Logan Heights Restaurateur to Host Flor y Canto and Future Community Events
By Brent E. Beltrán
Flor y canto. Flower and song. Poetry. Music. Love.
This Saturday afternoon Mark Lane of Poppas’s Fresh Fish in Logan Heights is going to help share some musical and literary love. The parking lot of his small restaurant will be the site of the 3rd annual Flor y Canto Para Nuestros Niños y Niñas where poets and musicians will share their words on behalf of the border refugee children.
Mark Lane was thrust into the immigrant rights spotlight after calling for a boycott of Murrieta, California and taking in a refugee family from Guatemala. I interviewed him recently about the hate and threats he faced from those wanting to send refugee families back to their country of origin to face possible death.
He, along with many others, has turned that hate into love by starting a foundation called Poppa’s House to help families like his who are taking in refugee families. This Saturday’s event is the first of several to help support refugee children.
Though the Flor y Canto is free volunteers from Poppa’s House and Border Angels will be accepting monetary donations and donations of goods on behalf of the refugees.
Though hosted at Poppa’s Fresh Fish, this Saturday’s event is organized by San Francisco Bay area cultural organizations Talleres de Poesía, Acción Latina, Trabajo Cultural Caminante, Luna’s Press & Bookstore, and the local human rights organization Border Angels.
“We decided to bring the Flor y Canto to San Diego because we know there are shelters in Southern California where the refugee children from Central America and Mexico are staying until they are processed. This year we agreed to make it an event of collaboration and support for the children in shelters,” wrote organizer Jorge Tetl Argueta.
Saturday’s Flor y Canto is the second leg of their two part event. The first was held on August 23 at Acción Latina in San Francisco’s predominantly Latino, and quickly gentrifying, Mission District. At the event organizers collected items to take to San Diego for the refugee children living in shelters.
These social justice oriented cultural groups are caravanning to San Diego with Bay Area poets and musicians to drop off Spanish books, puzzles, coloring books, arts & crafts kits and other items they collected. While here they will be presenting their literary and musical talents to local barrio residents and supporters of the refugee children.
“We believe that this is a demonstration of solidarity for immigration reform and love for the children in shelters,” Jorge stated in a Facebook Message. “We would like to send the message that our children are not alone – that we the poets, musicians, artists, danzantes and cultural workers welcome them, with Flor y Canto.”
This is but the first of many cultural events to be organized in the parking lot of Poppa’s Fresh Fish. Mark Lane has many other ideas as well.
“We are currently planning an art show in the parking lot, showcasing Chicano and neighborhood artists. We are also working on a “Taste of Logan” event that would showcase different culinary shops from Logan Heights and Barrio Logan, food, desserts, drink, etc. We would also like to do a series of lowrider shows as well, that’s on the drawing board.
“We are currently in the process of putting together a farmer’s market in the parking lot. This would be on Saturday mornings. Fruits, veggies, and eggs only, no [pre-made/packaged] food or crafts, a true farmer’s market. We will accept EBT and WIC at this market and will be providing an educational tent that will teach healthier ways of preparing food.”
Mark Lane has not let his 15 minutes of fame go to his folliclely challenged head. He’s taken on the haters and has responded not in kind but with love. Hosting and organizing community events of varying nature and helping create Poppa’s House shows the love he has for humanity.
“We would love to see the community support Poppa’s House. This foundation I’ve created will provide direct economic aid to families taking care of refugee families. I think it is very important to harness the hate that was put out by the protesters in Murrieta and making it into something good. That is what we are doing, taking the hate and making it good.”
Let’s help a brother and a community out by returning the love.
The 3rd Annual Flor y Canto takes place Saturday, September 6 in the parking lot of Poppa’s Fresh Fish Company at 3227 Ocean View Blvd. in Logan Heights. It is free to the public but donations to Poppa’s House and Border Angels will be accepted.