Josephine Talamantez, co-founder of Chicano Park and the Chicano Park Steering Committee, supported the bill as a witness
Washington, D.C.- Rep. Juan Vargas (CA-51) presented H.R. 484 Chicano Park Preservation Act of 2019 during the U.S. of House Representative’s Natural Resources Committee hearing. The bill will instruct the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a thorough study of San Diego’s Chicano Park to evaluate its national significance.
“Chicano Park, home to the largest collection of outdoor murals in the country, is a valuable monument and part of American history,” said Rep. Vargas. “I’m proud to introduce a bill dedicated to protecting the longevity and historical value of Chicano Park and the surrounding community.”
The bill will determine the feasibility of the park becoming an affiliated site of the National Park System (NPS). NPS affiliation would allow Chicano Park to be recognized, preserved, and protected as an American History landmark. The affiliation would also make Chicano Park eligible for technical or financial aid from NPS.
Josephine “Josie” Talamantez, co-founding member of Chicano Park and the Chicano Park Steering Committee, served as the witness at the hearing.
“Further preservation of Chicano Park and it’s 72 outdoor murals are essential to the surrounding community, as well as for Chicano and Latinx communities nationwide,” said Talamantez. “Protecting the park means protecting the history of the park, a defining moment of perseverance when our community felt under attack.”
Chicano Park is located under the San Diego-Coronado Bridge in the historic Barrio Logan neighborhood, a predominantly Mexican-American community in San Diego. It was created after a group of dedicated residents came together to boycott the construction of a highway patrol station on the site of what is now Chicano Park.
In 1980, it was designated as an official historic site by the San Diego Historical Site Board. Since then, Chicano Park has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places and named as a National Historic Landmark, thanks to its association with the local Chicano civil rights movement.
“Chicano Park became a victory for our entire community, and it continues to be our spiritual home,” said Rep. Vargas. “I am looking forward to working with my colleagues to get this bill passed and making Chicano Park an affiliated site of the National Park System.”
Vargas represents California’s 51st Congressional District which includes the southern portion of San Diego County, all of Imperial County and California’s entire U.S.-Mexico border. Vargas was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012 and is currently serving his fourth term in Congress. He serves on the House Financial Services Committee.