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History Colorado is working to capture memory of 2020

History Colorado said they wanted to make sure they were going into communities that may have traditionally been overlooked.

DENVER — When History Colorado set out to capture 2020 it also set out to change the way it preserves the state's history. 

For Chief of Equity and Engagement, Marissa Volpe, her story starts more than 100 years ago. 

"My great grandmother died of the pandemic in 1918," she said. 

Volpe said her great grandmother was a Spanish immigrant who cared for children in a home for a family. 

"She died quietly, unnoticed," Volpe said. 

More than a hundred years later, Volpe found herself living through a pandemic herself, tasked with capturing what happened this year. 

As historians combing through what happened in 1918, while also working to capture 2020, they started reflecting.  

"Where were the underrepresented communities? Where were the stories of the folks not at the center," she said, "History Colorado made it a big effort to say history was not going to repeat itself." 

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History Colorado made sure they were going into communities that had been overlooked, partnering with artists to reflect racial injustice and forming relationships so people would trust History Colorado with their stories. 

"Partnering, for instance, with the Roaring Fork Valley," said Volpe, "There is a strong immigrant Latino community." 

History Colorado gathered stories from the Denver Islamic Center, teachers, children and had volunteers call older adults to share their stories over the phone. 

"They were addressing the issue of social isolation," said Volpe. 

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While the idea was to preserve history for the future, there was a very real impact now. 

"One group of women, Mujeres Valientes, a Latina group, said 'this is great we are going to give you these stories and our histories. Could we get that information because we are also applying for grants to help serve these communities?'"  

So, History Colorado helped create infographics the foundation could use to help their grant application.

A Facebook page was created within the Roaring Fork Valley community to share stories and resources. 

Volpe said people responded to the phone calls to share their stories. 

"That was the deeper need and people loved those phone calls," said Volpe. 

You can still submit your stories and memories here.

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