable I feel like it still could be a platform for starting a conversation,” he said.
People can participate without holding a sign.
“We’re encouraging people who can’t stand at the designated locations to either write something on the windows in car paint — a positive message or just a simple #startwithme. … Hopefully, you’ll see cars with messages all the way from Rifle to Aspen,” said Campbell’s friend Jessica Fisher of Glenwood Springs.
The hashtag refers to changing oneself first.
“What if we say it starts with one person, it starts with me making a change to not be hateful, to not spread hate or racism,” she said.
For Campbell, doing no wrong is still not doing enough.
“I feel, being a white American, my excuse not to be involved can’t be because I personally am not racist, that’s not enough,” he said.
So he decided to do more.
“It’s strictly my own idea,” he said, borne in part from traveling to his job in Aspen.
“I’ve been commuting to Aspen from New Castle for seven years,” he said. “I watch thousands of people drive up and down the valley from all different parts of the country and the world.”
He sees that as a good opportunity to give people food for thought.
“On the commute there’s a lot of time to think. I want to spark some kind of thought or conversation with somebody that maybe they wouldn’t have had or wanted to have,” he said.
Campbell said the event is meant to be positive.
“It’s positive, nothing political, nothing negative. I want to spark hope,” he said.
Fisher, 39, likes that approach.
“I just love to be involved with things that I care about. Who wouldn’t want to promote happiness and positivity and show the world there are still people out there who care about one another and who love each other. I don’t even have to know you and I want to love and respect you,” she said.
So far Campbell estimates he has 60–70% of the spots claimed. Anyone interested in helping out can contact Campbell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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