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Celebrating Denver Communities Endangered by I-70 Expansion Plan

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The Stompin' Ground Games danced into the Swansea community center on Saturday, March 19, celebrating the conjoined neighborhoods of Globeville and Elyria-Swansea.

Warm Cookies of the Revolution, the city's "civic health club," has been holding these events in different neighborhoods each month.

January's program in Capitol Hill, for example, used comedy to discuss homelessness, immigration and queer history

Though the Stompin' Ground Games often tackle tough issues, the north Denver edition was particularly heated, according to founder Evan Weissman, because it took place within view of the I-70 viaduct that's the subject of a lawsuit recently filed by the Sierra Club and local activists.

The initial focus for these Games had been on food — these neighborhoods exist in a food desert — and tables were loaded with fresh tamales, papusas and other homemade items.

A cooking contest celebrated the neighborhood ladies who fed the room.

But the real food for thought focused on the plan to replace the I-70 viaduct that runs through the area.

The program began with traditional Matachines dances and then moved into more contemporary artistic expression, including songs and speeches by students.

Performances by local poets Ralph Lazo and Molina Speaks offered messages of heritage and community that are becoming more urgent in these neighborhoods.

"To fight is to win," said Lazo, co-founder of the Cross Community Coalition.

"Re-established" by Candi CdeBaca, is the group Elyria-Swansea locals have incorporated to represent themselves in court against the I-70 viaduct replacement project; it's joining with the Sierra Club.

The message was clear: This vibrant neighborhood needs to be saved.

"We're all just tiny drops of water," said Lazo, "but I look out across my neighborhood and my city and I see an ocean. And an ocean cannot be moved, an ocean cannot be cut, and an ocean cannot be washed away."

With the filing of the lawsuit, there's a feeling in the neighborhood that the fight is finally heating up.

And Warm Cookies helped provide more fuel this weekend.

Continue for more photos from the Stompin' Ground Games.

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