Expanding Scholarships for Descendants of Displaced Latin Families from Denver | community | USA Edition

Descendants of the thousands of Latino families in Denver who were forcibly displaced from their homes half a century ago to make way for the Auraria campus will now receive full scholarships to attend the same universities that caused the complete demolition of the Latin Quarter.

The new initiative, known as the Auraria Displaced Persons Scholarship Program (DASP), has been running for decades, although only now, half a century after the confiscation and demolition of 36 blocks of the Latin Quarter, benefit from scholarships extended to families who lived there From 1955 to 1973, it was announced Monday.

In this way, “all direct descendants” of the affected families “always eligible for undergraduate and postgraduate studies” at the three universities that now occupy the Auraria Postgraduate Center (AHEC), where the former lives. Hispanics.

These three colleges are University of Colorado Denver, Denver Metropolitan State University, and Denver Community College.

Although grants began in the mid-1990s, so far they have only partially covered university studies, have only gone to some displaced families, and have only included the children of confiscated property owners.

When Auraria was incorporated in 1848 (when the Mexican-American War ended), Auraria was an independent city south of the Platte River, rivaling Denver north of the river.

In fact, the founders of Auraria chose this name (linked to the word “gold” in Latin) because miners would come there looking for gold in the area and then gold and silver in the Rocky Mountains. At the time, the southern tip of Auraria was near what’s called Pozo de los Mexicanos, a gold mine (now defunct) that the Mexicans had run for centuries.

Beginning in 1920, as a result of the Mexican Revolution, Auraria, which at that time was already a neighborhood in Denver, became a Latin neighborhood. Then, a flood caused by the Platte River in 1965 caused severe damage to the neighborhood, which eventually led to the decision by local authorities to demolish it entirely.

But the decision was not communicated to residents until 1969, when an order was issued to demolish wooden or brick homes that could no longer be repaired. In 1972, this was expanded to 330 homes and 250 businesses in the neighborhood.

Demolition ended in 1976 (the year the AHEC opened) and only a few homes and the Church of San Cayetano, no longer a temple to become a community center, were brought down and now practically deserted.

“The life of the Spanish-speaking Auraria community revolves around that church. This was the place of the weekly meetings, the place of friends, the place to watch children grow,” historian Magdalena Gallegos said in a document published by the Denver Public Library.

According to official data, over the past 25 years, the University of Colorado in Denver has awarded scholarships to about 150 students from displaced families. For its part, Denver Community College has awarded scholarships to another 120 students, and Denver Metropolitan State University to some 270 students. Less than half of these scholarship recipients complete their studies.

Colin Walker, AHEC’s general manager, said in a statement that the expansion of the scholarship program “honors the sacrifices of Auraria residents and appreciates their contributions to the prosperity of public higher education in Denver.”

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