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Local advocate leads efforts to support racial justice and intercultural understanding

Alex Hager
Aspen Public Radio
Sájari Simmons speaks to a crowd gathered at Wagner Park in Aspen during anti-racism protests in June 2020. Simmons now leads racial justice classes and workshops in the Roaring Fork Valley.

Sájari Simmons is a local entrepreneur and activist. In the summer of 2020, she founded the advocacy group Roaring Fork Show Up. The group led marches in response to systemic racism in our community and across the country.

“Holding a sense of power but almost being irresponsible in not understanding that one has that power is one place where the Roaring Fork Valley could use more help when it comes to racial equity or justice,” she said.

Simmons has been leading book and film discussions, as well as workshops on intercultural development for individuals and organizations, and this month she is launching a new racial justice course.

The online class digs into a history of racism that led to movements such as Black Lives Matter. The class is also designed to help participants learn how to stand up for racial justice in their own lives.

“Over my protest time and engaging with the community, I get the same recurring questions: ‘Now that I know what’s going on, what can I do?’,” she said.

She recently led an intercultural development workshop on diversity, equity and inclusion for news outlets and media groups in the Roaring Fork Valley, including Aspen Public Radio.

“In the same way a news or media outlet has the power to silence, they also have the power to lend voice,” Simmons said.

Aspen Public Radio spoke with Simmons about the racial justice work that she is doing and how the community is responding.

Listen to the conversation above.

Eleanor is an award-winning journalist and Morning Edition anchor. Eleanor has reported on a wide range of topics in her community, including the impacts of federal immigration policies on local DACA recipients, the Valley’s COVID-19 eviction and housing crisis, and hungry goats fighting climate change across the West through targeted grazing. Connecting with people from all walks of life and creating empathic spaces for them to tell their stories fuels her work.
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