Colorado Progressive organizations speak out against Grand Junction billboard

One Colorado, Mi Familia Vota, and Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition Decry Billboard’s Racist & Homophobic Message

Three Colorado progressive organizations have denounced a billboard in Grand Junction for its dangerous depiction of stereotypes and its racist and homophobic message.

The billboard, which was taken down today after the anonymous individual behind it received threats of violence, depicted four versions of President Obama—one as a gay man, one as a terrorist, one as a Mexican immigrant, and one as a mobster. The “Obamas” on the board were playing cards together, gambling with the Declaration of Independence, justice, and other sacred American ideals.

In response to the billboard, Brad Clark, Executive Director of One Colorado, a statewide organization dedicated to securing and protecting equality and opportunity for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Coloradans and their families, said:

“While we do not condone threats of violence of any kind against anyone, we are pleased that the billboard has come down. The type of rhetoric it articulated has real consequences. With national attention focused on the devastating impact of bullying and harassment in our schools, adults should be setting the example, not fueling the fire. Hateful, irresponsible messages like these only serve to perpetuate stereotypes and harassment against our friends and neighbors. They do not unite a community.”

Julien Ross, Executive Director of the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, added:

“The xenophobia and hate that was represented in this billboard is no laughing matter. We know that the Western Slope is a hospitable and welcoming region, and that such hateful rhetoric is not representative of the majority of the population. Local initiatives like Welcoming Colorado (www.welcomingcolorado.org) have been having positive conversations about the future of Colorado as a State that welcomes all people and treats all neighbors with respect and decency. We know that the voices of bigotry and hate will not carry the day, no matter how many ridiculous billboards they put up.”

Jessie Ulibarri, state director for Mi Familia Vota Education Fund, also responded, saying:

“Spewing hate behind a veil of secrecy and money allows discrimination and violence against immigrants and LGBT people to fester. Coloradans are tired of divisive politics, and we need to focus on the real issues facing our state, rather than creating false scapegoats for the ills of the world.”