BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) – A dedication ceremony on Friday celebrated a temporary memorial to Los Seis de Boulder or the Boulder Six on the University of Colorado campus. The Chicano activists died 45 years ago.
“For me it was just really striking that this wouldn’t would be recorded in the public space of CU Boulder,” said Jasmine Baetz, an MFA student in the ceramics program.
She started her degree at CU in the Fall of 2017 and met another graduate student that term. Together they decided to pursue a project honoring the six Chicano students and alumni killed in 1974. They believe the six were targeted for their activism and died from two car bombings.
The memorial features the faces and names of all six activists on four walls. The profiles of all six are mosaics with messages about their movement in English and Spanish.
“It amazed me that no one knew about this history,” said Gladys Preciado, a recent CU graduate with a master’s in Art History. “My initiative was more representation like this is extremely needed on these campuses.”
The university has not confirmed the account shared by students and cultural groups on campus. Boulder Police also could not provide any information to CBS4 about the case. It remains unsolved with some suggesting the deaths were an accident.
“It’s about what they did in life, and it’s about their activism and their fight for justice in their lifetime,” Baetz said.
Both graduates acknowledge the controversy around the deaths of the Boulder Six, but say it is more important to highlight the work they did before that. The group was part of a movement advocating for more access to education on campus for people of color.
“It’s a part of history, Boulder’s history that there’s been an attempt to erase,” said Juan Espinosa. “It’s been 45 years, and I don’t know if we’ll ever solve that crime.”
Espinosa knew the Boulder Six and was active in the same movement on campus in the 1970s. The dedication took place next to the memorial and in front of Temporary Building #1. Espinosa says he and others occupied that building for several days in 1970 as a protest to get more support for Chicano students.
Financial Aid access was one of the issues they protested at the time.
“It’s histories like these that usually get left out,” said Preciado. “I knew this was going to be something extremely important in terms of representation.”
The dedication featured speakers who were on campus during the 1970s or related to the Boulder Six. Multiple cultural groups offered prayers as well for the ceremony.
CU Boulder will allow the memorial to stay on campus for six months as part of a temporary display. The university told CBS4 it is considering a process to allow groups the opportunity to request permanent art installations.
Baetz says in addition to their project, she knows there are other campaigns to acknowledge the Boulder Six off campus, including at the sites of where the two bombs are believed to have exploded.
“Our histories are important as well, our representation is extremely important on these campuses,” Preciado said.