On Wednesday, January 11, the US Department of the Interior announced that San Diego's Chicano Park was one of 24 new National Historic Landmarks.
Chicano Park plays a vital role in the Latino community in Barrio Logan and is widely know for its murals depicting diverse Latino culture and history — specifically a representation of the Chicano Civil Rights Movement
The rich history of the park began in April 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," the US Department of the Interior's press release states.
The park has become a place for both recreational and organized gatherings.
"This designation will ensure that the story of struggle and unity of the Mexican-American community in Barrio Logan will continue to be told."
The congressman of the 51st district in California, Juan Vargas, introduced the Chicano Park Preservation Act in October 2015 and was received in the Senate in December 2016 and passed. In the press release Vargas said, "The passage of my bill in the House is very exciting because this means that we are closer to ensuring that the beautiful murals, the rich history, and the cultural heritage that makes up Chicano Park will be safeguarded for years to come."
With news of the park's designation as a historical landmark, he released another statement.
"The spirit of a community that struggled for recognition and advocated for a space where children could play, as well as the vibrant murals and sculptures, make this park special and deserving of National Historic Landmark recognition," and added, "As a National Historic Landmark, Chicano Park will contribute to the diverse history of our nation for years and years to come."
Chicano Park is a powerful symbol of Chicano struggles and triumphs, and its recognition as such has been long overdue.
If you look at photos people have taken of the park, it's clear to see how important this is to the community.
We're thrilled that this park has earned its rightful landmark status.
If you're in the area, they will be throwing their 47th annual Chicano Park Day celebration on April 22.