“There are good people in the world.” How Wyoming’s Black 14 mended fences with LDS church and brought Thanksgiving dinners to Denver

“It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and put in his own garden. It grew, and became a large tree, and the birds of the sky lodged in its branches.”

— Luke 13: 18-19


Before last Tuesday, the bird had never heard of the Black 14. Christina Day knew the chapel on Quari Court like the back of her wing, though, having first approached the Salvation Army of Aurora ages ago in search of day care for her oldest son.

“And they said, ‘Sure, you can bring him over here, free of charge,’” Day recalled. “And at the same time, they asked me if I’d needed food for Thanksgiving. I said, ‘Well, we could use help.’ So they gave me this huge box. It had everything you needed for Thanksgiving. Everything.”

They could use a little help again. Day’s worn many hats at Sam’s No. 3. Server. Bartender. Host. But she can’t keep the building open for sit-down customers. She can’t make COVID-19 magically go away.

“(Sam’s) is great, but with the pandemic, it did close down,” Day said. “We were closed for about three months. We did takeout, but …”

Not the same. Not even close.

“I mean, it cut my money in half. It cut my income in half. And even being back to work, our money’s still half. And our whole situation’s different.”

As the holidays approach, we’re bracing for the worst again. For those whose livelihoods depend on large gatherings — sports, entertainment, restaurants, retail — the darkness of March and April is creeping back with a vengeance as coronavirus numbers skyrocket across the Front Range. It’s like 2020 can’t walk away without one last shot to the kidney.

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Day’s a single mom, with a 15-year-old and an 11-year-old at home. She’s wrestled with alcoholism in the past. When life throws a punch, Christina knows better than most how to roll with the blow and get back on her feet.

“So just to see the community come together with all these gifts for those in the community who are in need,” Day said, “it really makes me feel good.”

Hyoung Chang, The Denver PostAURORA, CO – NOVEMBER 17 : The food donation is coordinated by John Griffin, one of 11 surviving members of the University of Wyoming’s Black 14, a group of 14 civil rights icons who were kicked off the football team in 1969 for wanting to protest the Mormon church’s ban on allowing Black men and women from joining their priesthood, at Salvation Army Emergency Services Center in Aurora Colorado on Tuesday. November 17, 2020. More than 50 years later, the Mormon church and the Black 14 have partnered up to distribute food to nearly a dozen under-served communities across the country. Griffin, now in his 70s, has resided in Denver for more than 20 years and coordinated the drop with Catholic Charities. (Photo by Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post)

Before last week, John Griffin had never heard of Christina Day. And yet he knows her story well. Too well.

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Source:: The Denver Post – Sports


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