Brent E. Beltrán

Thumbnail image for A Trail for Humanity’s Final Walk Begins in Chicano Park

A Trail for Humanity’s Final Walk Begins in Chicano Park

by Brent E. Beltrán 08.18.2014 Activism

Exclusive San Diego Free Press video package of the Barrio Logan portion of the 300+ mile pilgrimage to the border

Video by Horacio Jones

On the morning of Saturday, August 16 over 100 people gathered by the temescal (sweat lodge) in Chicano Park for a ceremony to honor the walkers of A Trail for Humanity. On July 22 a group of women and children left Merced, California on a journey south to the US-Mexico border in San Ysidro to pressure the Obama administration to put a halt to its deportation enforcement only policies; call for an end to the use of police as immigration enforcement agents; demand an end to family separations; and stem the tide of racial profiling that has incarcerated so many migrants and African Americans.

Read the full article → 2 comments
Thumbnail image for Looking Back at the Week at SDFP and OB Rag: August 10-16

Looking Back at the Week at SDFP and OB Rag: August 10-16

by Brent E. Beltrán 08.17.2014 Culture

Compiled by Brent E. Beltrán

This week’s edition of Looking Back at the Week features articles by San Diego Free Press and OB Rag regulars, irregulars, columnists, and at-large contributors on the GOP’s gubernatorial candidate, $20 Koch burgers, Ferguson, anti-minimum wage increase shill Jason Roe, the mayor’s war on the poor, A Trail for Humanity, Kingmaker Papa Doc, double toons by Junco, SD’s genome, a new Cold War, remembering Robin, Sea World losing money and building a bigger bathtub for Orcas and so much more from San Diego’s community journos. Go read them if you haven’t already.

Read the full article → 0 comments
Thumbnail image for A Trail for Humanity Comes to San Diego

A Trail for Humanity Comes to San Diego

by Brent E. Beltrán 08.14.2014 Activism

Marchers take a stand against violence targeting migrant women and children

By Brent E. Beltrán

On July 22 a group of mothers and their children began a journey from Merced, California to the U.S./Mexico border. This Saturday at 7am they will be at Chicano Park in Barrio Logan for the final leg of their pilgrimage.

After a ceremony at Chicano Park participants in A Trail for Humanity will leave around 8am and walk to Kimball Park in National City. From there they will be transported by vehicle to the MAAC Charter School in Chula Vista where they will have lunch.

After lunch and a brief rest they will continue their journey on foot to Larsen Field in San Ysidro. They will arrive at the park sometime between 3pm and 4pm where a rally will take place with speakers on immigration rights, danza Azteca and entertainment.

Read the full article → 0 comments
Thumbnail image for Looking Back at the Week at SDFP and OB Rag: August 3-9

Looking Back at the Week at SDFP and OB Rag: August 3-9

by Brent E. Beltrán 08.10.2014 Looking Back at the Week

Compiled by Brent E. Beltrán

This week’s edition of Looking Back at the Week features articles by San Diego Free Press and OB Rag regulars, irregulars, columnists, and at-large contributors on our cowardly mayor vetoing the minimum wage ordinance, a Logan Heights businessman getting hated on, two Machete toons, video poetry from Ish, ACLU appealing Esco’s shelter denial, Extreme Weather Watch, the continuing story of the Neighborhood House, Who’s Running SD continues with Papa Ugh Manchester, the journey of unaccompanied minors, Wall St. redevelopment schemes, Lucas O’Conner contemplates what could have been, reverberations of OB plan vote, and lots more San Diego community journo stuff. If you haven’t read them yet then now’s the time. Get to it!

Read the full article → 0 comments
Thumbnail image for Logan Heights Restaurateur Faces Hate for Supporting Refugee Children

Logan Heights Restaurateur Faces Hate for Supporting Refugee Children

by Brent E. Beltrán 08.07.2014 Activism

“They’re not gonna make me not live. There not gonna make me stop what I’m doing. If anything they’re making my resolve harder and firmer.”

By Brent E. Beltrán

Last week I found out there’s this restaurant owner in Logan Heights that has been facing death threats from the people that have been hating on the refugee children from Central America. Mark Lane, owner of Poppa’s Fresh Fish, has received numerous phone calls and social media messages calling for his death and that of his family after calling for a boycott of Murrieta, Hate City USA, and for taking in a refugee family from Guatemala.

