Chicano Park Steering Committee

P.O. Box 12524
San Diego, CA 92112

(619) 563-4661 

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2020 Chicano Park Day Program Ads Info
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QPED/RIP Fernando Lucero, Pablo Aceves, Raul José Jaquez, Felipe Adame, Howard Hollman, Rebecca Romero, Ramon "Chunky" Sanchez, Rico Bueno, David Savage, Cruz and AnnaMarie Contreras, Andre Banks, and Francine Jimenez 

IRENE MENA, PRESENTE!

                     

The Chicano Park Steering Committee remembers and honors one of our own: La Generala and Grandmother of the Brown Berets: Irene Mena.

Irene Mena was at the heart of the movimiento – always leading by example at the forefront of the occupation and takeover of Chicano Park, the Neighborhood house, and the Ford Building in the 1970s. Born in the barrio of Logan Heights on June 3, 1929, Irene was committed to giving nuestra gente a courageous voice that demanded to be heard!  She devoted her life to working in, and occupying schools, universities, churches,  neighborhood organizations, and offices of politicos- all in the service of others and driven by her heartfelt compassion for her people. People like: Chunky Sanchez, Raul Portillo, Rico Bueno, Ron Trujillo, José Gómez, Tommie Camarillo, David Rico Sr., and Angie Avila.

Tommie remembers:

"Irene Mena was my friend and we met way back in the 1970s during the takeover of Chicano Park. She was a badass and I have many good memories of her in the struggle. The thing I will remember the most about my friend Irene is that she had a very big heart and was very kind to everyone. I don't remember her ever putting anyone down and she always encouraged young people to get involved in the movement and reminded them that they needed to earn their part by working side by side with their elders. You know, Irene loved my mom Rufina very much and would always try to find her a boyfriend. Good memories. I will really miss my dear friend. Irene Mena Presente!"

David remembers:

“ I could write a book about Irene Mena. Irene was a symbol of liberation and justice for all Chicanas and Chicanos. She is an inspiration to all and especially for Chicana revolutionary thought. From the takeover of Neighborhood house to Chicano Park, there is not one thing I can think of where Irene was not involved in. She talked about issues and then she got them done and I am a witness to that. And the thing about Irene is that her activism never stopped and it continued up until her last days. Irene Mena’s legacy lives on and continue as an inspiration to our people!”

Angie remembers:

“Irene Mena was fearless, authentic, and unpretentious Chicana-Filipina.  50 years ago, with the making of Chicano Park, Irene and Huera would call me every day and lay out their expectations and disappointments of the Movimiento Chicano. Irene was always honest with us during the creation of the Park; she had our trust, she kept our Chicano Park movidas secret, and always had our backs. Peace be with you colega.” 

The Chicano Park Steering Committee honors our Generala by remembering her words:

“Nothing was ever given to us. We had to fight for it. And it was no one person who did it; it was a collective of people who were concerned about equal rights. We had to organize and go to meeting after meeting to be heard. We marched, protested, & wrote letters for them to listen to our demands for health, education & community centers.”

She leaves us with a message to our youth:    Be educated! Realize you have to fight for what you want. Progress and learn how to reach your goal in life!”

¡Irene Mena Presente!

Chicano Park Steering Committee – 6.30.2020

GoFundMe campaign to cover costs of services and memorial


The Chicano Park Steering Committee stands in solidarity with the families of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and too many others. We honor and respect all struggles and collective protests that cry out for human dignity just like our activists and elders did over fifty years ago. We unequivocally reject all forms of law enforcement and border patrol violence and abuses that seek to surveil and kill members of our community that has existed throughout our history.

The Chicano Park Steering Committee stands with the family of George Floyd who condemn all forms of violence and who are calling for peace in our communities. It is within this spirit that we call on all goodwill people seeking social justice to respect the legacy of Chicano Park. We collectively proclaim that the physical space of Chicano Park [La Tierra Mía] is a living symbol of resistance and community self-determination to be protected and honored for all who stand for justice for our respective communities. Please respect our murals and our park and stand with us as we denounce all forms of violence!

Our deepest condolences to the Floyd family and all who have died at the hands of law enforcement. 

Black Lives Matter!         

George Floyd, Presente!


Next Chicano Park Day planned for Sat. April 24, 2021

Organized by the Chicano Park Steering Committee, Stewards of Chicano Park

The next Chicano Park Day, celebrating the 50th-51st anniversary is planned for Saturday, April 24, 2021, in historic Chicano Park, located in the Logan Heights community, south of downtown San Diego under the San Diego-Coronado bridge. The theme will be 'From Takeover to Landmark: 50 Years of Chicano Self-Determination and Resistance on Kumeyaay Land."

