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Our mission is to preserve the nation's diverse Latin@ heritage and encourage Latin@ leadership within the field of historic preservation.
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In This Issue

Four New Latin@ National Historic Landmarks Announced
Open Call for Contributions - Historic Sites at the Border
Remembering Ramón “Chunky” Sánchez
Reflection on Reunión 2016
Recommended Reading
Upcoming Events
Four New Latin@ National Historic Landmarks Announced

On January 11, 2017, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell authorized the designation of twenty-four new National Historic Landmarks (NHLs). The new NHLs are particularly notable for the diversity of American experiences they reflect, and indeed they represent an exciting chapter in the history of the NHL program. We proudly stand with the National Park Service in their commitment to recognizing and preserving a more complete and inclusive American narrative, now and in the future. Among the twenty-four new NHLs are four sites of significance to the American Latino experience, as described below by the Department of the Interior.

Casa Navarro in San Antonio, Texas, the home of Tejano statesman José Antonio Navarro (1795-1871), a political leader whose prolific career as statesman and defender of Tejano rights shaped the destiny of Texas as an independent Republic and as part of the United States of America. His commitments to both American ideals and to the rights of Texan Mexican Americans make him one of the leading figures of the American Southwest under three sovereignties. 

Chicano Park in San Diego, California, where on April 20, 1970, community residents led an ultimately successful effort to prevent the construction of a California Highway Patrol substation on land where the City of San Diego had promised the neighborhood a community park. Representative of the Chicano Civil Rights Movement, Chicano Park has become a cultural and recreational gathering place for the Chicano community and is the location of the Chicano Park Monumental Murals, an exceptional assemblage of master mural artwork painted on the freeway bridge supports.

Our Lady of Guadalupe Mission Chapel (McDonnell Hall) in San Jose, California, connected the Mexican American civil rights movement, Catholic ministry to ethnic Mexicans, and ongoing efforts to organize ethnic Mexican migrant farmworkers. The chapel was the home for the Community Service Organization (CSO) whose work helped to spur the emergence of César Chávez as a community organizer, civil rights leader, and labor rights leader between 1952 and 1962. The work carried out at the chapel ultimately helped shape modern American Latino identity.

The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York City represents the idea of the African Diaspora, a revolutionizing model for studying the history and culture of people of African descent that used a global, transnational perspective. The idea and the person who promoted it, Arturo Alfonso Schomburg (1874-1938), an Afro-Latino immigrant and self-taught bibliophile, reflect the multicultural experience of America and the ideals that all Americans should have intellectual freedom and social equality.

We are particularly proud that two LHC executive committee members were involved in the nominations of Chicano Park and Our Lady of Guadalupe Mission Chapel. Congratulations Josephine Talamantez and Dr. Raymond Rast!

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OPEN CALL FOR CONTRIBUTIONS
Historic Sites at the Border

LHC seeks to create a list of historic sites that could potentially be affected by the proposed wall along the US-Mexico border. (Examples of sites that are impacted by the existing wall include Friendship Park in San Diego, CA and Fort Brown Memorial Golf Course in Brownsville, TX.) If you know of an historic site along the border, with or without official designation, please send the site's name, location, a paragraph explaining its significance, and any designations the site may currently have (local historic landmark, state historic landmark, national historic landmark, etc.) to latinoheritageconservation@gmail.com. Thank you for your assistance!
Ramon “Chunky” Sánchez
October 30, 1951 – October 28, 2016

By Josephine S. Talamantez
 
Ramon “Chunky” Sánchez was my friend. I’m not unique because if you asked anyone who knew him, they would say the same thing. He was a very charismatic individual with a full-of-life ability to educate and entertain you and at the same time keep you laughing and/or crying, depending on the situation.
 
“Mr. Chunky” Sánchez—as he was lovingly referred to by the public, and “Chunky” by his family and friends—was an elder in the community, a community organizer, and a gang prevention expert, as well as a musician, songwriter/composer, storyteller, comedian, actor, activist, educator and cultural worker. More than anything else, to me, he was a social butterfly playing his music for the masses and for the lone individual, however the situation commanded. In the forthcoming documentary, Rising Souls: Singing Scorpions by filmmaker Paul Espinosa and producer Mark Day, he is quoted saying, “My mission was not to work in Hollywood. My mission was to work in the barrios, in the fields, in the prisons, in the schools. Wherever people needed to hear something inspirational, that’s where my mission was, and still is.”
 
Mr. Chunky Sánchez’ musical compositions, educational curriculum, and activism were rooted in the commitment to reflect commentary of social injustices—from the picket lines with the United Farm Workers, singing solidarity songs at the Vietnam War Protests, documenting a community’s struggle for self-determination, composing music that encouraged the education of our youth, and demonstrating against the on-going anti-immigrant sentiment in the United States.
 
While attending the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s annual conference in Houston, TX in November, I was reminded of Chunky’s wide reach. I had the privilege of meeting an elderly gentleman that was the subject of a documentary film in progress. Upon introducing myself as a co-founder of Chicano Park in San Diego, the elderly man’s face suddenly displayed deep sorrow as he held my hand saying, “I’m so sorry that we lost Chunky. The world lost a great one.”  The man’s sincere concern and statement reminded me of the overarching impact that my friend had.
 
