Chicano Park turns 52, a year with special meaning in the Aztec calendar

Chicano Park was not a gift for Barrio Logan. Lucas Cruz, president of the management committee of Chicano Park, makes a point of specifying it.

“The park has actually been taken care of, and we still think it’s important to bring that piece,” Cruz said. “The city didn’t give it to us; we did not ask the city. The community got together and took it.

On April 22, 1970, residents clashed with bulldozers, blocking the construction of a California highway patrol station and reclaiming the space as their own.

Today, Chicano Park is a National Historic Landmark, with a museum and cultural center opening this summer.

This year, the park celebrates its 52nd anniversary. It is a number with special meaning on the Aztec calendar, symbolizing the New Fire Ceremony – which was an Aztec ceremony performed once every 52 years to ward off the end of the world.

“When we look at the new fire, it’s the next generation. It’s about making sure young people are guided in the right way — they’re not co-opted by the system and they’re taught about their values ​​and integrity,” Cruz said. “So we’re really working with them and hope they can keep the spirit of Chicano Park alive for the next 52 years.”

Learn more about Chicano Park in our chat with Cruz on the podcast player below.

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