Nearly fifty years ago hundreds of residents were displaced from Denver’s close-knit and heavily Latino/a Chicano/a Auraria Neighborhood to make way for a center for higher education. In the wake of this decision a young non-profit, Historic Denver, worked to save one block of the 19th century homes, now the 9th Street Historic Park. This panel discussion will revisit that preservation win, raising questions about what stories have been told over time, and what could have been done differently to reflect the diverse layers of history, preserve intangible heritage, and foster community. Discussions will also include ways in which partners are re-engaging with the historic structures and the displaced community today.
Annie Levinsky, Historic Denver
Gregorio Alcaro, Casa Mayan
Councilwoman Jamie Torres
Nolbert Chavez, University of Colorado, Board of Regents
Annie Robb Levinsky is the Executive Director of Historic Denver, Inc., a position she has held since 2009. Through her work at Historic Denver Annie seeks to inspire ideas and actions that support Denver’s historic fabric and contribute to a vibrant and dynamic community with a unique identity. During her time with Historic Denver Annie created the award-winning Denver Story Trek program, launched Historic Denver’s Action Fund, and expanded the organization’s capacity to work with underrepresented communities. She is responsible for the organization’s advocacy agenda and has worked extensively on issues such as Loretto Heights and La Alma Lincoln Park. After attending three Denver Public Schools, Annie graduated summa cum laude from Colorado College with a degree in history and has subsequently studied urban planning.
Gregorio Ramon Alcaro is a Denver Native and Displaced Aurarian, whose family roots are in Denver’s Westside since 1918. He is a preservationist and urban designer. Through the grassroots organization “Auraria & Casa Mayan Heritage”, he works to research, develop programs; exhibits, and tours related to the 200 year history of Auraria. He has a master’s degree in Urban Design & Landscape Architecture from the University of Colorado at Denver, focusing on Architectural Programing & Site Analysis.
Councilwoman Jamie Torres took office as the Denver City Council Member representing District 3, Denver’s westside, on July 15, 2019. She was elected to the leadership role of Pro Tem of the Denver City Council in 2019 and is a member of the Land Use, Transportation & Infrastructure Committee as well as the Safety, Education, Housing & Homelessness Committee where she is also Vice-Chair. Jamie’s roots are directly in the west Denver community where she and her husband currently call home. She is a third generation Denverite, her grandmother was born in a small house in the Curtis Park neighborhood and grew up in the old Auraria Neighborhood and her grandfather grew up in Sun Valley. Her family moved to Villa Park in the 1960s where Jamie has now lived for over 30 years. It is her home and the community is her inspiration.Jamie is a community advocate and community connector to her core. Prior to being elected, Jamie spent 18 years in the Human Rights & Community Partnerships Agency (HRCP) in the City and County of Denver where she helped ensure Denver is focused on the civil rights, human rights, and social justice needs of its residents. Jamie was both Deputy Director of the Agency and Director of the Denver Office of Immigrant & Refugee Affairs, an office she started in 2005 because she saw a need for greater immigrant inclusion. Over the years in working for local government, Jamie worked directly on issues of poverty, equity, food insecurity, community and civic engagement, immigrant integration, and approaching innovative ways of direct leadership development in underrepresented communities.
Nolbert Chavez served four terms in the Colorado House of Representatives, from 1995 to 2002. After being term-limited from the state legislature, he founded a government affairs and strategic planning consulting firm, serving nonprofit, governmental and higher education clients. He has taught and lectured on political advocacy, and is considered a state budget expert. For the past five years, Chavez has served as an administrator at CU Denver and serves on numerous community boards. Chavez is an alumnus of CU Denver with a Master in Political Science and Public Policy. Chavez lives in Lakewood with his wife, former Denver City Councilwoman Judy Montero, and a small collection of bonsai trees. They are parents of a junior at CU Denver. In his spare time, Chavez enjoys restoring and riding a 1977 Harley Davidson motorcycle that has been in his wife’s family for 40 years.