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Chicano Park

Part One

Chicano Park is a 7.4-acre park that is located in Barrio Logan, San Diego, beneath the east-west Bay bridge of San Diego. The park was created in 1970 after the Barrio Logan residents participated in a land take over that was being prepared for the Californian’s Highway Patrol. Barrio Logan relocated thousands of residents from their neighborhoods to create rezones, the area from a residential one to a light industry and to build the San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge. The decision to construct a substation became a defining moment for the community (Pasos, 1989). The residents decided to create a lasting landmark in their own style. This was the Chicano Park.

Since April 1970, the Chicano community of San Diego utilized the park as a place to hold their political and social events. The facilities of the park included restrooms, a kiosk, picnic areas, multipurpose courts among other facilities. The distinguishing figures of the park are murals, which are painted on the pillars by the Chicano artists from the local community and California. There are also ramps that are the San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge and abutments (Pasos, 1989).

The park was not created by the founding fathers of San Diego, nor was it created by the State of California as a recreational park for the public, but was created from resistance. This took place when the Barrio Lagan residents lacked faith about the consideration of their interests, when public policies were being crafted for the community. Logan Heights’ residents, in collaboration with the Chicano students and concerned citizens throughout the southwestern states, demonstrated against intolerance to neglect and create their part. The creation of the Chicano park was due to the determination of the community to be recognized. Artists came from far and near to specifically paint the Chicano’s park history (Pasos, 1989).

Part Two

Luis Valdez founded El Teatro Campesino (ETC) in 1965. During its founding years, it fought for the rights of Mexican farm workers. This was to enable them join the Farmers Union. The farmers union toured to rural areas where oppressed workers lived. The workings of their messages were felt, as they were not real actors but farm workers who were involved in the struggle for their lives.

El Teatro Campesino started with short performances in the field of California’s Central Valley. Its transformations started in a context of new awareness of cultural identities. These awareness brought new conciseness in their social, political and economic positions to minorities. This context provided major resources that contributed to the growth of El Teagro.   

Moreover, the minorities were the Chicanos and Mexicans who were no longer satisfied with the second-class status they received. Their works were created in public settings where they could be seen by the public. The Chicano artists, who followed in the movements of the traditional Mexican masters, used these to show the struggle of their community (Garza, 1976). They depicted the story of segregation, discrimination and lack of access to education, health and services.

The forms of El Teatro Campesino have undergone various cycles. However, the main themes remain constant. Within the Chicano identity, social awareness and their love for culture must remain strong to survive. The theater is useful, valuable and necessary for social awareness on injustices and pride in cultural heritage to prevent the Chicano culture from becoming invisible once more.

El Teatro Campesino’s actors have formulated and reproduced with aims of expressing Campesino’s and others in the society where they live (Garza, 1976). This will reach audiences and the international arena as long as El Teatro Campesino pours out the necessities for their survival.

El Teatro has therefore contributed greatly in bringing awareness about the Chican’s oppression, culture and practices (Garza, 1976). This has lead to the recognition of the minority throughout the United States. It has also led to the recognition and preservation of their culture and cultural practice.

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