Chicano Park celebrates its 51st anniversary virtually

The celebration comes a year after the 50th was canceled due to the onset of COVID-19

Chicano Park sign

Gabriel Schneider

Chicano Park’s sign still has the 50th anniversary numbers, which was canceled last year due to COVID-19. Photo by Gabriel Schneider/City Times

Gabriel Schneider, Editor-in-Chief

Due to strict COVID-19 restrictions, the 50th anniversary of San Diego’s Chicano Park was canceled.

Instead, a small flag-raising event was held to commemorate the day in April 2020.

“It was basically some of us elders turning over the mantle to the next generation,” said Josie Talamantez, the board chair of the Chicano Park Museum. “Asking them to raise the flag, asking them to carry forth.”

The community of Chicano Park, a historical landmark with strong ties to San Diego City College, continued that mission this spring, celebrating its 51st anniversary virtually on YouTube April 19-25.

The theme of the event was “Healing the Past, Educating the Present, and Leading into the Future,” and it was marked with music, dance, cooking and education. 

Viewers had access to over 40 videos hosted by the Chicano Park Steering Committee, a grassroots organization focused on the development and expansion of Chicano Park and its mission.

The park is located in Barrio Logan, where the community and students in the area came together against the city to protect the land they were promised.

“Being Chicano is not just where you were born or where your parents were born,” Chicano Park muralist Victor Ochoa said. “You have to have a political attitude.”

Itza Villaboy, a student services assistant at San Diego City College and chair of San Diego Libros, said that Chicano Park has always been a part of her family and life. 

“One of our main goals right now (is) to get a lot of Spanish language and multilingual materials out into the community and then also make those connections between our community and higher education,” Villaboy said. 

Some of the organizations that participated in a recorded panel on this undertaking were Centro Cultural De La Raza, Unión del Barrio and Brown Berets de Aztlan San Diego


Muralists Xochitl Flores and German Corrales reflected on what Chicano Park means to them and the importance of learning from the elders of the movement.

Flores said she has connected so much with her art and her community being involved in the park. 

“This is how I express myself through these murals,” Corrales said. “It heals me when I’m here.”

La Danza Azteca is a modern mystic indigenous dance tradition of Central Mexico based on the cultural legacy of the Chichimec/Otomi tradition warrior tribes that lived north of the Aztec Empire at the time of the Spanish Invasion, according to Mexi’cayotl website.

Andrés Aguilar, a member of Danza Mexi’cayotl and a professor at San Diego State University, said that Chicano Park exists because of community action.

“(Danza) provides that spiritual space that also gives us strength to fight and keep moving forward and moving our community forward together,” Aguilar said.

For more information about Chicano Park, click here.