La Gente: El Movimiento/The Movement

El Movimiento Sigue (the Movement Continues) in Colorado

Chicano, Hispano, Mexican, and Latino led organizations continued the tradition of organizing and seeking social, political, and education reform that began in the mid-1800s.  Throughout the state, numerous organizations, many youth led, demanded change to systemic racism, inequities, and access to their history in the classrooms. Frustrated with the government’s responses to poverty, discrimination, and police brutality, Chicano youth founded the Crusade for Justice in Denver in 1966.  Led by Corky Gonzales and others the organization sought to empower Mexican Americans, Chicanos, and Hispanos through education and activism in the city.

The Crusade organized conferences, published newspapers like other organizations to inform the community, as well as participated in rallies to support other causes and organizations across the state.

Brown Beret worn by Helen Giron-Mushfiq in early 1970s
March 17th demonstration at the Colorado State Capitol building

More than a thousand Chicanos came together for the first National Chicano Youth Liberation Conference in March 1969. They discussed politics, education, and art, debated the role of women in the movement, listened to Chicano poets and musicians, and produced theater. They returned home with a sense of unity and new energy. Organized by the Crusade for Justice, the conference strengthened the movement and spotlighted Denver.

In the words of Chicano activists, "Our fight lives on and will continue as future generations express ideas and struggle against injustice. Today’s challenges are formidable, and the future will be in the hands of those who dare to question, push back, and persevere against privilege and power—those who write, sing, dance, study, share, and stand strong. Let the world hear the grito of our ancestors, and Que Viva la Raza!"