I was born and raised in California, so any time I’m able to get back to the west coast, it always feels like home, no matter where I touch down. It had been 20+ years since I had been back to San Diego, and I had never visited Chicano Park.
The history of Barrio Logan and Chicano Park goes back to the early 1900s, when refugees were trying to escape the violence of the Mexican Revolution. Many of them settled in Barrio Logan, then-called Logan Heights. During World War II, beachfront access was denied to its residents to accommodate war efforts. In the following years, Barrio Logan was rezoned as a mixed residential and industrial area, further cementing the growing feelings of resentment from the neighborhood’s largely Mexican-American population. The community was effectively split in two in 1963 when the city built a freeway through the middle of Barrio Logan, which also led to the displacement of several thousand residents.
The rise of the Civil Rights Movement and the Chicano Movement led to residents ultimately demanding a public park space. In 1970, Chicano Park was born.
To this day, Barrio Logan embodies the spirit the struggle, or “la lucha.” All across the country, different neighborhoods and their histories are being erased by gentrification and greedy developers. However, in San Diego’s Barrio Logan, we are seeing the blueprint on how to fight back.
It’s inspiring to see Latino-owned and ran shops, restaurants and galleries scattered throughout Barrio Logan. As someone who grew up and was influenced heavily by Chicano culture, Chicano Park Day felt like a pilgrimage. This year was the 48th anniversary, and from what I understand, it just keeps getting larger with each passing year. God willing, I’m definitely making a return trip to celebrate its 50th anniversary.
Below are some of the ranflas and gente that I was able to capture during our short trip. Aight peace.