In the world of movement building and organizing, one of the key goals is the practice of turning the people power already generated and institutionalizing it. This may take a variety of forms, among the most common though is the creation of a literal space dedicated to the power of the movement. Chicano Park is that space. In transforming the movement building that began in the 1960s and continues to the present from the fragile world of social world into the concrete world of physical spaces, it preserves the legacy and experience of these movements and in doing so empowers future organizers of the Chicano rights movement. These spaces also inculcate a community to resist and not acquiesce to imbalances in power and the resulting material imbalances.
When considering this space, I am often reminded of the International Longshoreman Worker’s Union Hall in my hometown of Long Beach. While the movements are different, the celebration of struggle and radical resistance to oppression through mural and space is similar to Chicano Park. In functioning as a space dedicated to resistance, it preserves a legacy of union organizing, that much like Chicano Park for the Chicano movement, helps galvanize resistance to latter day anti-worker politics.
This is what Chicano Park as a space means to me, as a place where future generations of the Chicano community can draw strength, inspiration, and power from the work done by past generations and give voice to their aspirations.