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First Black historic home landmarked in Fort Collins

"It is so grounding to know that our people have existed here and have thrived here and we belong here," Rashida Perez, a leader from the BIPOC Alliance said.

FORT COLLINS, Colo. — Fort Collins is making history by recognizing a small piece of its past.

According to city council documents, a home on Cherry Street is the city's first property to be landmarked because of its connection with Black history.

"Virgil Thomas was the first Black American to graduate from Fort Collins High School," said Kim Medina, the home owner. "So that made us think about this house and its history and how we can help preserve that history."

At a September city council meeting, the measure to landmark the home passed unanimously. 

Medina operates an immigration law firm in the Cherry Street home. She said the recognition of the homes history was a step in the right direction.

"When we have an opportunity to help people tell this story, to help people raise their voices, those of us who have more privilege have an obligation to give space to have others tell their stories," she explained. "I feel really fortunate to help share part of that history so it can be shared with others."

BIPOC Alliance leader Rahshida Perez helped in the landmark project. She emphasized a designation of this magnitude was long overdue.

"It is so grounding to know that our people have existed here and have thrived here and we belong here," she said. "I know there’s more to come and I’m going to work really hard to make sure it does. BIPOC Alliance is rooting ourselves in including all black indigenous and people of color together as one. We won’t stop working until we know our history is fully uncovered."

Medina hopes to honor the designation by placing a plaque outside of the Cherry Street home soon.

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