Today we took our students on a mural field trip, stopping at different locations throughout San Diego and ending at Chicano Park. The whole experience was so much better than we could have hoped for. There were artists there restoring the murals who had worked on some of the originals in the early 1970s. They talked to my kids about their experience and why Chicano Park means so much to them and the community. It was beautiful.
A mural picture from the window of the bus.
If you don't know the story of Chicano Park, it is one that is inspirational. In summary, the city of San Diego decided to build interstate 5 (the Coronado Bridge) through the neighborhood of Logan Heights, displacing families from their homes and dividing the community with a concrete structure. The neighborhood fought to create a public park on the land below the bridge, but the city decided to begin building a highway patrol station on the property. The neighborhood banded together, protesting, demonstrating, and even building a human chain around the bulldozer. They occupied the land for twelve days, and eventually, the neighborhood succeeded and the city agreed they could create the park they had envisioned. They took their neighborhood back by turning the concrete jungle into canvases for art. Now today, they are in the process of restoring seventeen of the murals.
This is Felipe Adame. He created these two murals in the 1970s.
Today, he is working on the restoration project with other artists.
This is Guillermo Rosette, another original artist of the murals in the early 1970s, working on a restoration. They let me put on a hard hat and walk up the scaffolding to get a closer look. After talking with them, Felipe Adame said, I think you have the potential to be a future teacher. So I let him know that I actually was the teacher who had organized this field trip, although he thought I was a high school student.
This is Victor Ochoa, another original artist of the murals in the early 1970s.
Here are some other murals throughout the park.
I also liked this poem and the message it conveyed.
To me, Chicano Park tells a beautiful story of the success of nonviolent protest and neighborhood pride, and since we are in the midst of our nonviolence project and will be creating a mural ourselves, this place was a perfect one to take my students to.