Chicano Park Steering Committee
The Chicano Park Steering Committee (CPSC) is a grassroots organization comprised of individuals who volunteer their time and energy to ensure that the original stated goals of the development and expansion of Chicano Park “all the way to the bay” are never forgotten or abandoned.
When we established ourselves in April of 1970 the CPSC’s stated objective was, “To oversee (on behalf of the community) the continuing development and expansion of the Chicano Park and to insure that the park would be developed in a Chicano/Mexicano/Indigenous style.” One of the original goals of the Chicano Park and the CPSC was to transform the cold gray concrete and rock-hard dirt that once dominated the site into a glorious space that would mirror and showcase the beauty, culture and spirit of the Chicano people. Today the murals in Chicano Park are world-famous and constitute (along with various sculptures) the world’s largest outdoor art gallery.
After 52 years of struggle through Self Determination, the Chicano Park Steering Committee has won numerous battles within the community against the State, the City, the County, Politicos, and white nationalist groups such as the KKK, Minutemen, and the Alt Right. Some of the struggles include:
- Building the Kiosko: The construction of the Kiosko (1972-77) went through a maze of San Diego City bureaucratic red tape. After years of meetings, the project was hijacked and funding withheld by so-called city council representative Jess Haro. Haro wanted a “Spanish style” architecture for the Kiosko.” When finally confronted at a community meeting, Haro backed off. The Kiosko was dedicated in 1977.
- All the Way to the Bay: The “All the Way to the Bay” (1970-87) campaign spearheaded by Ronnie Trujillo of the CPSC asserted the right of Barrio Logan residents to have the only access to the bay and to extend Chicano Park all the way to the waterfront. Activists challenged the San Diego Port District and other agencies from San Diego to Sacramento. Ground was broken for the bay park in 1987 and the park completed in 1990.
Chicano Park has grown to become the Corazón de Aztlan and has served as the catalyst for other revolutionary movements in San Diego, such as the takeover of the Neighborhood House, which became the Chicano Free Clinic now known as the Family Health Center. Other revolutionary movements include the Centro Cultural de la Raza, and the creation of sister territories throughout Aztlan, such as La Raza Park in Denver, Colorado, Barrios Unidos Park in Phoenix, Arizona, and Lincoln Park in El Paso, Texas.The pillar you see before you has two distinct faces. One uses earth tones to highlight the park’s struggles and the other uses vibrant colors to showcase the park’s victories. The pillar features portraits of important figures in Chicano Park’s history, such as Rico Bueno, Angie Avila, Ronnie Trujillo, Tomasa Camarillo, Jose Gomez, Charlene “Guera” Valencia, and others. It is important for us to remember the names of those who have contributed to the park’s history and recognize that there are countless others not listed who have helped us preserve and maintain our piece of Aztlan.
Photos used as references were provided by our Chair Por Vida Tomasa Camarillo’s Archival Collection.
Chicano Park Steering Committee Pillar Committee:
- Patricia Cruz
- Lucas Cruz
- Joni Nunez
- Haydee “Betty Bangs” Juarez
- Giovanni “MEX” Cerda
- German “The Butterfly Man” Corrales
- Nadia Tapia Cruz
Chicano Park Steering Committee Pillar Artists & Contributing Members:
- Nicholas Aguilar Jr.
- Jasmine Garcia