From Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, we honor the invaluable ways people of Hispanic and Latin American descent have shaped our community, celebrate their diverse cultures, and work toward a stronger, more inclusive, and more prosperous society for all.

Hispanic Heritage Month is an annual celebration which began in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week and in 1988 was extended to an entire month. September 15 was chosen as the kickoff for Hispanic Heritage Month because it coincides with the Independence Day celebrations of five Central American countries, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Several other nations, including Mexico, Chile and Belize, celebrate an Independence Day during the initial week of Hispanic Heritage Month.

People of Hispanic and Latin American descent have enhanced and influenced our city’s character given the talents, cultures, values, ideas, labor as well as new and old traditions that reflect the multi-ethnic and multicultural customs of diverse communities, while adding value and dynamic perspectives to the story of Boulder.

Recognizing a Complicated History

The act of recognizing and celebrating the contributions of Hispanic and Latine individuals is important, however, it can be difficult to accurately do so when we examine the complicated history of their many disparities.

Between Spanish colonization, the transatlantic slave trade, and the forcible seizure of Indigenous lands, including in the recent past, Hispanic and Latino Americans have known many homes and traveled many paths. People with ancestry in Spain and the countries that today form part of North, Central, and South America, and the Caribbean, include Indigenous peoples and also the descendants of African peoples enslaved by European colonizers and forcibly brought to these lands.

We acknowledge that capturing these complex histories and identities as only Hispanic and Latine oversimplifies history and neglects the richness of these peoples as individuals and as a community. “Hispanic,” “Latine” and “Latino American” are all foreign names placed on the peoples and land of this continent. We recognize and support the movement for self-determination and epistemic decolonization efforts of Indigenous peoples that call this continent Abya-Yala.

Fostering Belonging in Communities and Respecting Human Rights

While we strive to create a welcoming and inclusive community for all, we acknowledge that discrimination in our community is a reality. The Human Rights Ordinance exists to protect against discrimination in Boulder and assist people who have been discriminated against in three areas, including:

  • Housing

  • Employment

  • Public accommodation in places such as stores, restaurants, health clubs and movie theaters

Within these areas, the ordinance prohibits discrimination based on ancestry, color, creed, gender variance, genetic characteristics, immigration status, marital status, mental disability, national origin, physical disability, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation and source of income. In housing, it also prohibits discrimination based on custody of a minor child, parenthood and pregnancy. In employment, it also prohibits discrimination based on age, specifically 40 and older.

City Council enacted the Human Rights Ordinance in 1972 to create prompt, local protection and for classes not protected at the state or federal levels, such as sexual orientation, gender variance and genetic characteristics.

If you or someone you know has been the target of discrimination within city limits, you can file a claim through the City of Boulder’s Human Rights Ordinance. These services are available in any language. Learn more on the city’s website.

Upcoming Events

Inspire Your Portrait with Frida Kahlo

To celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, participate in a bilingual workshop (English and Spanish) with CHAC Gallery. Create self-portraits inspired by the artistic legacy of the Mexican self-taught painter Frida Kahlo. At the end of the workshop, each participant will be able to take their own self-portrait home. Reserve your spot!

  • Date: Friday, Sept. 15
  • Time: 4 - 5:30 p.m.
  • Location: NoBo Art Center, 4929 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80304

Festival del Sol at Chautauqua Auditorium

Kick off National Hispanic Heritage Month by celebrating the vibrancy of Latino culture in the stunning surroundings of Chautauqua at the third annual free and bilingual Festival Del Sol on Sunday, Sept. 17! Enjoy guided hikes, salsa dance classes, live music, traditional dance, children’s entertainment, food trucks, a beer garden, family activities and games at the Chautauqua Auditorium and surrounding gardens. Learn more.

  • Date: Sunday, Sept. 17
  • Time: 12 - 5 p.m.
  • Location: Chautauqua Auditorium, 900 Baseline Rd, Boulder, CO 80302

Undocumented Students in Higher Education: How did we get here, what it looks like

CU Law School Associate Dean and immigration law expert Violeta Chapin will talk about the interplay between our immigration laws and our educational system, discussing the legal history of undocumented students in American schools and current litigation surrounding the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program. Prof. Chapin and guests will talk in detail about how to navigate higher education as an undocumented student, from financial aid to health insurance, as well as plans for the future should the DACA program end.  This session will be done in English, with Spanish interpretation provided.

To register, contact Ana Silvia Avendano-Curiel at or by phone at 720-672-5799.

  • Date: Saturday, Nov. 18
  • Time: 9:45 - 11:30 a.m.
  • Location: Penfield Tate II Municipal Building, 1777 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80302
  • Parking: free and next to the building and in library parking lot