Visitors to Chicano Park Day will experience traditional music and dance, including one of the most beautiful performances of Aztec Indigenous dance, coordinated by Danza Azteca Calpulli Mexihca. The event will include performances by ballet folklorico groups, danza rebelde, speakers, and numerous live bands on two stages.  In addition, there will be a display of more than 300 classic lowrider cars presented by Amigos Car Club, children’s art workshops, and various informational booths. Food, and arts and crafts vendors will be selling their specialties throughout Chicano Park. This annual event is organized and presented entirely by volunteers, both those who contribute on the day of the event as well as those who work throughout the year to ensure a great celebration.

**NO ALCOHOL AND NO PETS are allowed at the event. Thank you for your cooperation.

Established by Chicano activists on April 22, 1970, Chicano Park has received international recognition as a major public art site for its commanding mural paintings of Mexican and Chicano history. The Park was recognized as a San Diego Cultural Resource by the San Diego Historical Society in 1980. In addition, Chicano Park has been listed on the California Register of Historical Resources since 1997, on the National Register of Historic Places in 2013 and was designated a National Historic Landmark on December 23, 2016.

View the 49th Chicano Park Day (April 20, 2019) Printed Program  

The Chicano Park Steering Committee is on Facebook

The Chicano Park Steering Committee YouTube Channel


Chicano Park @ 50: A Daily Reflection on La Tierra Mia, 4/21-4/26

 '50th Anniversary of Chicano Park" video by Andrew Norbeck & Carlos Solorio w/ Chicano Park Steering Committee and the Chicano Park Museum and Cultural Center

"Fifty Years Ago, Fed Up With The City's Neglect, a San Diego Community Rose Up to Create Chicano Park" by Eduardo Diaz, Smithsonian Magazine, April 28, 2020

 


The Spirit of Chicano Park / El Espiritu del Parque Chicano

A new bilingual children's book by Beatrice Zamora & illustrations by Maira Meza. Purchase at www.toltecapress.com  Proceeds will go to the  Chicano Park Steering Committee and Chicano Park Museum and Cultural Center.


Chicano Park Calendar: Commemorating 50 years of Chicano Park!

Support the all-volunteer Chicano Park Steering Committee by purchasing a 50th Anniversary Chicano Park calendar, a joint project of the CPSC and Amigos Car Club. The publication is $15 (+$3.50 for mailing if outside San Diego) for this 17-month calendar (January 2019 to May 2020) and includes a pull-out insert keepsake of the history of Chicano Park and the mural map. Bulk rates are: 50 calendars - $13 per copy; 100 calendars - $12 per copy; 500 calendars - $10 per copy; 1,000 calendars - $8 per copy, plus the cost of mailing if needed. Orders: chicanoparkcalendar@gmail.com

   

 

Thank you to all our volunteer tour guides and all the students, teachers, community members, and numerous other visitors from far and wide who take part in learning about Chicano Park's history and monumental murals.

        


Chicano Park Herb Garden

The Chicano Park Herb Garden is a collective community herbal garden for healing, restoring, learning, working and playing. Firmly rooted in the park's history, the garden is a testament to the vision and resolve of the Barrio Logan community. Established in 2015, the garden is the realization of a need to create safe, healthy, and open spaces for local families and visitors alike. Environmental Health Coalition (EHC), a non-profit organization fighting social and environmental justice in the region's low-income communities of color for more than 39 years, had been listening to community request for such a garden space in the park. The land parcel for the garden project is located next to the cactus garden adjacent to 'Return of Quetzalcoatl' mural. An active group of volunteers ranging from Barrio Logan community members, local business owners, area organizations, college/universities, and local K-12 schools, to people just walking by and lending a hand, maintain the Chicano Park Herb Garden. While EHC serves as a co-sponsor and coordinator of the space, the CPSC oversee all aspects of the park.

