The Chicana story is complicated. Although the Census would like to lump us together under a single manufactured label, the reality is we come from many different backgrounds, different places and different cultures.
Our original list of possible interviews for this documentary included many amazing Denver Chicanas. Some of the women were part of the social justice movement, others were not. All had fought for our community in spaces where we had for too long been missing: politics, education, business, healthcare, the arts. Ultimately we interviewed a spectrum of women who represent our very best in a variety of areas, with the continual hope that we’ll be able to make many more stories that include some of the voices we didn’t capture here in future projects.
So, what does it mean to be a Chicana in Denver? We interviewed Latino Cultural Arts Center founder Adrianna Abarca, former SBA Director Patricia Barela Rivera, healthcare activist Charlene Barrientos Ortiz, activist Nita Gonzales, State Senator Lucia Guzman, former City Council President Ramona Martinez, performer and activist Yolanda Ortega and Denver’s godmother of Montessori Martha Urioste to discuss what it is to be a woman born in this country, with strong Mexican and Indigenous roots and a life dedicated to social justice.
The hour-long documentary premiered at the Denver Film Festival. The screening sold out overnight, as did an advanced screening at History Colorado. The demand prompted a third and final showing of the film on the big screen thanks to Regis University.
And what was the response? Cheers filled the halls. Audience members said the film brought them to tears. There’s incredible power in seeing the story of your people told by your people on a big screen — especially when it’s a story of such significance.
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