Mr. Chunky Sánchez learned his art form at the knees of his mother and uncles. She and her brothers provided the music and entertainment for their village in the Río Yaqui in Sonora, Mexico. Upon arrival to the United States, she transferred her traditions and skills to her children. At eight years of age, Mr. Chunky Sánchez began playing a musical instrument. He and his brother Ricardo learned to play many of the older Mexican songs by listening to his mother and her brothers as they sang and played their instruments. As he listened, played and sang, he began to write his own songs with a bilingual and bicultural flavor—songs that so many of us have engraved in our own lives and our children’s lives.
 
As the son of farmworkers, he grew up working in the fields of the Palo Verde Valley, located in Riverside County on the border between California and Arizona. As a teenager, Mr. Chunky Sánchez joined the farmworker struggle and walked picket lines while playing his guitar for César Chávez and the United Farm Workers Union. This experience sparked his lifelong commitment of using the arts as an organizing tool for impacting social change in society.
 
In 1969 he was recruited, along with other farm worker youth, to attend San Diego State University. There he would further develop his talents as a musician, playing ten different instruments—guitar, requinto, jarana, vihuela, cuatro, 12- string guitar, marimba, upright bass, harmonicas and percussions while composing most of his own music. At SDSU he became part of La Rondalla Amerindia de Aztlán, a student musical group under the direction of Professor José “Pepe” Villarino, and later the lead vocalist of Los Alacranes Mojados (the wet scorpions, later shortened to Los Alacranes) that he co-founded with his partner and brother Ricardo Sánchez.
 
Mr. Chunky Sánchez and Los Alacranes helped create a musical force of multiple styles and genres during the height of the Chicano Civil Rights Movement documenting Chicano history. Chicano music serves as a repository for collective memory and illuminates events and processes that reflect a community’s response to a call to action. He is known for traditional Chicano music that incorporates various categories including corridos, boleros, huapangos, rancheras, blues, rock and roll, and country folk styles incorporating Spanglish—a blend of both Spanish and English.
 
His form of Chicano music gave light to the historical and cultural struggles of the Chicano people of the United States. One such composition worthy of mention is his original composition “Chicano Park Samba,” documenting a historical impasse that became a defining moment between the City of San Diego ’s relationship with the Chicano/Mexicano residents that had grown intolerant of the City’s neglect and disrespect. For the next 40+ years as an artist and an activist, he not only documented history, but, due to his involvement as an ongoing member and past Chair of the Chicano Park Steering Committee, stewards of the park, he was on the front line of also creating history.
 
Mr. Chunky Sánchez was the recipient of many awards in his lifetime. His exemplary music and his community work earned him numerous awards and acknowledgements from the California Arts Council, the City of San Diego Commission on Arts and Culture, the now defunct San Diego Public Arts Advisory Board, and in 2013 he became a National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellow, the nation’s highest level of acknowledgment for his traditional Chicano musical artistry.
Furthermore, Chicano Park and the Chicano Park Monumental Murals were listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2013 and designated as a National Historic Landmark in 2017.
 
Throughout all the years of my involvement in organizing and fighting against social and political injustices there was not one time that I can remember him not being present animating the crowd with his talent, urging them to keep marching or to get out the vote to make change. Mr. Chunky Sánchez utilized all of his talents to get the messages across. A couple of years back, as I was walking across the grounds of the California State Capitol, I heard his distinct voice coming from the North entrance. Doubting myself, I kept walking and there he was singing “Educate not Incarcerate” at a massive educational rally.
 
As an educator/storyteller, he wove historical fact, content and humor into the music as he sang and told the stories of the Chicano people and our struggles for survival. In his classes, with a guitar in hand, he would begin with music from the turn of the twentieth century to the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s up through the present to shed light on the conditions that Chicanos faced while contributing to the labor force that made this country great. He wanted the next generation to know the facts and at the same time he wanted them to feel good about themselves and their community.
 
He loved the youth and always referred to them, in our conversations, as “our community’s most important asset.” He used all of his talents and interests to inspire and support them in their development. In addition to the arts he was an avid appreciator of sports. He played and coached the youth in his neighborhood and in his healthier days it was not unusual to see him playing, encouraging and challenging the kids to a ballgame.
 
Throughout his career he performed with many great artists such as Pete Seeger, Lalo Guerrero, Freddy Fender, Flaco Jimenez, the Texas Tornados, Los Lobos and many more. Many influenced him and in turn, he reciprocated by mentoring and transferring his skills and talents to the next generation. He also worked with other musicians who admired him and his community involvement. One such artist is quoted as saying, “I want to be a Chunkista giving it all back to the community.”
 
Mr. Chunky Sánchez, preceded in death by his son Fernando, leaves behind his wife Isabel Enrique Sánchez and children Ixcatli, Ramón, Esmeralda, Mauricio, Tonantzin, and thirteen grandchildren.
A deed of gratitude is owed to his wife Isabel and the entire Sánchez family for sharing her beloved husband and their father with all of us. For without their support Mr. Ramón “Chunky” Sánchez might not have been able to provide all the services that he performed for everyone’s causes—public performances, personal weddings, births, quinceañeras, deaths, wakes, funerals, etc. and still be a friend to all of us.
 
