Reclaiming Our Past, Building Our Future: Re-envisioning Denver's Historic Chinatown

10 AM – 11 AM, June 10 (Friday)
Green Center 200F

An invited talk brought to you by the Mines Asian Community Alliance (MACA)

Event Details

Date: Friday, June 10, 2022
Time: 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Location (Tentative): Green Center 200F


Reclaiming Our Past, Building Our Future: Re-envisioning Denver’s Historic Chinatown


Did you know there used to be a vibrant Chinatown in the heart of downtown Denver? After the 1880 Anti-Chinese riot and a flurry of discriminatory practices, Chinatown ceased to exist. Today, as we continue to grow into a more diverse society, a coalition of Colorado Asian American Pacific Islander leaders, creatives, and allies would like to honor this history by revitalizing the physical area where the historic Chinatown used to exist among other projects. Most recently, they played an essential role in Denver’s Mayor Michael Hancock’s public apology to the Chinese immigrants and their descendants for the riot and the racist practices that followed. Denver is the fifth city to issue an apology and the first city outside of California. Join representatives from the Colorado Asian Pacific United to learn more about the history, their accomplishments so far, future plans, and how you can be more involved.


Colorado Asian Pacific United (CAPU) is a coalition of Asian American and Pacific Islander leaders, creatives, and allies in Denver. We strive to enhance and enrich the Asian American and Pacific Islander experiences in Colorado, and is committed to advancing racial diversity, solidarity, and equity through collaboration, celebration, and education.

Ben Niamthet (he/him) is a creative director at Niam Design. He is an award winning physical environment designer and practitioner. He is interested in designing a space that is balanced between beautiful aesthetic and functionality for people to live, work and play. His works include Denver Botanic Gardens Science Pyramid. It is a self-guiding educational pavilion, where visitors can learn about plants’ DNA, step ecosystem, etc. He is currently working on multiple affordable Housing projects as an interior design consultant, while continuing to collaborate with CAPU Architectural and Design sub-committee to develop the design of historic markers and many other re-envisioning Denver Historic Chinatown projects to help enrich the City of Denver through design.

Joanne Liu (she/her) is the Co-Founder and CEO of Asian Girls Ignite (AGI). She is a life-long educator — it’s something she wanted to be as a kid growing up in Boston, MA. This dream motivated her as a first-generation college student studying education. She began her career as a middle school Special Education (SPED) teacher through Teach For America. Since then, she has spent years as a high school SPED teacher, a middle school Assistant Principal, a Director of Operations for Turing School of Software & Design, and a Program Coordinator at CU Boulder’s McNair Scholars Program. She is an alumna of the Moonshot edVentures Fellowship where she developed and launched AGI and is also currently pursuing a master’s degree in Organizational Leadership from the University of Colorado, Boulder. She serves as the Chair of the Board of Directors for Colorado Asian Pacific United.