DENVER YOUTH CONFERENCE
March of 1969, Chicano activists leader Rodolfo "Corky" Gonzales
convened a National Youth and Liberation Conference in Denver, Colorado.
Approximately 1500 youths from throughout the United States attended the
conference held at the Crusade For Justice. This was the first time, on
such a large scale that ageneration of Mexican American youth met to discuss
common issues of oppression, discrimination and injustice. After much
debate and discussion, the conference formulated a philosophy of cultural
nationalism, calling for all Mexican Americans to unite under the banner
of the term "Chicano" and calling for self-determination in
all spheres of life.
conference participants looked to the past of their indigenous ancestors
and discovered that the Aztecs who settled in the Valley of Mexico and
created the Aztec Empire had originated somewhere in the Southwestern
United States in a place called "Aztlán". The youthful
activism embraced the concept of Aztlán as their spiritual homeland
and hammered out El Plan Espiritual De Aztlán as the "common
denominator for mass mobilization and organization." Alurista, a
Chicano poet, penned a "Preamble to the Plan Espiritual de Aztlán"
which crystallized the spirit of the conference participants. During the
conference, the participants marched to the Colorado state capital building,
lowered the Colorado State Flag and flew the Mexican flag declaring Colorado
"territorio liberado de Aztlán."