Wednesday, September 21, 2022
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Posted Aug 24, 2022
ALAMOSA– More than a century after the successful resolution of a landmark case involving the desegregation of schools in Alamosa, a dedication and celebration is being held to honor the 1914 court ruling that is believed to be the first educational desegregations case won involving Mexican Americans in the United States.
In recognition, the Maestas Case Commemoration Committee is holding a community dedication of a bronze relief into the Alamosa County Courthouse on October 1st at 4:30 p.m.
The dedication will be followed by a ticketed event including notable speakers, local performers and traditional southern Colorado dinner at the Alamosa National Guard Armory at 6:00 p.m.
A statement written by Katie Dotson, a member of the Maestas Case Commemoration Committee, reads, as follows.
“This important part of American history had been buried for more than a century. It was rediscovered when Dr. Gonzalo Guzmán, a professor of educational studies at Macalester College, came across a reference to the Maestas case in an archived newspaper.
“He reached out to colleagues Dr. Rubén Donato, renowned educational historian at CU Boulder and Dr. Jarrod Hanson, a former lawyer and educational professor at UC Denver. They contacted Colorado’s 12th District Court Judge Martín Gonzales, who found the original court documents.
“The professors published their findings in the Journal of Latinos in Education in 2017. The content is now being taught at the university level and curriculum for Colorado public schools is under review.”
“Martin Gonzales (retired district judge) heads the Maestas Case Commemoration Committee whose goal is to spread greater awareness about the case and history. The committee commissioned a bronze relief titled ‘Cruzando Los Traques (Vías)’ by artist Renaldo “Sonny” Rivera. The statue was donated by longline San Luis Valley residents and avid supporters of education LeRoy and Rosalie Martinez.
The statue was first unveiled at Adams State University with a free community presentation by Judge Gonzales. The committee has received a Colorado State Resolution acknowledging the case. They have installed a traveling version of Cruzando Los Traques (Vías) at the Colorado State Capitol building where they received a bipartisan Colorado State Joint Tribute honoring the case. The traveling exhibit is currently at the El Pueblo History Museum and will continue to tour museums and universities across the state.
“The committee has also been able to create videos on the subject with the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area, Rocky Mountain PBS and had a feature article by NBC Latino. The artistic collage about the case made it into the top 10 finals for the 2022 design competition put on by The Friends of the National American Latino Museum. We will have the feature story and cover image of ‘The Colorado Magazine’ this September and were added to the permanent collection in the El Movimiento Exhibit at the History Colorado Museum in Denver.
The committee hopes to share with the state, the country and the world the story of the incredible people, resiliency and sense of community that stems from the Hispano homeland of southern Colorado and northern New Mexico.”
Those who are interested in attending the ticketed event should go to the website and click on the link “Maestas Case Event Oct 1” link.
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