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.”
After five years of meetings the Barrio Logan Community Plan Update was finally approved by the San Diego City Council in late 2013 only to have maritime industry make do on their threats to force a public referendum to nullify the plan. Maritime industry chose not to compromise with the residents and prefers to continue doing business as usual. They have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to maintain their status quo as Barrio Logan residents suffer from some of the highest asthma rates in the state.
The route of the march, lead by Calpulli Mexihca Aztec dancers in full regalia, took protestors down Harbor Dr. and past the three main corporate opponents of the community plan: Continental Maritime, BAE Systems and General Dynamics NASSCO.
Marchers chanted continuously along the route:
“Zapata vive! La lucha sigue!” (Zapata lives! The struggle continues!)
“El pueblo unido jamás será vencido!” (The people united will never be defeated!)
“¡La solución no es polución!” (The solution is not pollution!)
“No, no, no, NASSCO, no, no!”
A short rally was held in front of NASSCO as police and security guards looked on. A representative of Calpulli Mexihca read a statement in Spanish condemning NASSCO and other maritime industry polluters for their intransigence towards Barrio Logan residents and the community plan.
After the mini NASSCO rally the march moved back towards Chicano Park for a larger rally featuring speakers and entertainment.
“We believe we must organize ourselves to defend our community, not only to win the June 3, 2014 votes in favor of Prop. B & C, but to defend our community from the many other urgent issues we face including the lack of affordable housing, lack of quality healthcare, too much Police-Migra attacks, bad schools, and barrio violence. To address these issues we will continue to organize our community to defend and uphold our democratic and human rights,” stated organizers of the Zapata March.
The Zapata March is but one action that will take place between now and the June 3 primary election. More are in the works. And some will take the fight directly to the doorsteps of those that have been most vocal in opposition to the Barrio Logan Community Plan, including the Port of San Diego Ship Repair Association, The Lincoln Club, San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce and Southwest Strategies among others.
In June, the entire city of San Diego will get to vote on Propositions B & C. A yes vote on B & C will help ensure a healthy future for Barrio Logan’s children and residents. The passage of Props B & C won’t be an end all to the pollution issues faced by Barrio Logan denizens. It will take many years and many more fights. This vote is just one more step in the right direction. Vote yes for Barrio Logan! Vote yes for healthy neighborhoods! Vote yes on B & C!
Regarding the March to Get the Maritime Industry out of the Barrio – Just out of curiosity.. if all the maritime industy leaves BAE, NASSCo and the rest of the local supporting businesses.. What will the local buisnesses and the 6000 or so shipyard workers do for a living? Work for minimum wage for the hotels that want the waterfront property? Clean air & clean water absolutely keep them, adhering to EPA guidlines but people need to make a decent wage too
Doug Porter says
Funny, nobody else called the march that. In fact NOBODY is asking for the industry to leave the Barrio.
Five years of study and meetings failed to unearth the “fact” that any industry would leave. In fact the industry initially agreed to to the community plan as it is currently written in June 2013. The official economic study indicated a gain in employment.
So I have to conclude this is a LIE made up by people too cheap to admit that they are the cause of asthma and other health problems in the barrio.
Prove me wrong. Show us one study indicating industry would leave.
Brent E. Beltrán says
It was not a “March to Get the Maritime Industry out of the Barrio.” It was a march condemning Barrio Logan’s maritime industry for their intransigence towards the Barrio Logan Community Plan update, their proven-in-court lies to get signatures for the referendum and their continued poisoning of Barrio Logan residents. They are bad neighbors. They have refused to work in good faith with the community.
Props B & C do not remove the shipyards. In fact, the community plan’s engineer’s report states that more maritime industry jobs will be created through the plan than without.
Unfortunately, Allyson, you have bought into their narrative. Hopefully, you realize this and will vote yes on B & C on June 3. Healthy neighborhoods for all!