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Minority Majority: Pueblo Hispanics must redefine what it means to be Hispanic in the Steel City

The art sign at Jeff Madeen's Blo Back Gallery in The Grove Neighborhood in Pueblo, Colorado. (Photo PULP)

Sometime in this last decade, the City of Pueblo hit the inflection point where there were more people of Hispanic origin than of White according to the census.

The number, 49-percent of persons of Hispanic origin in 2010, ticked quietly to 52-percent in 2017. Pueblo County as a whole is 42-percent Hispanic origin.

Pueblo is and will be a 'Border Town'-- a confluence city of cultures and people where it's normal and unsurprising to meet a family with a Slovenian-Irish-Greek-Mexican-German-Italian origination story or some combination thereof because of the number of immigrants needed to work the mines and mills for production of American steel.

In less than 50 years Hispanics have gone from being no more than a quarter of the population and marginalized in many ways of Pueblo life. What Hispanics will for the first time be forced to define is what it means to be Hispanic in Pueblo, in the ways of culture, sports, civic life, philanthropy, and faith.

After steel and the industrial era of Pueblo collapsed, Pueblo began commodifying the nostalgia into heritage tourism and it found another worldwide brand - Pueblo Chile. From the Pueblo Chile license plates, TV shows featuring Coor's Tavern and The Sunset Inn sloppers, an official brand for Pueblo Chile, and reputation for its food – Pueblo has changed its narrative from an industrial western town towards a dustier version of a border town, with an adobe fort, traders from various nations and more copacetic spirit towards indigenous peoples.

It's a positive image but the focus on only Pueblo Chile has dominated, even pushed aside other aspects of Hispanic life to be reduced down to a Fiesta Day Parade and Tex-Mex La Cocina dishes.

This is the space Pueblo Hispanics will have to settle in to change. What is Pueblo beyond Pueblo Chile for Hispanics?

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Minority Majority: Pueblo Hispanics must redefine what it means to be Hispanic in the Steel City
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