After hearing about the death threats and the attempted boycott of his business by hateful bigots I thought I’d contact him and see if he was willing to talk about his situation. He was and he had a lot to say.

Read the full article → 15 comments
Thumbnail image for Looking Back at the Week at SDFP and OB Rag: July 27-August 2

Looking Back at the Week at SDFP and OB Rag: July 27-August 2

by Brent E. Beltrán 08.03.2014 Looking Back at the Week

Compiled by Brent E. Beltrán

This week’s edition of Looking Back at the Week features articles by San Diego Free Press and OB Rag regulars, irregulars, columnists, and at-large contributors on the minimum wage and civil disobedience, the unjust firing of SCPA’s principal, a well spent Saturday at Comic-Con, the border refugee crisis, Kaskari’s ridiculous homeless stunt, Labor Studies at City, Sheriff Joe hating in Ramona, Escondido just hating, P100 program targeting the poor, North Pacific Dispatches, Who Runs SD, the OB plan getting approved and lots more good stuff from San Diego’s finest community journalists and writers. If you haven’t read them yet then now is the time to catch up. So what are you waiting for? Read them!

Read the full article → 0 comments
Thumbnail image for Looking Back at the Week at SDFP and OB Rag: July 20-26

Looking Back at the Week at SDFP and OB Rag: July 20-26

by Brent E. Beltrán 07.27.2014 Books & Poetry

Compiled by Brent E. Beltrán

This week’s edition of Looking Back at the Week features articles by San Diego Free Press and OB Rag regulars and at-large contributors on Comic-Con, a proud day for activism, stinky SDPD, the Mayor’s climate indifference, GOP wanting to impeach, minimum wage, Obama and Cap America, Neighborhood House, for-profit colleges, who runs San Diego, bare facts, native solidarity, El Machete, OB planning and lots more.

Read the full article → 0 comments
Thumbnail image for Spotlight on San Diego Artist/Animator Tony Washington

Spotlight on San Diego Artist/Animator Tony Washington

by Brent E. Beltrán 07.25.2014 Arts

He started in comics at eighteen and twenty years later continues his dream

By Brent E. Beltrán

There is a tremendous amount of homegrown San Diego talent that contributes in various ways to making popular culture and Comic-Con what it is. Going into Comic-Con I wanted to profile one such individual.

The person that came to mind is someone who has become part of my extended family, Anthony Washington. Tony was born in Detroit, Michigan but didn’t live there long. With his dad in the navy he moved around the country a lot and eventually settled into Imperial Beach. Though not born here Tony still considers himself a native San Diegan.

At 38 years old Anthony Washington gets to do what he loves: draw.

On Preview Night at Comic-Con I interviewed him about his background, his influences, how he got started, what projects he’s worked on, what he’s got coming up and what advice he’d give to wannabe comic book artists looking to get into the business.

Read the full article → 2 comments
Thumbnail image for The Return of Comic-Con International: Revenge of the Press Release

The Return of Comic-Con International: Revenge of the Press Release

by Brent E. Beltrán 07.23.2014 Arts

SDFP Writer Inundated with Comic-Con Related Emails

By Brent E. Beltrán

Last year I covered Comic-Con for San Diego Free Press. I wrote five articles in a series I called Adventures in Comic-Conlandia: A Nerds-eye View. You can read them here: Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV & Part 5. This was my first attempt at writing about something I had loved since I started attending back in 1986. Though grueling I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and will cover the event again this week. I plan on being not so ambitious this year.

Sometimes Comic-Con sneaks up on you. You don’t know it is here until trolley station signs are written in Klingon or you’re standing in line for a happy hour beverage next to a Stormtrooper.

For me that wasn’t the case this year. You see, I’ve been inundated with press releases for the past month and it’s picked up even more within the last week. I’ve been sent hundreds of emails from the various media, toy and comic book companies that want to get the word out about their latest film, action figure or storyline.

Read the full article → 6 comments
Thumbnail image for Looking Back at the Week at SDFP and OB Rag: July 13-19

Looking Back at the Week at SDFP and OB Rag: July 13-19

by Brent E. Beltrán 07.20.2014 Activism

Compiled by Brent E. Beltrán

Starting today San Diego Free Press will publish a new column every Sunday morning called Looking Back at the Week. This new column will feature links to articles from the previous week from SDFP and OB Rag’s regular and at-large contributors including Doug Porter, Frank Gormlie, Jim Miller, Ernie McCray, John Lawrence, Anna Daniels, Junco Canché, Brent E. Beltrán, and others. In case you missed their articles during the week this will be your chance to catch up on what they’ve been writing about.

This week’s edition features articles on the minimum wage increase, the Federal Reserve, immigration, DeMaio flush with Koch and Tea money, SDFP and OB Rag receiving awards, the OB community plan, two Junco toons, Jews speaking out against Gaza offensive, The Orphan of Zhao, Neighborhood House, and more.

Read the full article → 0 comments
Thumbnail image for San Diegans Rally on Behalf of Central American Refugee Children

San Diegans Rally on Behalf of Central American Refugee Children

by Brent E. Beltrán 07.10.2014 Activism

Acceptance and Love in the Face of Bigotry and Hate

By Brent E. Beltrán

On the evening of July ninth approximately 200 people from San Diego gathered for a rally and vigil at the Federal Building Downtown to show their solidarity with the refugee children of Central America.

The rally, called Demonstration in SOLIDARITY with the National Action for the Children and a Vigil for Love, was part of a series of actions across the US showing support for the children.

The refugees came to the forefront of America’s consciousness after bigots decided to block the buses these children were riding in. The buses were transporting these unaccompanied minors to get processed at an immigration facility in Murrieta, Ca.

The blocking of the buses unleashed a moral crisis in Murrieta and across the country as angry, mostly white people, let loose their bigoted ways against children whose only crime was to escape the violence of their own countries, much of which was instigated by past US policies in the region.

Read the full article → 6 comments
Thumbnail image for Latino Playwright Herbert Siguenza Talks Culture Clash, Perceptions and Legacy

Latino Playwright Herbert Siguenza Talks Culture Clash, Perceptions and Legacy

by Brent E. Beltrán 06.26.2014 Desde la Logan

The second of a two-part interview with the influential teatrista

By Brent E. Beltrán

I recently sat down with playwright and actor Herbert Siguenza for an interview about his work. This is Part II of the two-part interview.

In Part I we talked about his new play El Henry, a joint production between the La Jolla Playhouse and the San Diego Rep, and his next play Stealing Heaven about Yippie activist Abbie Hoffman.

In Part II we discuss the 30th anniversary of Culture Clash, him being a political writer, non-Chicano perceptions of his and Culture Clash’s work, his legacy as a teatrista and what he would say to aspiring Latina/o playwrights.

Read the full article → 1 comment
Thumbnail image for Latino Playwright Herbert Siguenza Brings El Henry and Abbie Hoffman Into the 21st Century

Latino Playwright Herbert Siguenza Brings El Henry and Abbie Hoffman Into the 21st Century

by Brent E. Beltrán 06.25.2014 Desde la Logan

The first of a two-part interview with the influential Culture Clash teatrista

By Brent E. Beltrán

I’ve had the honor to work within the Chicano arts and culture community for over fifteen years as a publisher, curator, writer, organizer, volunteer and patron. I’ve met many wonderful and talented artists throughout this time.

One of them, Herbert Siguenza, gave me a call the other day and said he and his three year-old daughter Belen were across the street from my apartment to get a paleta from Tocumbo Ice Cream. He wanted to know if my son Dino and I were available to join them. Never wanting to miss out on a good conversation Dino and I decided to go meet up with them.

When we arrived Belen was splashing about in the Mercado del Barrio fountain and Dino quickly joined her. After the children got soaked we walked over to Tocumbo’s.

Since I had been meaning to interview Herbert regarding his new play El Henry I decided on the spot to interview him right outside the ice cream parlor. I opened my Voice Memos app on my iPhone and starting asking questions. This is the first of two parts. Minor editing was done to help the the piece flow.

Read the full article → 0 comments
Thumbnail image for Barrio Logan Residents Spoil Mayor’s Pro-Pollution Presser

Barrio Logan Residents Spoil Mayor’s Pro-Pollution Presser

by Brent E. Beltrán 05.22.2014 Activism

Desde la Logan columnist amongst “hecklers”

By Brent E. Beltrán

Oops, we did it again.

A handful of Barrio Logan residents, including artist Hector Villegas, my wife Olympia, my son Sandino and myself, gave Mayor Faulconer, ex-Mayor and current corporate shill Jerry Sanders and shipyard mouthpiece Len Hering a piece of our minds and vocal chords at a press conference against Propositions B and C and the Barrio Logan Community Plan.

The press conference took place outside City Hall and was attended by the same suits that have been speaking out against the plan for months. Except this time they didn’t bus in shipyard workers.

Having received a tip, from someone close to the No on B and C campaign, an hour before the presser Hector and my family decided to take action. Olympia made a couple of handmade signs for her and Dino to hold. I brought dust masks to wear as a symbol of Barrio Logan pollution and Hector brought the respirator that he uses while painting.

We got there a few minutes before the press conference started and saw the suits lingering around. When the Mayor showed up we knew it was about to start and we were ready.

Read the full article → 13 comments
Thumbnail image for Street Tacos and Craft Beer Come to Barrio Logan

Street Tacos and Craft Beer Come to Barrio Logan

by Brent E. Beltrán 05.11.2014 Culture

San Diego Taco Company and Border X Brewing Join Forces to Help the Barrio Renaissance

By Brent E. Beltrán

Barrio Logan, San Diego’s hub for Chicano art, culture and activism, is now a destination spot for taco connoisseurs and craft beer aficionados. La Logan has always had culinary and beer tradition with places like the ever busy Las Cuatro Milpas and the long closed down Aztec Brewery. So beer and tacos isn’t a new phenomenon to this working class barrio.

What is new is the decision of catering business San Diego Taco Company and Otay Mesa beer makers Border X Brewing to combine efforts and open a joint tasting room and taqueria on the corner of Logan Ave and Sampson St. in the historic section of Barrio Logan.

The combination of beer and tacos has been a part Mexican food culture ever since Germans brought their brewing techniques to Mexico. And Ernie Pio Becerra of San Diego Taco Company and David Favela of Border X Brewing are carrying on that tradition by serving fresh, handmade tacos and unique craft brews tailored to the tastes of mexicanos and those that appreciate our delicious flavors.

“It’s a great combination of not only the food but the beer and the art all in one place,” says artist and frequent patron Max Bojorquez.

Read the full article → 10 comments
Thumbnail image for Cyclists Take Over Barrio Logan for a Day

Cyclists Take Over Barrio Logan for a Day

by Brent E. Beltrán 05.04.2014 Desde la Logan

Photos from the 18th Annual Barrio Logan Grand Prix

By Brent E. Beltrán

On Saturday May 3 hundreds of cycling enthusiasts from throughout the region and beyond descended on San Diego’s most historic Mexican community for the 18th annual Barrio Logan Grand Prix.

This event, organized by the San Diego Bicycle Club to benefit the Logan Heights Family Health Center, has become one of the largest cycling events in southern California.

The Barrio Logan Grand Prix coincides each year with the Logan Heights Family Health Center Health Fair that offers free health screenings, free children’s vaccinations, free pregnancy testing, food, entertainment and prizes for those in attendance.

Read the full article → 0 comments
Thumbnail image for San Diego’s Maritime Industry Calls the Cops on Peaceful Protestors

San Diego’s Maritime Industry Calls the Cops on Peaceful Protestors

by Brent E. Beltrán 04.25.2014 Activism

Five Barrio Logan residents and supporters stand their ground

By Brent E. Beltrán

I wasn’t planning on writing a column today but since maritime industry called the cops on my two year old son, his grandma, two others and myself, I changed my mind.

On Thursday morning I got up early. The day before, I found out that maritime industry was going to hold a press conference at 10:30am at R.E. Staite Engineering near the shipyards. This was only about 6 blocks or so away from my Barrio Logan apartment.

I’ve been itching to do a protest against maritime industry and their opposition to the Barrio Logan Community Plan Update. With them holding their presser within walking distance I knew I had to do something.

With the press conference taking place on a weekday morning, and less than a day’s notice to quietly get the word out (catching them off guard would be key), I knew there would not be a large turnout. Nonetheless, I had to do something, even if it was just my son Dino and myself.

