Denver to launch a preservation project

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Denver residents are encouraged to participate in a preservation initiative that will protect and celebrate the city's Latino/Chicano history.

The project is that of Denver Community Planning and Development, and is being 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.

The initiative will help create Denver's first historic context that focuses on a specific ethnic, racial or cultural group. “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,” states a news release.

“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 first Latino/Chicano Historic Context makes visible the rich history of our Chicano, Afro-Latino and Indigenous/First Nations communities and honors their contributions,” states a news release,” states the news release.

The result of the project will be “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,” states the news release.

“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.”

Information for the project will be collected by public outreach and traditional historic research. Learn more about this project and ways to participate by visiting www.denvergov.org/landmark.

How to participate

Virtual Kick-Off Meeting: A community kick-off meeting will take place at 11 a.m. April 10 via Zoom or phone. This meeting will cover an in-depth overview of the project. A question and answer session will be provided. Spanish interpretation will also be provided.

Survey: The “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 welcome to participate,” states a news release.

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,” states a news release.

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