During the spring and summer, EHC coordinates free public events at the garden so community members can learn about gardening, soil amending, green spaces, and how building open spaces like the herb garden connects community members to each other, the natural world, and to environmental justice. The Chicano Park Herb Garden is a work in progress, constantly evolving in the hands of dedicated caretakers such as Jiapsi Gomez and the Gohlke family. A new mural project is currently underway, and if approved, will be the biggest in the park. This new mural's title, "Haawka: May the Fire in Your Heart Burn Bright" -- is a traditional Kumeyaay greeting. It represents the history of the Kumyaay, indigenous people of Southern and Baja California. True to the vision behind the Chicano Park Herb Garden, the mural presents visitors with an invitation to experience the community garden and live life in harmony with nature. EHC looks forward to sharing the mural with the community. Jorge Gonzalez is the Barrio Logan Organizer with EHC. If you are interested in volunteering or a group visit, please email him at JorgeG@environmentalhealth.org


Chicano Park Bathroom Expansion Project

Five new murals will be painted on the outside walls of the new bathrooms. The sketches below (by Patricia Aguayo, Hector Villegas, Giovanni Cerda ("MEX") and Sal Barajas) received the most votes at our July 2017 meeting.


Chicano Park approved for National Historic Landmark status

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced the designation of 24 new National Historic Landmarks on January 11, 2017 (December 23, 2016 officially approved). Chicano Park is among those sites. "On April 22, 1970, community residents occupied Chicano Park in San Diego, California, in an ultimately successful effort to prevent the construction of a California Highway Patrol substation on land where the City of San Diego had promised the neighborhood a community park. Representative of the Chicano Civil Rights Movement, Chicano Park has become a cultural and recreational gathering place for the Chicano community and is the location of the Chicano Park Monumental Murals, an exceptional assemblage of master mural artwork painted on the freeway bridge supports." Read complete press release here. Chicano Park has been listed on the California Register of Historical Resources since 1997 and was officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places on January 23, 2013. 


Recreation Improvements Completed
Ribbon-cutting held on November 5, 2015

Join the San Diego Urban Corps and the Chicano Park Steering Committee on November 5, 3pm to celebrate the improvements/additions including the children's playground, tiny tots area, new handball court, adult outdoor fitness area (and new grass planted adjacent), skate lane, Raul Jaquez metal artwork restored (and fountain tile work),and landscaping alongside the placita.

Read about SD Urban Corps's work in Pablo J. Sáinz article in La Prensa from July 24, 2015.

        

       


Tommie Camarillo Day at San Diego City Council, Sept. 20, 2016

Councilman David Alvarez on behalf of the San Diego City Council proclaimed September 20, 2016 to be Tomasa 'Tommie' Camarillo Day

..."WHEREAS, Tommie Camarillo has been a faithful steward and protector, dedicated to her love for a park that serves as a cultural anchor and symbolizes the importance of struggle, sacrifice, and equality; and..." (part of the proclamation)

   


Students Document Chicano Park Mural History

In 2012, Dr. Alberto Pulido's students at USD, in consultation with the Chicano Park Steering Committee, worked to update documentation of the murals at Chicano Park.The students worked diligently to re-create/update the Chicano Park mural map and have produced a gorgeous publication. A big thank you to the students!

Now a revised Chicano Park Murals Documentation Project publication (2015) is available. This revised book includes images of all the restored murals, along with information on the original artists involved in the restoration. At the front of the book is an easy-to-read map of all the murals and their location in the park. The book is available for $25 from Dr. Pulido (apulido@sandiego.edu) or at the monthly CPSC meeting and/or contact the CPSC cpscchicanopark@sbcglobal.net

                                

********************* 

A group of USD students, under the guidance of Professor Alberto Pulido, volunteered to be a part of the first Chicano Park-University of San Diego Documentation Project from January to May 2011.

Through the collection of oral histories, students documented the history of Chicano Park, Chicano/a history, and five unique aspects of Chicano/a cultural expression that emerged as a result of the establishment of Chicano Park. The five cultural expressions captured by this year's project are: Chicano Art as seen in the public and political biography of Victor Ochoa; Chicano Music as seen through the life of Ramon 'Chunky' Sanchez; Community Organizing (Chicano Park Steering Committee) as seen through the life of Tommie Camarillo; Danzantes (indigenous dance) as seen in the life of Rosa Olga Navarro; and Chicano Car Culture (low riders) as lived and experienced by Rigo Reyes.

Go to http://www.sandiego.edu/cas/es/students/chicano_park.php to view the presentations & posters.


         

Congratulations to Chunky Sanchez    
       2013 NEA National Heritage Fellow!  

http://arts.gov/honors/heritage/fellows/fellow.php?id=2013_09&type=bio

Information on all 2013 NEA National Heritage Fellows: http://arts.gov/honors/heritage/fellows/NHFIntro.php?year=2013

The community also celebrated the dedication of the Ramon "Chunky" Sanchez auditorium and mural unveiling (artwork by Sal Barajas & Francisco Contreras) at King Chavez Neighborhood of Schools, 415 - 31st St, San Diego 92102 on Wednesday, June 12, 2013.

