Graphic showing an illustration of Los Seis de Boulder memorial with text, Los Seis de Boulder, Race, and Memory Virtual Symposium November 5-6 2021

About the Symposium

The University of Colorado Boulder will host a “Los Seis de Boulder, Race, and Memory” virtual symposium, November 5-6, 2021. The goal of the symposium is to center the Los Seis de Boulder bombings of May 1974, during which 6 Chicanx students and activists affiliated with CU were killed, in academic discourse and to continue to foster engaged dialogue on campus about the legacy of this event. Read more about the symposium here.

All symposium sessions will be recorded to support asynchronous participation, including all questions and comments from participants. Session recordings may be archived and shared publicly after the conclusion of the symposium.

This symposium adheres to the University of Colorado Boulder Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance’s Discrimination and Harrassment Policy.

The symposium is co-sponsored by CU Boulder’s University Libraries, American Music Research CenterCenter for Humanities & the Arts, Ethnic Studies Department, History Department, School of Education, Latino History Project, and UMAS y MECHA, with additional funding from the University of Colorado President’s Fund for the Humanities.

Friday, November 5

7:00 to 8:30 p.m.

Virtual Keynote: Dr. Maria Cotera, “The Archival Afterlives of Los Seis de Boulder.”

Associate Professor of Mexican American and Latino Studies at the University of Texas at Austin

Maria Cotera will be introduced by Robert McDonald, Dean of the University Libraries.

Dr. Cotera's first book, Native Speakers: Ella Deloria, Zora Neale Hurston, Jovita González, and the Poetics of Culture received the Gloria Anzaldúa book prize in 2009. She is also the co-author of Chicana Movidas: New Narratives of Feminism and Activism in the Movement Era and is currently the director of the Chicana por mi Raza digital memory project. Dr. Cotera will reflect on the relationship between history, memorialization, and memory keeping as a praxis of liberation, the archive as a site of encuentro, and how a critical engagement with the history and memory of Los Siete can reframe both the past and the future of social justice.

A moderated audience Q&A will follow her address.

This event is generously supported by the CU President’s Fund for the Humanities.
 

Dr. Maria Cotera

Saturday, November 6

10:00 to 11:00 a.m.

Virtual Plenary: Dr. Nicki Gonzales, "We Will Endure: Our Journey to Understand Los Seis de Boulder"

Colorado State Historian and Associate Professor of History and Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion at Regis University

Dr. Nicki Gonzales was named Colorado’s State Historian in 2021 and is the first Latino/a person to hold that position. In addition to her work at Regis University, she is a member of History Colorado’s State Historian’s Council and in July 2020 was named by Gov. Jared Polis to the Colorado Geographic Naming Advisory Board. Professor Gonzales served on the curatorial advisory committee for History Colorado’s permanent exhibit, El Movimiento: The Chicano Movement in Colorado. A native of Denver with deep family roots in Southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico, she specializes in the history of the American West with a focus on race relations, social and political movements.

This event is generously supported by the CU Boulder History Department.
 

Dr. Nicki Gonzales

11:15 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Concurrent Virtual Sessions

11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

Session 1A: Teaching and Being Taught by Los Seis de Boulder

“Mártires del Movimiento in the Classroom.”

Presented by Jasón Romero (Director, Latino History Project, School of Education, CU Boulder).

This presentation highlights the use of the narratives surrounding the lives and martyrdom of Ricardo Falcón and Los Seis de Boulder in K-12 classrooms. Pulling heavily on resources provided by community members and CU Boulder’s Latino History Project, this presentation explores how K-12 educators can utilize murals, music and testimonio to explore these stories in authentic and transformative manner that serves to empower students despite the violence and repression illustrated through these stories. Specifically, Romero will analyze the mural of Los Seis from artist Pedro Romero that once was painted on the walls of the UMC, Augustine Cordova’s “Corrido de Los Seis,” Heriberto Teran’s poem, “Aztlán esta de Luto,” and the narratives of the martyrs included in a May 2014 special edition of La Cucaracha newspaper. Connections to Colorado Chicana/o/x communities, Colorado Academic Standards and multiple content areas will be named and explored.
 
“Los Seis de Boulder: Insurgent Scholar-Activists and the Radical Pedagogies of a Usable Past."

Presented by Daniel Salcido (community activist, educator, and organizer).

This presentation addresses how research methodologies such as oral histories, community newspapers and testimonio, and archival research - artifacts of a “usable past” - can expand the narrative of the Chicano Movement in Colorado beyond the violent deaths of Los Seis de Boulder. Such scholarship fills in the “blank spots” in the historical experience of the Chicanx community in Colorado, uncovering radical pedagogies of activism that are intertwined with the solidarity networks of other oppressed nationalities from third-world radical and leftist groups. They produce counter-memories of and eulogies to organized political expression that extend into current movements and struggles for social justice, such as the student disappearances of Ayotzinapa. 
 

11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

Session 1B: El Movimiento and Activism at CU Boulder

"Chicana Leadership and Activism on CU's Campus and in the Colorado Chicano Movement."

