Before it became the bustling hub of higher education in central Denver, the Auraria campus was a neighborhood of modest houses and small businesses. It all abruptly vanished in the early 1970s, after a bitter political and legal battle that uprooted hundred of residents -- and left behind a trail of broken promises made to the displaced, mostly Hispanic community. That legacy was the subject of last year's feature "The Ghosts of Auraria
," and now a long overdue discussion -- what's being billed as the first public forum on "displaced Aurarians" in forty years -- will take place on the campus tomorrow.See also: ">The Ghosts of Auraria
Sponsored by various entities at the University of Colorado Denver and Metropolitan State University of Denver, the event offers a melange of activist and academic voices reflecting on the area's past, its current frenzy of development, and the lessons to be learned from the story of how an economically disadvantaged but thriving neighborhood became a target for the heavy hand of urban renewal.
Things kick off tomorrow at 11 a.m. at the St. Cajetan Event Center with a fifteen-minute performance of Blight!, a UCD student play, followed by panel discussions.
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Panelists include Gregorio Alcaro, an urban planner and historian whose grandparents operated the Casa Mayan restaurant in what is now Ninth Street Park until the creation of the campus; Virginia Castro, a co-founder of Denver's Westside Coalition and wife of the late lawmaker Richard Castro; MSUD professor Vincent C de Baca; and UCD political science chair Tony Robinson. The event is open to the public and admission is free.