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January 21, 2017

Chicano Park – Urban Stroll San Diego

Below the Coronado Bay Bridge the state of California decided to build office buildings.  A passive sit-in by the local residents of Barrio Logan, students and concerned citizens halted that construction.   The birth of Chicano Park was secured, a relatively small park, but such a beautiful and interesting entrance to Barrio Logan.
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The ~8 acres has become a member of the National Register of Historic Places and listed in the registry February 1, 2013.  With the signature of President Obama on January 11, 2017 Chicano Park is now designated as a National Historic Landmark.

Our custom is to bike into the downtown area, with the ride starting at Spanish Landing, where a replica of Juan Cabrillo’s  San Salvador was built, and follow the bike path past the Convention Center, on to  surface streets to Chicano Park ~12mi RT.  However with the Women’s March downtown, the unpredictable rain and wind today we decided to drive.

As I was putting this together Suzanne of Take to the Highway posted a very appropriate take on her travel in rural Mexico and its daily life.

The first question is “What is a Chicano?”  The typical urban definition is an American citizen of Mexican heritage.  However it has taken on a much broader meaning to represent an ideology as shown in the murals in the park depicting La Raza as the Chicano Race.

The Birth of la Raza – The Race
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Neighborhood Yes Junkyards No!
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Throughout the park the mythical Aztlan, the homeland of the Aztec nation, is represented. 
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The Founder’s Wall includes portraits of famous Spanish, South American and Mexican figures.  Including images of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, the Axtec swastika, so there is some controversy about the murals. 
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In fact Che has his own pillar, as does artist Frida Kahlo.  “I tried to drown my deamons, but the bastards learned to swim …” ~Frida Kahlo
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The famous quote by Emilliano Zapata: “It’s Preferable to Die on Your Feet … Than Live on Your Knees”.  Raza Si, Migra No – is a call to accept The Race (Chicanos) and a protest against Migra (Immigration/Homeland Security) raids/deportation.  A very strong mural.
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Cesar Chavez (top left) led the farm workers movement in SoCal
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The community would like to eventually extend the murals under the Coronado Bridge the remaining distance to San Diego Bay.
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For a more complete list of the murals and their meanings visit the Murals page on the Chicano Park Website.
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The best known place for lunch in the Barrio is Las Cuatro Mipas (The Four Cornfields) with a continual line out the door.  Fresh hand made tortillas and the same limited menu since 1933.
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The San Diego Central Library is a huge dome structure near the south east corner of PetCo Park.  Parking is validated for the first 2 hrs.  We’ve been wanting to look it over.

The kids section is convenient on the 1st of 9 levels.  The 2nd and 3rd levels are via escalator.
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There are literally hundreds of computer stations for the public to use.  And space set set up your own. 
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Altho there is elevator service the stairs also go up to the dome on the 9th floor!  A bit of exercise for the day.
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With all the reading, study, research and Internet areas in the library – it also has an entire section dedicated to baseball! 
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