Presented by Celeste Montoya (Associate Professor, Women & Gender Studies and Faculty Director, Miramonte Arts & Sciences Program, CU Boulder), Raquel Hernandez Guerrero (PhD candidate, Comparative Ethnic Studies, CU Boulder), and Maria Martinez (BA Political Science and Ethnic Studies '22, CU Boulder).

This presentation explores the leadership of several Chicana activists at CU Boulder before, during, and after the Los Seis de Boulder bombings, including Neva Romero, who died in the first bombing on May 27, 1974. This research is part of a larger effort led by Professor Montoya and her student research assistants to produce a work of scholarship documenting the political and community activism of Chicanas throughout Colorado.

"From Los Seis de Boulder to the 1994 Ethnic Studies Protests at CU Boulder.”

Presented by Mateo Vela (BA International Affairs and Ethnic Studies ‘22).

Little academic attention has been paid to the 1994 student protests at CU Boulder that led to the creation of the Ethnic Studies Department. This presentation will explore the throughline from the 1973-1974 student protests that culminated in the deaths of Los Seis and the leadership of CU’s Chicanx community in both those and the 1994 protests. This work combines archival research from the CU Boulder Libraries Archives with interviews with former students, staff, faculty and administration involved or present during the time of the 1994 protests, all to examine the socio-historical and structural causes and implications of this event for BIPOC social movements at CU Boulder.

An audience Q&A will follow both presentations.

1:00 to 2:00 p.m.

Session 2A: Looking for Los Seis in the Archives: Archival Work and the Impact on Memory (Panel Discussion)

Panelists

  • Deborah Espinosa (Interim Director, Aztlán Center, CSU-Pueblo Library)
  • Margie Montañez (Curator of Latin American Collections, Center for Southwest Research and Special Collections, University of New Mexico)
  • Xaviera Flores (Archivist and Librarian, Chicano Studies Research Center).

Moderator

  • Megan K. Friedel (Head of Archives and co-Interim Team Lead for Rare & Distinctive Collections, CU Boulder Libraries)

Archivists play a key role in preserving and making accessible for research the history of violent events in social justice movements, such as the Los Seis de Boulder bombings. Four archivists, from institutions that hold significant primary source materials relating to the Chicano Movement, will explore how the deaths of Los Seis are and are not documented in the current historical record, the failures and successes that they have had in making this history available, what the profession can do better to support the history of the bombings and the communities that continue to be impacted by them, and current, related archival ethics that align social justice work with archives management responsibilities. An audience Q&A will follow the panel.

1:00 to 2:00 p.m.

Session 2B: Race and Memory in Local Histories: Creating a Podcast Influenced by Los Seis de Boulder

Presented by Areyana Proctor (Media Production and Journalism ‘23) and Sabrina Carolina Sideris (Program Director, INVST Community Studies, CU Engage, School of Education, CU Boulder)

Listen to BAHRI’s “Los Seis de Boulder” podcast.

Equitable access to landscapes can and has impacted the safety and livelihood of Boulder’s Chicanx and Latinx residents. In this podcast produced by CU Boulder’s Boulder Affordable Housing Research Initiative (BAHRI), students and faculty explore the connections between the issue of affordable housing, its impact on the Latinx and Chicanx community in Boulder, and Los Seis de Boulder. This presentation explores how the podcast was produced and the ways in which the deaths of Los Seis exemplify systemic and geographic segregation.

An audience Q&A will follow the presentation.
 

2:15-3:15 p.m.

Session 3A: Digital El Diario: Digital Care-Work for the History of El Movimiento

Presented by Nickoal Eichmann-Kalwara (Digital El Diario Project Director and Digital Scholarship Librarian/Assistant Professor and Director of Digital Scholarship, Center for Research Data & Digital Scholarship, CU Boulder).

Digital El Diario is a digital humanities project that aims to dynamically represent the text and images published in El Diario de la Gente, the UMAS student newspaper founded in 1972. The newspaper is an extraordinary window into El Movimiento in Boulder and beyond, and its digitization on the Colorado Historic Newspaper Collection database has enabled infinite possibilities for research and teaching, including computational approaches for interactivity. Join Professor Eichmann-Kalwara and graduate students from her class, “Introduction for Digital Humanities: Movements, Methods, and Tools,” for a discussion of minimal computing for maximal justice, digital care-work, and the project’s goals to both decolonize the historical record towards archival justice and serve as an experiential learning opportunity to create humanities data.

An audience Q&A will follow the presentation.
 

2:15 to 3:15 p.m.

Session 3B: Seeing Los Seis: Marking Space at CU Boulder Through the Los Seis de Boulder Sculpture Project (Panel Discussion)

Panelists

  • Gladys Preciado (MA Art History ‘20)
  • Carlos Sandoval (BS Engineering Physics '18)
  • Celina Jara Tovar (BA Psychology and Arts Practice, Ethnic Studies minor ‘19)
  • Lucero Aguirre (MFA Ceramics '18)

Moderator

  • Jasmine Baetz (Lincoln Visiting Artist in Ceramics, Scripps College)

Join Jasmine Baetz, MFA Ceramics ‘20 and project lead for the Los Seis de Boulder Sculpture Project, in conversation with student and alumni collaborators who worked on this public art project. They will discuss the conceptual, aesthetic, technical, and logistical considerations that went into creating a piece of public art that came to serve as a space and marker of memory for Los Seis de Boulder on CU Boulder's campus.

