This year marks the 40th anniversary of the fatal shooting of two young Latino men by a Longmont police officer. This, and more recent events such as the killing of George Floyd and the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement, has led to an interest in community conversations on race and social justice, said Adriana Perea, community relations specialist at the city of Longmont.
Such a conversation will take place this week.
On Thursday, a group of community leaders and experts will meet on the stage of the Longmont Museum’s Stewart Auditorium to “share their perspectives on Longmont’s history of race relations and the ongoing efforts to create a more just, equitable, and inclusive community for the many diverse people who call Longmont home,” according to an event flyer.
“We wanted to bring (the conversation) back home and have the focus be on the Longmont community, take a step back to learn the history of our challenges, our community,” Perea said.
Five speakers will gather from 7:30 to 9 p.m. for the conversation that will be streamlined on the Longmont Museum’s Facebook page, Channel 8 and the Longmont Public Media website. The discussion also will be recorded and archived for later viewing on the city’s YouTube channel. Panel members will be: Lorne Jenkins, CEO of Mini Money Management; Linda Arroyo-Holmstrom, of the Boulder County Latino History Project; Louie Lopez, community coordinator with the city of Longmont; Glenda Robinson, of the Longmont Multicultural Action Committee; and Brett Lee Shelton, of the Native American Rights Fund. The discussion will be moderated by Rossana Longo of KGNU Community Radio.
“The goal is to have different perspectives and to give an insight into Longmont's history, (for it) to not be forgotten and … have the community involved and have participation at all levels start a dialogue,” Lopez said.
The event is the product of a partnership between Longmont Multicultural Action Committee and the museum, both of which are contributing funding and staff.
“We want to spark interest to do work locally for the community you work or live in … we want people to know that there is work to be done and that there is a seat at the table for them to be a voice, to be engaged and take action,” said Perea, Longmont Multicultural Action Committee coordinator, adding everyone living in Longmont is invited.
The event is a part of a series of talks the museum has scheduled for fall.
“This is offered as part of Thursday Nights at the Museum series. We started this series last fall before the pandemic but we have been offering these kinds of conversations on this kind of subject matter (for three years),” said Justin Veach, Longmont Museum auditorium and events manager.
“It felt particularly important to have this sort of conversations this fall, because of what is happening, what's happened in terms of increased awareness in general in equity and systemic racism. It seemed extremely important to get community leaders in Longmont to look at where we come from, where we are now and where we are going in the future,” he said.
Perea said, “There's a lot of fear of asking questions or sounding ignorant, especially in the topics of racism and inequality. This is an opportunity to be able to learn from each other, a safe opportunity to do that,” .
Community members can engage in the conversation and ask questions if they tune in via the museum’s Facebook page, Veach said.For more information about the event, click here.