DENVER — Denver Councilwoman Amanda Sandoval finds irony in the fact that the decades-long push to give a popular northwest Denver park a more community-friendly name finally met success on the Winter Solstice.
It's "the darkest day of the year, the shortest day of the year, but you're headed back into the light," she says.
For years, many of Sandoval's constituents in a council district that's one-third Latinx have referred to the square-block patch of green at West 38th Avenue and Navajo Street as La Raza Park.
It's a name that harks back to Denver's Chicano-rights movement of the 1960s and '70s, a struggle that included a takeover of the park by community activists in 1970 and, over the years, skirmishes between community members and police over use of the park.
Sandoval says that she was born and raised in the area and has lived there her whole life.
The park "is my heart," she says. "... I've come here for quinceañeras, I've come here for birthday celebrations, Día de los Muertos, ... [and] the Aztec dancing celebration."