Re-envisioning Denverʻs Historic Chinatown

The Colorado Asian Pacific United (CAPU) strives to enhance and enrich the Asian American and Pacific Islander experiences in Colorado, and is committed to advancing racial diversity, solidarity, and equity through community collaboration, celebration, and education.

Our first project is to educate people about the thriving historic Chinatown that used to be part of Lower Downtown Denver. The location has been forgotten today after suffering Denver’s first anti-Asian race riot in 1880. All that remains is an inaccurate plaque on a building at 20th & Blake across from Coors Field. Our goal is to revise this plaque in order to reclaim this history and properly honor and commemorate Denverʻs historic Chinatown. We also hope to re-activate the original Chinatown alleyway, as well as other historically significant locations in the area with various design elements such as murals, installations, and historic markers to further establish and solidify a strong Asian Pacific presence within a diverse Denver community. 

On August 8, 2021 we held an event at Zoe Ma Ma Union Station, where the original Chinese immigrants arrived in Denver to establish Chinatown several blocks away. We revealed the new text we would like to use on a new historical marker to commemorate the Chinatown of the past. We also featured a spectacular Lion Dance performance by Shaolin Hung Mei Kung Fu that paid tribute to members of two families whose ancestors lived and operated businesses in Historic Chinatown. Representatives of the Lung and Chin families also spoke at the event, which was covered by local and national media. Here are links to articles, video and podcast news stories:

From KCNC, Denver's CBS affiliate:
https://denver.cbslocal.com/2021/08/09/asian-american-awareness-denver-historic-chinatown

This is from KMGH, the local ABC affiliate:
https://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/local-news/group-unveils-proposed-text-for-denver-chinatown-historic-marker

KUSA is the NBC affiliate:
https://www.9news.com/article/news/community/envisioning-denvers-historic-chinatown-organization-hopes-starts-removing-offensive-plaque/73-9d778c70-be02-4e55-94dd-968fc2d17dbe
 
And here's a link to CityCast Denver's podcast report, which includes the proposed text from Dr. William Wei for a new historical marker:
https://player.fm/series/city-cast-denver/reclaiming-denvers-lost-chinatown

One of our committee members wrote this article by request for AsAmNews, a national news website about Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders:
https://asamnews.com/2021/08/09/remembering-the-history-of-denvers-lost-chinatown/

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Organizer

Colorado Asian Pacific United 
Organizer
Denver, CO