An audience Q&A will follow the panel.
 

3:30 to 4:30pm

Session 4A: The Uses and Limitations of the Freedom of Information Act in Researching the 1974 Boulder Bombings

Presented by Ernesto Vigil (author of The Crusade for Justice: Chicano Militancy and the Government's War on Dissent)

The bombings that resulted in the death of Los Seis de Boulder have never been "solved," yet frequent references to them invoke the murky and poorly-understood history of the FBI Counter-Intelligence Programs (COINTELPRO) as a possible explanation. In fact, there were thirteen COINTELPRO operations led by the FBI, and CU Boulder’s UMAS student group was the second-most important Chicano organization monitored by the FBI in Colorado in the 1960s and 1970s. This presentation will discuss what COINTELPRO was and what it wasn't, provide information about FBI programs in effect at that time, address the basic terminology and procedures of the FBI, and explain the uses and limitations of FOIA for furthering scholarship on this topic.

An audience Q&A will follow the presentation.

3:30 to 4:30 p.m.

Session 4B: Remembering the First-Generation Chicano Faculty at CU Boulder: A Dramatic Reading

Join Albert Ramirez (Professor Emeritus, Psychology and Neuroscience, CU Boulder) and faculty and student actors for a reading of a one-act play, written by Ramirez, based on the recollections of Chicano faculty members of the early 1970s, when they were first beginning their careers. The play centers on the ways in which these faculty found themselves caught in the middle between Chicano/a student protests on campus and the university administration’s response. An audience Q&A will follow the reading.
 

4:45-5:30 p.m.

Session 5A: “La construcción de identidades y la necesidad de recuperar la memoria”

Readings by Adriana Paola Palacios Luna (founder of Luna Cultura: Art, Science and Culture for Thriving Communities)

This session will primarily be presented in Spanish, with limited English translation provided by the presenter. 

Poet and artist Adriana Paola Palacios Luna presents a reading of her work, exploring how current activism within the Latinx community must recover historical memory about the Chicano Movement and build strategies to amplify the voices that have been historically denied. Palacios Luna’s writing focuses on the recovery of ancestral wisdom and innovation to both heal processes of historical trauma and actively construct the Chicanx/Latinx community today.

An audience Q&A in Spanish only will follow the presentation.

4:45 to 5:30 p.m.

Session 5B: The Chicano Movement at CU Boulder, 1971-1975: The Photography of Juan Espinosa

Join CU alum and journalist Juan Espinosa (BA Journalism ‘74) for an audio-visual presentation of his photojournalism work documenting El Movimiento at CU Boulder, in Colorado, and across the West in the early 1970s. As an undergraduate at CU, Espinosa was the founder of El Diario de la Gente, UMAS’s student newspaper, and also served as one of its photographers and reporters. He was also the first student co-director of CU’s UMAS-Equal Opportunity Program (UMAS-EOP). Espinosa’s photographs document, among many other topics, conflicts within the UMAS-EOP program, the March 1973 police attack on the Crusade for Justice headquarters in Denver, La Raza Unida’s National Convention, the Constitutional Convention of the United Farm Workers Union, the May 1974 student occupation of CU’s Temporary Building 1, and the aftermath of the deaths of Los Seis de Boulder.

An audience Q&A will follow the presentation.

7:00 to 9:30 p.m.

Lleva Nuestras Voces: Bobby LeFebre and 2MX2

Free, live event at the Gordon Gamm Theatre, Dairy Arts Center
2590 Walnut St, Boulder, CO 80302

Separate registration required.

Register for Lleva Nuestras Voces

Join us in celebrating the legacy of the Chicano Movement as it carries on in the words and music of Chicanx performers today! Colorado Poet Laureate Bobby LeFebre will present a virtual reading of his work, followed by a live, in-person performance by pop/hiphop group 2MX2, in this free closing event for the symposium.

Bobby LeFebre is the youngest and first ever person of color to be Colorado Poet Laureate. Appointed to that position by Governor Jared Polis in 2019, LeFebre is an award-winning writer, performer, and cultural worker. He fuses a non-traditional, multi-hyphenated professional identity to imagine new realities, empower communities, advance arts and culture, and serve as an agent of provocation, transformation, equity and social change. His work has appeared in The New York Times, HuffPost, The Guardian, American Theater Magazine, NPR and Poets.org.

Denver-based Latino pop/hiphop group 2MX2’s blood runs thick with the traditions embedded in their respective heritages, turned to face the present day. Rappers Juice El Tio Hugo and O1, singer Lolita, and producer DMD, along with Kid Astronaut on keys and Kenny Ortiz (Flobots) on drums, thrive in creating content that focuses on identity and fostering community and an honest platform for their fans to connect. They maintain a deep commitment to pushing diversity within the arts through outreach to local youth groups and with school programs.

This event is presented by CU Boulder’s American Music Research Center and University Libraries, with generous support also provided by the CU President’s Fund for the Humanities.