Gene T. Chavez

Educator, historian and museum curator

Where were you born and raised?
I was born in Denver, Colorado and raised in Denver, Los Angeles, with frequent trips to New Mexico to visit relatives.

What is your family heritage?
My father's family came from Mexico to New Mexico and Southern Colorado. My mother's family came from Spain in the 1700s and settled in what is today New Mexico.

What is your occupation?
I am an educator, historian, and museum curator. I worked in private and public schools for 45 years.

How have you supported or contributed to the local Hispanic/Latinx community?
My life has been dedicated to educating Latinx youth and documenting and telling the history of Hispanic in the greater Kansas City region.

How do you connect with your Hispanic/Latinx culture?
I was raised speaking Spanish, and have identified as Hispanic all of my life. My work has focused on making life better for Latinos.

What is your favorite childhood memory?
My favorite childhood memory is spending summers in Northern New Mexico where my maternal grandparents lived and hearing them tell their stories about Hispanic and Indian people's lives before New Mexico became a U.S state in 1912.

What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?
Hispanic Heritage Month means that all Americans have a chance to get a glimpse of the rich heritage that Hispanics bring to the American macro-culture. Unfortunately, our story has been under-told, Hispanic Heritage Month affords an opportunity to share our history and heritage.

In your opinion, what is the most important issue facing the Hispanic/Latinx community?
The most important issue today is the threat by ultra-nationalist hate groups who think that American was made great by just one race. The truth is that the United States is a nation of immigrants who have brought the richness of their languages, customs, foods, and industriousness to make this country great.

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