“The only way to take that park away is to wade through our blood”
I have never felt so blessed and thankful to be a Chicana on this special day; as I walked the grounds of the historical Chicano Park in Barrio Logan, San Diego California this week, all I can feel is gratitude and the experience still feels very surreal to me. To finally stand in front of these glorious murals that tells the stories of our Masters in the Arts as well as their own creative perspective of our revolutionary heroes and Gente Del Pueblo. It was a good day to feel BROWN & PROUD but the most important part of this journey is Lil Frida taking in all this Cultura and History. We all fight to keep history alive for our future generations, so this is just a taste of the many fruits we are leaving our children behind so they can reflect and know about themselves as well as learning the most important lessons of Life; that fighting for their lives and communities will never be in vain. For those who do not know the History of the Chicano Park or appreciate Arte; it might not seem as much as to walk thru pillars from under the Coronado bridge and freeway entrance; but the locals of this city as well as many supporters at one time were willing to fight with their own blood just to keep this park open for their neighborhood. To take back a piece of land that was promised to them and go against all odds, government officials and even if stopping construction bulldozers with a human chain was the only way to achieve their goal. The unity of the old and the young, locals, artists and students is to learn from and admire. Much respect to those that fought and still fight to keep this piece of Chicano land alive, filled with colorful arte everywhere as well as hosting low-rider shows, cultural and political events, but most importantly to allow us to walk thru this park and document Mexican, Chicano/a heritage.
The anxiety was rising as we got closer to the Chicano Park, and luckily we had some of our San Diego family welcoming us as they gave us a tour, explaining some of its history and personal stories of some of the artists and sculptures that had partaken in the beautification of its walls. Frida ran all throughout the park and enjoyed walking thru the Aztlan colorful rocks which are located on the side of the street. Apparently, some of the murals were covered with wood boards due to the construction and expansion of the park. They are adding a playground and outdoors gym for the neighborhood, but I was still able to take photos of most of the murals. We walked the entire park and ended up at this great restaurant called “Las Cuatro Milpas” just down the block from the Chicano Park. Mexican home-made food at its finest. We had the tacos de carne, chorizo con huevo bowls with rice and beans, and the salsa con chicharron and homemade tortillas de harina! I was in Manteca (lard) Heaven! The best way to seal the visit to Barrio Logan; with panzas filled with Nana’s cooking and the heat of the kitchen giving us all special skin glow. Will forever remember the taste of those tacos con salsita de chiles rojos and chicharron! If you find yourself on that side of town visiting, you must go and eat at Las Cuatro Milpas. And this is exactly what I am talking about, so lucky to be of Mexican decent; this is but merely a taste of our heritage. And this is why is so precious to us; great food, the hospitality from the locals, murals, history, arte and a sunny day on Barrio Logan at Chicano Park will forever hold a special place in our hearts. And even though we did not come during an event; the personal experience was even more intimate and the connection was so strong that it has impacted me so strongly, that even as I write, I can feel myself walking thru the grounds of the Chicano Park. Much thanks for giving us a VIP look into this park and its history; you know who you are!
Much Love & Respects,
Monica Smiles Tobon
For more information about the history and struggle to maintain the historical Chicano Park for Barrio Logan please click on the links below: