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Denver invites residents to join a preservation initiative to protect and celebrate Latino/Chicano history

Shared by our partners in Community Planning and Development (CPD).

DENVER – Denver Community Planning and Development (CPD) is announcing ways for the public to participate in a first-of-its-kind initiative in Denver to uncover and share the rich history of Denver’s Chicano and Latino communities. Led by Denver’s Landmark Preservation staff in partnership with the city’s I Am Denver Storytelling Project, and the Mayor’s Office of Social Equity and Innovation, this initiative will help create Denver’s first historic context that focuses on a specific ethnic, racial, or cultural group.

“Growing up in Denver, it was important that I could identify with parts of the city that held meaning for me or that expanded my understanding of who Denver is,” said Laura E. Aldrete, executive director of Community Planning and Development. “Projects like this are how we honor the rich diversity of Denver and bring that legacy into the present, starting with the people and places that make it so unique.”

“I couldn’t be prouder to work on this groundbreaking project to not only recognize the history and contributions of Denver’s Chicano and Latino communities but to preserve them,” said Rowena Alegría, Chief Storyteller of Denver. “Our stories matter, as do those of other marginalized communities. The time is right to bring the power of story – our oral histories – to bear on policies that will help protect the legacy of our communities for future generations.”

The city respects that within the Chicano and Latino communities exists a multidimensional and multifaceted layer of diversity, including deeply rooted connections to Indigenous/First Nations and African cultures. This effort and others across the city acknowledge the role that economic exclusion and systemic racism has played in excluding Chicano, Afro-Latino and Indigenous/First Nations communities, along with other marginalized communities. This first Latino/Chicano Historic Context makes visible the rich history of our Chicano, Afro-Latino and Indigenous/First Nations communities and honors their contributions. Landmark Preservation also intends to develop future historic contexts that focus on other underrepresented communities like Denver’s African American, Indigenous, and Asian American communities.

Ways to participate:

Virtual Kick-Off Meeting

Join a community kick-off meeting on Saturday, April 10 at 11 AM via Zoom or phone. During this meeting, an in-depth overview of the project, ways to participate, and a question and answer session will be provided. Spanish interpretation will also be provided.

Join the meeting

Survey

This survey will gather the stories and histories of Denver’s Chicano and Latino communities to inform the historic context. It is designed for those who self-identify as members of the various ethnic communities associated with Denver’s Latino/Chicano heritage, however, anyone who has valuable information to share about this important history is welcomed to participate.

Take the survey

I Am Denver Mini-Documentary

I Am Denver, the communitywide multimedia project that documents the city’s history, culture, and vision by fostering conversations and celebrating residents, will both collect oral histories and empower Latino and Chicano residents to record their own stories of family and community in video. I Am Denver will also produce a mini-documentary film of the city’s Chicano and Latino communities.

Through engaging public outreach and traditional historic research, this project will create a broad overview on the citywide settlement and development patterns of Latino and Chicano communities in Denver up to the 1990s. The project will identify significant locations and buildings connected to our Chicano and Latino communities in order to preserve and protect those spaces. The project will also help Denver build a more inclusive list of designated landmarks and historic districts and inform the citywide building survey Discover Denver.

Funding for this project comes from: Community Planning and Development, the offices of councilmembers Jamie Torres and Amanda Sandoval, History Colorado’s State Historical Fund, and the Peter Grant Preservation Services Fund for Colorado of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Learn more about this project and ways to participate by visiting www.denvergov.org/landmark