Grand Valley events planned for Hispanic Heritage Month |

Grand Valley events planned for Hispanic Heritage Month

Sharon Sullivan
Baile Folklorico Valle Lindo will perform at the Mesa County Central Library Tuesday, Oct. 1.
Submitted photo | Free Press


WHAT: Film showing of “Bless Me, Ultima” based on the Rudolfo Anaya novel

WHEN: 7 p.m. Wed., Oct. 7

WHERE: Mesa County Central Library, 443 N. 6th St.

COST: Free, however, tickets required for admission. Tickets available at any branch library.

INFO: or 970-243-4442


WHAT: “Latino History in the Grand Valley” presentation by Dr. Tom Acker; plus, a performance and presentation by Baile Folklorico — El Valle Lindo

WHEN: 6 p.m. Tues., Oct. 1

WHERE: Central Library Community Room, east entrance, 443 N. 6th St.

COST: Free

INFO: or 970-243-4442

Hispanic heritage is celebrated nationwide from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15, and this year Grand Junction is paying tribute to the culture with a series of events.

Hispanics make up the largest ethnic minority in Mesa County (or 13.3 percent of the population). Latinos comprise 14.4 percent of the Colorado Mesa University student population, said Danny Sandoval, director of diversity, advocacy and health. Nationwide, the minority group accounts for 16.9 percent of the population, he said.

Documentary and film showings, national voter registration day, and a special naturalization ceremony at Colorado National Monument are some of the events that have taken place during the Grand Valley’s Hispanic Heritage Month.

It’s not too late to partake in other events coming up.

On Oct. 1 at Mesa County Central Library Community Room, 443 N. Sixth St., Spanish Prof. Tom Acker will give a presentation about Hispanic history in the Grand Valley, including the establishment of Las Colonias — now vacant, city-owned property destined for community development.

Las Colonias derives its name from an early settlement of agricultural workers who worked in the sugar beet industry, Acker said.

Also that evening at the library, the traditional dance troupe Baile Folklorico — El Valle Lindo will perform. Members will explain the significance of the traditional dances and costumes.

On Monday, Oct. 7, a second showing of the film “Bless Me, Ultima” based on the best-selling novel by Rudolfo Anaya will take place at the Central Library community room at 7 p.m. It’s free to attend, although tickets — available Sept. 30 at each branch library — are required as space is limited to 160 people. Tickets are limited to four per person.

“Bless Me, Ultima” was the title chosen for the first One Book, One Mesa County program. The film version was released in February.

Last week, “The Other Side of Immigration” was shown at the Laughing Dog Coffee House, 413 Monument Road, and was attended by 30 people.

“It’s a great documentary,” sparking a “really good conversation,” literary services director Karen Kllanxhja said. “It was filmed in Mexico from the perspective of those who live there, and what they feel about immigration.”

Another film, coming on the heels of Hispanic Heritage Month, is a Community Cinema feature titled “The Graduate — Los Graduatos.” It’s an “eye-opening documentary” on the challenges that Latino students and their families face in the educational system. The film will be shown in the library community room Wednesday, Oct. 16, at 7 p.m.

Hispanic Heritage Month has been a collaboration among Mesa County Libraries, the Latin Anglo Alliance, Colorado Mesa University, the Western Colorado Latino Chamber of Commerce, Kain and Burke law firm, the Hispanic Affairs Project, Welcoming Colorado, and Two Rivers Chautauqua.

Sen. Mark Udall marked Hispanic Heritage Month by highlighting the jobs and cultural enrichment the state’s Hispanic community has provided.

“Colorado’s vibrant Hispanic community has long played an important role in shaping our state’s rich cultural landscape and fueling our economy,” Udall said in a news release. “From creating jobs and running small businesses to serving as policymakers and civil servants, our Latino community continues to make invaluable contributions that are improving our communities and moving Colorado forward.

Udall is a member of the U.S. Senate Democratic Hispanic Task Force, which facilitates communication between Hispanic leaders and Democratic senators.

Kllanxhja, who works with immigrants from all over the world, said the month of activities practically segues into “CultureFest,” which is planned for Saturday, Nov. 2, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Mesa County Libraries’ annual CultureFest “was created to celebrate the diverse cultures of our community,” Kllanxhja said.

That event kicks off Friday, Nov. 1, with a juried art exhibit throughout the library that opens during November’s First Friday Art Walk.

The Saturday festivities will include art, food and demonstrations by Grand Valley residents from at least 14 different countries. Two groups representing Native American culture will also be present.

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