Read the full article → 16 comments
Thumbnail image for Poem of the Day: “Vato Loco de la Maravilla” by Manuel J. Vélez

Poem of the Day: “Vato Loco de la Maravilla” by Manuel J. Vélez

by Brent E. Beltrán 04.24.2014 Books & Poetry

By Brent E. Beltrán

In 1997 I co-founded the Chicano literary publishing company Calaca Press. In 1998 Calaca Press published it’s first book, a collection of poetry called Bus Stops and Other Poems by Manuel J. Vélez. Inside this sixty-four page tome, which included amazing artwork by Chicano Park muralist Victor Ochoa, was a poem called “Vato Loco de la Maravilla.” The poem, using caló (a code-switching hybrid language of Chicanos using English and Spanish in the same sentence and sometimes within the same word), highlights life inside the barrio and how stereotypes of barrio youth can be used to justify negative perceptions by “the judge, the news, and us.” Since the book came out the author has become a tenured Associate Professor of Chicana/Chicano Studies at Mesa College. Bus Stops and Other Poems may no longer be in print but the poem “Vato Loco de la Maravilla” remains with us in video form.

Read the full article → 4 comments
Thumbnail image for New Chicano Park Muralists Are Honored to Paint in the Park

New Chicano Park Muralists Are Honored to Paint in the Park

by Brent E. Beltrán 04.16.2014 Arts

44th annual Chicano Park Day Celebration this Saturday

By Brent E. Beltrán

The Chicano Park Steering Committee and thousands of their friends will be celebrating the 44th anniversary of the takeover of Chicano Park this Saturday in San Diego’s Barrio Logan. The theme of the celebration is “La Tierra Es De Quien La Trabaja: The Land Belongs To Those Who Work It.” 

Last year I wrote:

“On April 22, 1970 a rag tag group of artists, activists, and community members joined forces and took over the land underneath the San Diego-Coronado Bridge in Barrio Logan. At the time, construction was about to begin on the building of a California Highway Patrol substation. For many years, residents of Barrio Logan had been promised a park. Seeing the pending creation of a CHP substation was the straw that broke this barrio’s back.”

Every year the community of Barrio Logan, as well as Chicanas and Chicanos from all over, and our friends and allies, all come together to celebrate the takeover of the area underneath the San Diego-Coronado Bridge.

Read the full article → 0 comments
Thumbnail image for Barrio Logan Commemorates Mexican Revolutionary Leader and Defends Right to a Clean and Healthy Neighborhood

Barrio Logan Commemorates Mexican Revolutionary Leader and Defends Right to a Clean and Healthy Neighborhood

by Brent E. Beltrán 04.13.2014 Activism

Hundreds rally and march in opposition to maritime industry pollution

By Brent E. Beltrán

The Mexican community of San Diego and their supporters came together on Saturday in Barrio Logan’s Chicano Park to commemorate the 95th anniversary of the assassination of Mexican revolutionary leader Emiliano Zapata and to rally and march in opposition to maritime industry’s continued poisoning of this proud and defiant neighborhood.

The 10th annual Zapata March was organized by Mexican and Chicano activist groups Unión del Barrio, M.E.Ch.A. and Colectivo Zapatista with support from other radical organizations. The action was organized under the theme of “The Solution to Pollution is Revolution.”

Organizers “felt it was important to draw attention to the racist attempt by powerful ship building companies to overturn the Barrio Logan Community Plan and keep polluting our neighborhoods as they have done for decades.”

Read the full article → 3 comments
Thumbnail image for Barrio Logan: Arts and Culture

Barrio Logan: Arts and Culture

by Brent E. Beltrán 04.13.2014 Arts

Film by Media Arts Center’s Teen Producers Project
Intro by Brent E. Beltrán

With the ballot battle looming over the future of Barrio Logan, due to Maritime Industry’s refusal to accept the Barrio Logan Community Plan update, I feel it is necessary to give voters of the city of San Diego a little history of Barrio Logan and highlight the issues residents face. In June, eligible San Diego voters will go to the polls to vote on whether to approve the community plan or reject it.

Over the next few weeks I will post a video on Sundays that highlights the community of Barrio Logan and the beauty within San Diego’s most historic barrio.

This week’s video, Barrio Logan: Arts and Culture, is about how arts and culture are an integral part of Barrio Logan’s identity.

