¡Qué Viva la Raza! Honoring a Denver Legacy

In the last few decades, many Denver neighborhoods have been transformed and their essence has all but disappeared. Gentrification has caused population shifts and historic buildings have been razed in the name of development. To preserve that history, the City of Denver has embarked in an exploration of the diverse communities that have helped shape our city.
The Denver Office of Storytelling has partnered with Community Planning and Development (CPD) and the Mayor’s Office of Social Equity and Innovation to create the first historic context — a document used to guide preservation planning — focused on a specific ethnic, racial or cultural group.

This 32-minute documentary is an overview of the more than 150-year history of the Mexicano, Chicano, Latino peoples in Denver. Packed with historic images, the film documents, honors and preserves this proud history in the voices of the people.

“This historic context project is part of a larger series of projects undertaken by the City of Denver to create an understanding of a fuller history of the city itself,” said Colorado State Historian Nicki Gonzales. “The information that comes out of this context report will be used to inform preservation efforts and for a community like the Latino community whose stories had not often been recorded in more traditional narrative ways, this is essential.”

¡Qué Viva la Raza! Honoring a Denver Legacy highlights a variety of voices from the Latino community. Rosa Linda Aguirre tells the story of her restaurant Rosa Linda’s in the Northside — a beloved space many remember for its yearly Thanksgiving feast, which fed thousands of people for free. Founder and CEO of Tepeyac Community Health Center Jim Garcia recounts how members of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church stepped up to create the clinic and its evolution.
We also interviewed artist and activist Santiago Jaramillo, a third-generation Westwood resident, who told us about the importance of bringing art to his neighborhood. And we asked Federico Peña, Denver’s first Latino mayor, to describe what the city was like when he first arrived from Texas back in the 1970s.

The film also includes Colorado State Historian Nicki Gonzales, who acted as a consultant for the city’s first Chicano/Latino Historic Context, of which this film is companion, and historian and professor Tom Noel, who is also known as Dr. Colorado.

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