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Dragons Descend On LoDo At Event To Bring Awareness About Denver's Historic Chinatown

DENVER (CBS4) - A renewed effort to honor the victims of one of Denver's darkest incidents is making their efforts more public. Asian American and Pacific Islander community leaders in Denver who want to send a clearer message about a riot that destroyed the city's Chinatown held an event in LoDo Sunday to unveil new text intended to replace a downtown memorial. It was held outside at Union Station and was complete with dancing dragons and drumming.

Check out the lion dance

Posted by Colorado Asian Pacific United - CAPU on Sunday, August 8, 2021

LoDo was the site of mob violence in November 1880. Chinatown included 14th Street to 17th Street and Blake Street to Wazee Street as part of its perimeter in Lower Downtown. All of the business of Chinatown were destroyed and at least one person was murdered.

RELATED: Leaders In Denver Work To Revive Historic Chinatown, Which Was Once A Major Part Of Downtown

The group Colorado Asian Pacific United says they want to replace the wording of the existing plaque that's on a building at 20th & Blake across from Coors Field with something that more accurately describes the crimes of the past.

"Our goal is to eventually to remove that plaque, put up a new historical marker. And then over the years we want to celebrate the history of the Chinese in Colorado and all Asian Americans in Colorado," said CAPU spokesman Gil Asakawa said.

The new marker would read, in part: "Local antagonism led to Denver's anti-Chinese race riot. On October 31, 1880, an estimated 3,000 to 5,000 Denverites descended upon Chinatown to destroy it and drive out the Chinese. During the mob's rampage, they lynched and beat to death a laundryman named Look Young. Though the murderers were brought to trial, they were acquitted of the crime. Despite continued tensions, most of the Chinese community remained to rebuild Chinatown."

CAPU doesn't have a timeline for when a new historical marker will be installed. They are also hoping to add murals and update an alley in LoDo in such a way that it will pay tribute to the Chinese residents whose lives were disruped by the mob violence.

Additional Resources

Read the full proposed text for a new historical marker.

Colorado Asian Pacific United describes itself as a "coalition of Asian and Pacific Islander American leaders, creatives, and allies seeking to contribute to an inclusive Colorado that recognizes our history, and celebrates the past, current, and future diversity of the state." They have started a GoFundMe page to assist with their efforts.

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