Last winter, playwright Tony Meneses asked our community to consider identity. More specifically, he asked our Latino community to consider its identity, its place in society and — most importantly — its responsibility in shaping the future of community.
His play was twenty50, a world premiere presented by our DCPA Theatre Company that was sparked by a study Pew Research Center study, which predicts that by the year 2050, there will no longer be a white majority.
What will this mean for Latinos — in government, politics and the tug-of-war between different races and ideals?
These are questions that spill over from the stage into our community. Taking the lead in delving into these topics is the Latino Community Foundation of Colorado (LCFC), a state-based philanthropic foundation that works to advance the civic, economic and cultural opportunities for Latinos throughout Colorado.
“In Colorado alone,” said Rachel Griego, Vice President of Philanthropy of the Latino Community Foundation, “Latinos currently account for 21% of Colorado’s population. By 2050, we will comprise the largest share of Colorado’s racial and ethnic minority population at more than 33%. Our combined voice will be influential to the state’s future, so it is crucial that we understand our pivotal role to both our Latino community and our larger Colorado community.”
To lead this important charge, LCFC is hosting its seventh annual “Our Story Forum: Rebuilding Our Future Together,” which brings together all Latino Coloradoans and allies who can impact change and write the next chapter for this community. The event will feature guest speakers including Governor Jared Polis; Arturo Vargas, CEO of the NALEO Education Fund; Richard Blanco, Presidential Inaugural Poet and Ramon Contraras, Co-Founder of Youth Over Guns as well as entertainment, awards and an activist segment featuring multi-generational leaders from across the stage.
“People can expect thought-provoking authentic discussion around issues of importance and impact to the Latino community locally and nationally, Griego continued. “They will be entertained and inspired by leaders whose image and messages resonate and most importantly they can expect to receive concrete tools on what each and every one of us can to do impact change, regardless of the language spoken, the city they reside in, or the country of origin.”
As a precursor to its annual forum, LCFC will host a pre-forum kick-off discussion to explore the Latino identity. Moderator playwright Tony Meneses (twenty50) will be joined by three individuals representing different generations: Debora Ortega (University of Denver), Aaron Abeyta (Mayor of Antonito, CO) and Izabella Williams (student at Metro State University). They will explore how Latinos can work collaboratively to address and correct longstanding inequities born of institutions and systems that were not built to include Latinos.
These discussions are not exclusive to Colorado and are crucial in the current election year. A record 32 million Latinos are projected to be eligible to vote in 2020, which will mark the first time that Hispanics will be the largest racial and ethnic minority group in the electorate, accounting for just over 13% of eligible voters.
While Latinos represent 59.9 million individuals as of the 2018 census, they are projected to be the third fastest growing racial group over the next 40 years, increasing by 115% and ultimately accounting for 29% of the U.S. population.
“We recognize the importance of our voice in the election process,” Griego commented. “In fact, anyone who shows their commitment to vote or get engaged civically may register for our forum for free.”
The LCFC’s “Our Story Forum: Rebuilding Our Future Together” takes place Saturday, October 31 at 10am and the Pre-Forum Kick-off discussion with Tony Meneses on Latino Identity takes place on Thursday, October 29 at 4pm. For more information or to register for both events, please visit latinocfc.org/forum2020.