Hispanic Heritage Month is a Time to Reflect on My Family’s Hardships and Triumphs

By Álvaro Sauceda Nuñez, Communications Professional

Hispanic Heritage Month is a reminder of the journey my parents made to help me get to where I am today. It’s about honoring their sacrifices, the beautiful customs they’ve passed down to me, and the memories we’ve created as a family. Celebrating Hispanic culture and heritage with programming at the Denver Public Library feels like I am celebrating my home and my family.

Years ago, my mother crossed the border to create a future for her family. Throughout her time in the States, she managed to find work, learn the customs of a foreign country, and navigate the necessary institutions to set up housing and other necessities. She and my father worked through it all in a language they did not understand. It’s something I think about often nowadays. I could never comprehend how much my mother struggled as a kid. As an adult, her perseverance impresses me. It also fills me with pain to think about how she suffered. There weren't many programs like Plaza around in the 90s to offer support to immigrants like herself. Through it all, my mother would never complain. She just wanted to make her family prosper and be happy. That is what I celebrate during this time. I honor her resiliency, the resiliency of my father, and the resilience of the immigrant.

Now that my mother has moved back to Mexico, I don’t get to see her very often. Immigrants are used to the long distance and the separation of our families. Programming featuring our foods and customs brings a familiar comfort of what we miss and care so much about. The Denver Public Library recognizes heritage months to create community through these types of connections. These programs also create opportunities for others to connect by exploring, allowing them to experience a new culture or learn something new.

Hispanic Heritage Month continues until October 15. Below are some highlights of the Denver Public Library’s upcoming Hispanic Heritage Month programming. Check out these book lists featuring the immigrant experience and Hispanic heritage. All materials are available to you with your Denver Public Library card.

Alebrijes Workshop
Alebrijes are extraordinary Mexican folk art creatures that blend elements of various animals, forming magnificent and otherworldly beings. Unleash your creativity by designing your very own vibrant Alebrije, without the conventional paper mache. Ideal for teens and adults. Ages 5 and up are welcome with an adult.

  • Monday, Oct. 2, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Hadley
  • Friday, Oct. 6, 3:30-4:30 p.m., Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales
  • Saturday, Oct. 7, 3-4 p.m., Ross-Broadway
  • Friday, Oct. 13, 3-4 p.m., Green Valley Ranch
  • Saturday, Oct. 14, 11-12 p.m., Ross-University Hills
  • Saturday, Oct. 14, 2-3 p.m., Valdez-Perry
  • Saturday, Oct. 21, 1-2 p.m., Woodbury

The History of the Chicano Movement in Denver
Saturday, Oct. 7, 5-7:30 p.m., Birdseed Collective, 4496 Grant St
Hear from local activists, educators, and artists Dr. Ramon Del Castillo, Carlota D. Espinoza, Debra Gallegos, and Ernesto Vigil. We’ll explore materials from the library's archives and learn the history of the Chicano Movement in Denver through firsthand accounts. All are welcome!

La Llorona Festival
Saturday, Oct. 7, 2-4 p.m., Rodolfo "Corky" Gonzales
Explore the myths and facts surrounding the iconic figure, La Llorona. Hear from library staff and community members about their own La Llorona traditions and share your own experiences. We’ll examine the history and evolution of La Llorona's influence throughout the Americas. Ideal for 18+

Hispanic Heritage Cooking Series: Pellizcadas
Thursday, Oct. 12, 2-3 p.m., Eugene Field
Viviana will show you how to make pellizcadas, a delicious type of Mexican sopes. Practice your Spanish and sample this dish. This event is in Spanish and English. Food will be available while supplies last. Registration required.  Ideal for 18+.

Hispanic Heritage Month Papel Picado Craft
Friday, Oct. 13, 2-3 p.m., Park Hill
Come to this hands on program and learn how to make papel picado (paper garland). All materials will be provided. ​Ideal for ages 4 and up with an adult.

Ballet Folklórico
Saturday, Oct. 14, 12-1 p.m., Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library
Julio García brings a piece of Mexico to Denver with his dance group "Ballet Folklórico Sangre de México." Enjoy dances from different regions of Mexico performed by this talented youth group.  Ideal for 18+.

Calaveras Day!
Saturday, Oct. 21, 2-4 p.m., Rodolfo "Corky" Gonzales
Decorate sugar skulls as we explore the history and stories surrounding this tradition. Learn about the ancient Aztec ritual that celebrated the lives of the deceased and how the sugar skulls came to be a Mexican tradition. Create and decorate your own sugar skull. All are welcome!

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