On to your next adventure, my friend, and may your SPIRIT soar con las Aguilas in peace and freedom.
 
Que Viva El Chunky!

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Reflection on Reunión 2016
By Manuel Galaviz


On November 18-19th Reunión 2016, the Latinos in Heritage Conservation (LHC) second national convening followed the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s “Past Forward Conference” in Houston, Tejas. The national meeting took place at Talento Bilingüe de Houston (TBH) where LHC was greeted with a special message. On the theater’s marquee, in large black bold letters read, “Welcome Latinos in Heritage Conservation.” TBH’s hospitality continued throughout the meeting. They did not only provide a warm and comfortable meeting space, but also two exhilarating and unforgettable youth dance numbers that opened and closed Reunión 2016.
 
On the first day, after a quick meet-and-greet and indulging in coffee and bagels, we took our seats inside TBH’s theater. We were treated to a pachuco-breakdance number. Following the performance, Dr. Sarah Zenaida Gould proceeded in introducing us to the history of Latinos in Houston, Tejas. Laura Dominguez along with Desiree Smith provided Latin@s in Heritage Conservation year-in-review report. The panel, Developing a National Platform-Part 1: A National Discussion followed.  Among the questions the panelists addressed was, “where do we go from here?” This questioned emerged from concerns regarding the future of Latin@ heritage conservation in the wake of the National Park Service’s centennial, the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, and the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. Among the answers discussed to the aforementioned question, was the suggestion that we do more to highlight and interpret the diversity of Latin@s in the US. The first day concluded with a lively reception sponsored by the Hispanic Access Foundation (HAF).
 
The second and final day was filled with panels, presentations, and served as a moment of celebration and reflection to LHC achievements. The first panel, Tangible and Intangible Heritage, presented cases that admirably illustrated the power of intangible heritage in conservation. Dr. Yolanda Chávez Leyva introduced us to the living history of Museo Urbano and el sentimiento de las cosas--the affective nature of things. Josephine Talamántez and Dr. Guadalupe San Miguel introduced how music and songs are more than cultural forms that reflect identity over time and space, because they can also be mediums to tell the history about a place. In the Alternative Methods of Documentation panel Chef Adan Medrano illustrated a similar point in his discussion regarding the heritage embedded in our food ways. Jesús Najar followed with a presentation on the development of the Hispanic Texas Heritage Travel Guide. The concluding panel, Developing a National Platform-Part II: Institutions and Latin@ Preservation primarily addressed the intellectual genealogy and achievements of Latin@ heritage conservation.  Through his astonishing form of storytelling, Tomás Ybarra-Frausto provided much needed uplifting advice and guidance. Reunion 2016 concluded with a performance by the youth ballet folkorico group, Compañía Folkórica Alegría.
 
It was proper that LHC’s reunion 2016 took place at TBH, as both organizations aspire to conserve our diverse culture, both are able to tell the stories of Latin@s in the U.S., so we do not forget nuesta cultura.

Editor’s note: Manuel Galaviz is a PhD candidate at the University of Texas at Austin. In 2015, he interned with the Latino Heritage Internship Program in the National Park Service’s National Landmarks Program where he collaborated on the National Historic Landmark nomination for Chicano Park in San Diego.  In 2016, he was an intern with the Hispanic Access Foundation through which he attended Reunión 2016. We at LHC are very proud of his accomplishments!


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Recommended Reading

La Calle: Spatial Conflicts and Urban Renewal in a Southwest City by Lydia Otero

Publisher: University of Arizona Press
Publication date: November 15, 2010
ISBN: 0816528888

In 1966 voters of Tucson approved Arizona's first major urban renewal project which targeted the Mexican American heart of the city, called "la calle." Dr. Lydia Otero explores the forces behind the mass displacement that followed including a desire for order and increasing dependence on tourism. This winner of the Southwest Book Award from the Border Regional Library Association, highlights issues and themes of relevance in many urban Latino communities.

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Upcoming Events
In San Antonio, Texas: The Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center will host the 39th CineFestival February 24 - March 4 at the historic Guadalupe Theater and features 9 days of screenings, panel discussions, networking opportunities, and special guests.

CineFestival originated in 1976 as the Chicano Film Festival. As the oldest and longest-running Latino film festival in the United States, CineFestival has played a significant role in the presentation and appreciation of Latino filmmakers from around the world.
 
In Northridge, California: Dr. Yolanda Chávez Leyva will present a special lecture on protecting historic barrios in El Paso at California State University, Northridge on February 23rd.  
Hasta pronto,
Latin@s in Heritage Conservation Executive Committee
Established in 2014, Latinos in Heritage Conservation is a national organization dedicated to promoting Latina/o leadership and engagement in historic preservation. For questions about LHC, including media inquiries, please contact Communications Chair Sarah Zenaida Gould.
Copyright © 2017 Latinos in Heritage Conservation, All rights reserved.


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