DENVER – The East Colfax neighborhood isn’t immune to change – like the change that’s been happening across the metro Denver area.
But, in front of one home in the area sits a reminder of what this neighborhood has always been: diverse.
“People can at least see the inclusivity of the neighborhood and (that) the history of the neighborhood goes further back than the past five years when there’s been an influx of more middle-income (residents),” resident Emily Moncrief said.
The diverse display she speaks of happens every morning on her neighbor’s front porch. Tom Fesing flies the flag of a different country or ethnic group every day.
“Flags to me, are just awesome because they represent people. To me, they represent the people of a nation, more than politics,” he said.
Fesing’s flag display began as a way to express his support for a team during the World Cup. Uruguay was the first flag that he flew. Then, as he changed flags to show support for other teams, he had an idea to continue to display different flags.
“Start representing all people. Including my own people,” he said. “My family comes from Transylvania and Romania.”
Fesing tries to display the flags on a day that’s significant to each country. He also makes a point to display the American flag on flag day, federal holidays and the anniversary of each branch of the U.S. Military.
“I love the American flag. In fact, the very first flag I received is my Eagle Scout award as a boy scout in the 1980s, and that flag was flown over the US capitol and I still have that flag and fly that,” he said.
The significance of the other nation’s flags is key in the East Colfax neighborhood.
“People from all over the world are in this neighborhood,” Fesing said. “We have probably the largest concentration of immigrants and refugees within the city of Denver and the nation. Just in this one point two square mile area.”
Fesing says his neighbors appreciate the diverse flag display. It’s generated a lot of excitement too – like the one time he flew the flag for Sudan and his mailman—a native of Sudan—took notice.
“He was so excited to see that flag fly on my front porch. He took photographs and sent it back to Sudan,” he said. “They couldn’t believe someone in America was proudly flying their flag.”