Get involved: A town hall meeting with local community advocates


click to enlarge GRIFFIN SWARTZELL

  • Griffin Swartzell

Protests against police brutality and racism are well into their third week in the United States and there has been no loss of momentum in the movement so far. Demonstrations have been held in all 50 states and have spread out into, at last count, 18 other countries including France, Australia, Japan, Jamaica and South Korea.

With a movement so vast, it can be a daunting task for individuals who want to participate to find their role in helping to make a difference. On Thursday, June 18, local hip-hop station 96.1 The Beat is hosting a 30-minute live online town hall meeting to help listeners learn ways that they can be a voice for change right here in Colorado Springs.

The station, whose social media banners declare “we are in this together,” has been a vocal supporter of the movement from the very beginning, with on-air personalities Cheeba and B participating in the ongoing protest downtown, showcasing black-owned businesses during their afternoon show and hosting events like this week’s town hall.

The town hall will include three community advocates: Stephany Rose Spaulding, Ashley Cornelius and Rachel Stovall, talking about the need for the Colorado Springs community to be a “voice of change.” The statement on the event Facebook page reads, “96.1 The Beat stands with the black community, but we understand that simply standing is not enough. We must speak up.” Each of the guests have a strong background in speaking up and in helping others find their own voice.

Spaulding is an associate professor at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and the director of the university’s Women’s and Ethnic Studies program. She serves as a senior pastor at her church and is a vocal activist and speaker in the community. She has run for both Congress and the Senate.

Cornelius is a poet and the co-director of Poetry719, a Black-run poetry organization that began as a Facebook group in 2009 and shifted to an event-based organization in 2017. Before the pandemic, the organization held multiple themed events centered on identity and diversity. Lately, they have been hosting online events via platforms such as Facebook.

Stovall has had a long career focused on community-building and fund-raising. She currently pens a weekly column on social issues that impact Colorado Springs, and is part of local entertainment group Phat Horn Doctors.

Listeners are invited to leave questions and messages for the town hall at 719-581-2328. It is not guaranteed that all questions or messages will be answered during the 30-minute session.

June 18, 5-5:30 p.m.,