The spirit of Aztlan Youth Brigade began with the planting of the sage garden on August 13th, 2021. In solidarity with Chicano Park’s sister territories, they planted trees, nopales, maíz, and sage. The youth that day took to the park with shovels, sage, and agave plants. The sweat and tears the soil now carries birthed the idea for the youth to come together and be one. The Aztlan Youth Brigade thus started the day of January 2nd, 2022, it was the first time we showed up as a group of kids who planned a clean-up at Chicano Park. Since then, we have had a park clean-up every month. On August 13th, 2022, Aztlan Youth Brigade curated an art show with all the kids who went to the Somos Chicano camp held by Revolucionarios. The day was full of people coming and appreciating the beautiful art the youth created. The curators and artists held a look of pride on their faces, along with the 2 young men who had bravely shared their poetry. Patricia and Lucas Cruz have opened up their space for AYB with open arms. The conversations they have had with many members and the amazing advice they have shared with us will forever be honored and used going forward. We have had the pleasure of receiving organizer training from Jesse Constancio and we are honored to have his words going forward for our organization. We are grateful for the training, advice, and stories he and many elders of the Chicano Park Steering Committee have shared with us, and we are excited to keep working alongside them. We are here to propel push the youth to higher education and embrace the roots that we all have. The spirituality and ancestry they have helps the youth grow with every step in their journey. Our grassroots organization has become a space for young kids to learn about their roots, get involved in their community, and push themselves forward through self-determination. We strive to set up our members and other youth with the tools they need to successfully lead themselves to their dreams.
Our ultimate goal is to push the youth to a higher education while answering any questions they have about our ancestors. In Santa Barbara, our sister chapter is going strong with their own events and leadership from Ortega Park. As we both grow independently, our communication with one another stays strong. Going forward, we hope to expand to our other Chicano and POC brothers and sisters so they have a space to learn about themselves and their history while pushing for their dreams. In order to go forward, it is crucial to know where you come from and your history. With the world we live in, Chicano youth constantly face the obstacle of being told “no”, but knowing a shared history and identity can ignite the fire to prove those people wrong. Thank you to Chicano Park Steering Committee, Chicano Park Museum and Cultural Center, and Aztlan Libre for the welcoming support, along with many small businesses and volunteers who have helped us with our events. Que Viva La Raza!
Aztlan Youth Brigade Pillar Committee Members
Aztlan Youth Brigade Artists & Contributing Members: