Denver’s Chinatown: An Erasure

Bringing to light the erasure of Denver’s old Chinatown, which in 1880, was destroyed overnight when a violent mob composed of 10% of Denver’s population at the time, incited by partisan political rhetoric and anti-Asian prejudice, stormed the immigrant neighborhood, beating, looting and lynching Chinese residents. Through storytelling, historical documents, and imaginative use of AI / AR technologies, the tour will explore the downtown streets between Wazee and Larimer, once home to the biggest Chinatown of the Rocky Mountain region. The timing of the Denver Riot contributed to the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, and broader restrictions on Chinese immigration to the United States that persisted for over 100 years. In light of upcoming elections, we will come together to think about the partisan nature of anti-immigrant propaganda, and re-imagine Denver as a sanctuary city without racial prejudice.

Part of our Free-For-All program, Denver's Chinatown: An Erasure will start at 17th and Wynkoop in front of Union Station in Denver. We'll have red umbrellas and an Imaginary Chinatown sign. 

90 minutes
Immersive, Outdoor, Storytelling, BIPOC, Free
17th and Wynkoop (in front of Union Station)

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  • Kai Lin is a creative technologist, making erasure poetry with the Lighthouse Poetry Collective in Denver. They grew up in NYC Chinatown, where they worked in community organizing and immigrant outreach. During the pandemic, they served at the New York State Assembly as the Executive Director of the Asian Pacific American Task Force, addressing random acts of anti-Asian violence, worsened by “China Virus” rhetoric, and the vandlization of family restaurants in Chinatown.
  • K. Albasi is a writer, visual poet, and multimedia designer. He has a BFA in Film and Media Arts from Temple University in Philadelphia. His video poetry has recently appeared in Happy Harpy Review as well as fiction published in Five South Journal.

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