"San Diego Musician Ramon "Chunky" Sanchez honored locally, nationally Katie Euphrat,KBPS, June 12, 2013: http://www.kpbs.org/news/2013/jun/12/san-diego-musician-ramon-chunky-sanchez-honored-lo/

 

NEA National Heritage Fellowships Concert was held on September 27 at Lisner Auditorium, George Washington University and the awards ceremony on September 25! For those of us not in Washington DC this week, the NEA streamed the concert live on its website: www.arts.gov  


Chicano Park Mural Restoration Project

The Chicano Park Mural Restoration Project was completed in August 2012. CalTrans announced the completion of the project on August 21, 2012. More news coverage here. 

For articles, photos and videos of the restored murals, click here or go to the 'Murals' and 'Press' links at the top of the page. 

Thank you to all who joined us on Saturday, August 25, 2012 to celebrate the newly restored/revitalized murals. The festivities began with the blessing of all the newly-restored murals by numerous Danza Azteca groups including Danza Azteca Calpulli Mexihca, Danza Mexi'coyotl, Toltecas en Aztlan, Danza Atlachinole, Danza Coatlicue Chemilitzli and Danza Quetzalhuzlin. In addition, Agua Dulce also performed and artists had their art on display.   

Awards: On September 20, 2012, the Chicano Park Steering Committee, along with CalTrans and Ghiradelli received the Rosa Parks Excellence in Diversity award at the Women's Transportation Seminar Annual Awards celebration. On October 11, 2012, the Chicano Park Mural Restoration Project received the "Grand Orchid" award at the 2012 Orchids & Onions Awards Ceremony held at the Museum of Contemporary Art, La Jolla.

Josie Talamantez & the Chicano Park Steering Committee were selected as the recipient of 2013 People in Preservation, Lifetime Achievement Award by the Save Our Heritge Organisation (SOHO). The 31st annual awards ceremony took place on Thursday, May 23, 2013. Shown below: Arturo Casares, Diane Bolivar, Tommie Camarillo, Josie Talamantez and Joe Le Blanc

  

National Register of Historic Places:
Chicano Park has been listed on the California Register of Historical Resources since 1997. The nomination of Chicano Park and the Chicano Park Monumental Murals for the National Register was approved by the California State Historical Resources Commission at their quarterly meeting on Friday, November 9, 2012. After the nomination was approved by the California State Historical Resources Commission, it was forwarded for consideration on the National Register of Historic Places. Chicano Park was officially listed in the National Register of Historic Places on January 23, 2013. The National Register focuses on buildings and structures, so the uniqueness of Chicano Park would set a different kind of precedent for the National Trust. Mil gracias to Josie Talamantez for her dedicated, diligent work behalf of the Chicano Park Steering Committee in this endeavor.

To read the approved nomination registration form, go to http://www.nps.gov/nr/feature/weekly_features/2013/CA_12001192.pdf


Chicano Park was founded on April 22, 1970 when the community of Barrio Logan and Chicano movement activists joined forces to protest the construction of a Highway Patrol station on the present site of the park. The Highway Patrol office was at the time the final insult to a community that had already been degraded by the demolition of hundreds of homes to make way for Interstate 5, the Coronado Bridge, the placement of toxic industries and junkyards, lack of community facilities, proper schools, jobs, social or medical services.

Protesters led by the Brown Berets, community activists, artists, M.E.Ch.A. and others took over the site and faced police and bulldozers for days while negotiations took place that resulted in the land being given over for a community park. In the following days and months similar actions by the same groups led to the forming of a Chicano Free Clinic, now known as the Logan Heights Family Health Center, and the Centro Cultural de la Raza in Balboa Park.

The struggle for Chicano Park came to symbolize the Chicano Mexicano people's struggle for self-determination and self-empowerment. The murals in the park painted by Chicano artists such as Victor Ochoa, Mario Torero, Yolanda Lopez, José Montoya, Sal Barajas, Juanishi Orosco, Berenice Badillo, Carmen Linares and many others portray the social, political and cultural issues that form the struggle for the liberation of Chicano Mexicanos.

Every year the community of Barrio Logan, the greater community of San Diego and people throughout the Southwest and across the US come together to celebrate the takeover of Chicano Park.

       


Slideshow from the 2006 Chicano Park Day celebration
Chicano Park Info:

Map of Chicano Park featuring each mural, names of artists, and dates.
What is the Chicano Park Steering Committee?
The Battle of Chicano Park: A Brief History of the Takeover
Press on Chicano Park
Link to Russ Hart's beautiful photos of Chicano Park