DENVER (KDVR) – Latino Heritage Month started in the 1980s as a way to recognize the contributions Latinos and Chicanos have made to the United States.
Historians at History Colorado Center said they celebrate Latino heritage every day of the year,
”For us, Latino Heritage Month is just another day of the year. We are celebrating Latino stories,” said Julie Peterson, public historian and exhibit developer at History Colorado Center.
From mid-September to mid-October, History Colorado Center is showcasing Latinos that have made history here, like 1970s civil rights activist Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales.
”He founded the Crusade for Justice and he really fought for Chicano rights here in Denver,” Peterson said.
Another notable figure: former Denver Mayor Federico Peña.
“He went on to serve as Secretary of Transportation and Secretary of Energy. He’s actually the only Coloradan to actually serve two federal administrations,” Peterson said about Peña.
Right now, Latinos make up about 21% of Colorado’s population, and many have gained celebrity as artists, community activists and politicians.
“I think it’s really important to look at our history to understand what is happening in the past, both the good and the bad,” Peterson said.
The mission of any good museum is to collect and preserve history, not only to be able to look back but to see where we are headed.