Margarita and Lorenzo Carriedo lived at 1759 National Ave in one of the bungalows owned by the late Mike Amador. They, like Mike, had grown up in Logan Heights in the 1920’s and 30’s and raised their own children there. Neighborhood House figures prominently in the memories of Margarita and two of her sons– Ruben and Marcos, all of whom I had the opportunity to interview. Mrs Carriedo, like so many of the other women I have interviewed, remembers Logan Heights as a neighborhood filled with maintained, well kept houses and lovely gardens. It was a good place to raise a family. [Read more…]
By Jorge Gonzalez / Environmental Health Coalition
For a long time, Barrio Logan needed an open space to cultivate community and healthy living. After years of listening to community requests, Environmental Health Coalition worked with residents to plant and grow the Chicano Park Herb Garden. [Read more…]
By Brent E. Beltrán
Editor’s Note: Chicano Park was designated as a National Historic Landmark on January 11, 2017. This 2013 article from the San Diego Free Press archives chronicles Chicano Park’s placement on the National Register of Historic Places.
On Friday, March 15, the Ides of March, there was a press conference at Chicano Park in my beloved Barrio Logan. The press conference was put together to announce Chicano Park being added to the National Register of Historic Places. In other words, Chicano Park was officially recognized as being a national treasure of the United States. Those of us who live in Logan and the various barrios throughout San Diego, California and beyond already recognize this fact. But, through the fine work of Chicano Park co-founder, Josie Talamantez, the nation now officially recognizes this.
In front of Chicano Park co-founders, activists, artists, professors and numerous members of the media Mayor Bob Filner gave praise to Chicano Park and those that struggled for a peoples park. He was followed by District 8 City Councilman David Alvarez, State Senator elect Ben Hueso, Chicano Park Steering Committee Chairperson Tommie Camarillo and Josie Talamantez who broke down the process and criteria for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places. It was a proud day for all involved in the creation and maintenance of Chicano Park. [Read more…]
As we were sitting in Victor Ochoa’s studio garage in Golden Hill the other day, I realized that even though we’d been friends since the late 1970’s, I didn’t know a whole lot about his earlier life before those heady days of the Seventies decade. I was wondering whether he remembered that I had helped arrange for him to be hired to paint murals at the Che Cafe up at UCSD – way back in in 1980 and 81. He did but he had a few different details.
“This is my favorite garage,” Victor said, as we settled in for our talk. Surrounding us on three sides inside the garage were painting materials and large plastic bins holding more painting stuff stacked up on shelves, brushes, cans of paint piled on each other, cans of spray paint in a shallow closest. There was a gas-powered airbrush machine that looked like a cross between a lawn mower and a Mars Rover.
In one corner, he had set up a type of shrine to his past, his family, his culture, with various memorabilia of his life. On another wall were posters of Pancho Villa and of more recent Chicano heroes, like Corky Gonzalez, and local activist Marco Anguiano. And along part of one of the walls were the books, the notebooks, the 3-ring binders, paper records, the manuscripts, the slides. [Read more…]
Surrounded by the famous murals that make Chicano Park a powerful and spiritual refuge on a regular day, it is impossible not to be affected by the deep traditions that make up the Chicano culture while visiting during the 43rd annual Chicano Park Day.
Not even the blistering sun could keep hundreds from coming to celebrate . This year marks the first that the park and its murals have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since being established by Chicano activists on April 22, 1970.
The event showcased classic cars, vendors, food, music and Aztec dancers, and was attended by couples and families alike — many of whom have been taking part in this celebration for years. [Read more…]
Resistance, Vision and Community
Chicano Park exists in Barrio Logan because of the construction of the San Diego-Coronado Bridge and the loss of property and displacement of lives that it caused. The community responded in a powerful, unique way. Residents couldn’t stop the construction, but they did lay claim to the land beneath the immense concrete pillars that enabled travelers above to make their way across the Coronado Bridge, oblivious to the transformation occurring below them. The land that was being readied for a California Highway Patrol substation was re-claimed as a long promised park. The reclamation began as a twelve day occupation that involved hundreds of people.
City Heights was likewise changed forever when eight city blocks along 40th Street- people’s homes and businesses–were scoured from the face of the earth in the early 1990’s to make way for the last connecting link of I-15, which extends from Canada to Mexico. City Heights would become a scorched earth community divided by an enormous ditch in keeping with Caltrans signature construction style. [Read more…]
I shakily tried to take a picture with my AT&T 3G cell phone of a cactus painted by Mario Chacon. I acquired it from him a while back in Chicano Park. I had to shade the painting from the glare of a blue sky with the sun shining high and bright and far and wide and finally I got about as good a picture as I was going to get no matter how hard I had tried.
Trite as it may seem my persistence in getting this snapshot was based on Mario telling me that the protrusions reaching out from the cactus spoke to the persistence of the indigenous people.
Being a simple minded person, that colored my thinking as I walked around the park with other people who were there, like me, to celebrate the restoration of the murals. Murals, as I see them, that stem from the long trail of heartaches that have plagued the Americas since the Spanish came by in drive-by style and created a reality wherein folks who had hunted, farmed, and gathered on those rich lands for thousands of years suddenly found themselves in poor standing in the only world they had ever known. [Read more…]
By Maria-Elena Ugalde
On January 11, 2017, Chicano Park was recognized as a National Historic Landmark. Native San Diegans and art historians are probably unaware of the hidden history behind San Diego’s Chicano Park murals. These murals appear to be linked to Mexico’s rich history and to legendary muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros, who inspired Gilberto Ramirez, and Guillermo “Yermo” Aranda, artist and chairman of Toltecas en Aztlán – a local Chicana/o artists’ collective group who also initiated the murals at Chicano Park.
San Diego’s Chicana/o murals did not simply materialize; a timeline suggests they appeared through a series of events. “It was turbulent in the late 1960s and early 1970s with protests of the Vietnam War and for human rights” recalls Jim Brega, San Diego State University (SDSU) alumnus. [Read more…]
The Mexican Repatriation and hard times
Editor Note: “Build a wall” and “Send them all back” have become the mantra of the Trump campaign and Republican party. This is not the first time in our history that racism and xenophobia have threatened our democracy and the lives of our citizenry.
Between 1929 and 1944, over two million people of Mexican descent were repatriated to Mexico. Sixty percent of these individuals, 1.1 million, were American citizens. This encore presentation of Maria Garcia’s article originally published in 2015 provides insight into how this policy affected the lives of people living in San Diego at the time.
As William Faulkner observed “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” [Read more…]
[Editor’s Note: Yesterday, more than 40 community members from Barrio Logan, Logan Heights and Sherman Heights attended a hearing to urge Port of San Diego commissioners to reduce pollution and incorporate community benefits into the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal Expansion plan.
According to the California Environmental Protection Agency’s environmental justice screening tool, CalEnviroScreen, Barrio Logan remains among the worst five percent of neighborhoods suffering from the cumulative impacts of pollution in California.
SDFP Editor Brent Beltrán was one of the speakers. Here is what he said.] [Read more…]
Art and life seamlessly merged a few weeks ago at Border X Brewery in Barrio Logan. It was the site of a launch party for Emmy award winning filmmaker Paul Espinosa’s latest project, a full length documentary about San Diego activist and musician Ramon “Chunky” Sanchez. It was a career milestone for both Espinosa, who is probably best known in San Diego for his critically acclaimed production of The Lemon Grove Incident and Chunky whose music has been a voice for social justice for over thirty years. [Read more…]