Read the full article → 0 comments
Thumbnail image for Video: Barrio Logan College Institute

Video: Barrio Logan College Institute

by Brent E. Beltrán 04.06.2014 Battle for Barrio Logan

Film by Barrio Logan College Institute
Intro by Brent E. Beltrán

With the ballot battle looming over the future of Barrio Logan, due to Maritime Industry’s refusal to accept the Barrio Logan Community Plan update, I feel it is necessary to give voters of the city of San Diego a little history of Barrio Logan and highlight the issues residents face. In June, eligible San Diego voters will go to the polls to vote on whether to approve the community plan or reject it.

Over the next few weeks I will post a video on Sundays that highlights the community of Barrio Logan and the beauty within San Diego’s most historic barrio.

This week’s video is on the Barrio Logan College Institute, an  important, educational non-profit organization that helps barrio kids, most the first in their family, go to college.

Read the full article → 0 comments
Thumbnail image for El Padre del Barrio: Father Brown

El Padre del Barrio: Father Brown

by Brent E. Beltrán 03.30.2014 Battle for Barrio Logan

Film by Media Arts Center’s Teen Producers Project.
Intro by Brent E. Beltrán

With the ballot battle looming over the future of Barrio Logan, due to Maritime Industry’s refusal to accept the Barrio Logan Community Plan update, I feel it is necessary to give voters of the city of San Diego a little history of Barrio Logan and highlight the issues residents face. In June, eligible San Diego voters will go to the polls to vote on whether to approve the community plan or reject it.

Over the next few weeks I will post a video on Sundays that highlights the community of Barrio Logan and the beauty within San Diego’s most historic barrio.

This week’s video is El Padre del Barrio, a short documentary on Father Brown and his dedication to Barrio Logan and its residents.

Read the full article → 0 comments
Thumbnail image for Love Transcends Borders and Legal Status

Love Transcends Borders and Legal Status

by Brent E. Beltrán 03.26.2014 Desde la Logan

Shameful immigration policies separate loved ones

By Brent E. Beltrán

Love doesn’t recognize borders. It doesn’t know if the person you love has papers or if they have done time for youthful indiscretions. None of that matters to love because love transcends all. My cousin Alma, who grew up on 29th St. near K St. in Grant Hill, knows about this kind of love. She and her children live it every day.

My cousin fell in love with, and eventually married, her husband Juan. Him not having legal status to live in the US didn’t bother her whatsoever. She was in love and her heart didn’t care if the man she wanted to be with was allowed to be in this country legally or not.

Alma met Juan in Tijuana in 1997. They must’ve hit it off pretty good because within a few months she was pregnant with their first child. At the time Juan used a temporary crossing card that he had had since he was eleven years old to cross the border. But when he used it he was breaking the law because he had been previously deported after being convicted of burglary.

Juan used to be in a gang. He lived the typical, poor, working class barrio lifestyle and all of the negatives that comes with that. Joining a gang helped him cope. Readers can judge all they want but if you don’t live this reality you will never understand the pressures of joining a gang and the hardships of living in the barrio.

After being convicted he served about two years between 1995-1997. Upon release he was deported. The same year he was released he met my cousin and his life changed. Love has a way of changing people. And for Juan it was for the better. When he found out they were pregnant he knew he could never be the person that he was.

Read the full article → 9 comments
Thumbnail image for Chicano Park Documentary by Redbird Films

Chicano Park Documentary by Redbird Films

by Brent E. Beltrán 03.23.2014 Arts

Video by Redbird Films
Intro by Brent E. Beltrán

With the ballot battle looming over the future of Barrio Logan, due to Maritime Industry’s refusal to accept the Barrio Logan Community Plan update, I feel it is necessary to give voters of the city of San Diego a little history of Barrio Logan and highlight the issues residents face. In June, eligible San Diego voters will go to the polls to vote on wether to approve the community plan or reject it.

Over the next few weeks I will post a video on Sundays that highlights the community of Barrio Logan and the beauty within San Diego’s most historic barrio.

This week’s video is the classic Chicano Park documentary produced in 1989 by Redbird Films. The film, narrated by veteran actor Tony Plana, depicts the founding and history of this world famous historical site.

Read the full article → 1 comment