By Pablo Jaime Sainz
If you pass by Chicano Park this weekend, you’re going to see the Mexican flag and the park’s own flag raised on the air.
The flags represent the respect many Chicano activists and artists have for Marco Anguiano, a well-known multi-faceted community member who passed away last Wednesday, August 25, at his Normal Heights home from complications from cancer. He was 52.
Although Marco is no longer physically here, his memory will be kept alive through the community, cultural, and artistic work he did throughout the years.
Marco was a dynamic Chicano who was comfortable working as a businessman, as an organizer, as an artist, as a writer, as a graphic designer, and as an activist, his friends said.
“Marco was a dedicated Chicano activist in San Diego who gave countless of hours of his time to the cause of Raza self-determination,” said Brent Beltrán, founder of the independent publishing house, Calaca Press. “His contributions to his community will be forever remembered. Please put him in your thoughts as he makes his journey to Mictlán.”
At the time of his death, Marco was executive director of the Adams Avenue Business Association, where he organized the Adams Avenue Street Fair and the Adams Avenue Roots Festival.
But it was his work in the Chicano community, especially Chicano Park, that moved Marco the most.
“Throughout his more than 30 years of activism Compañero Marco came to be respected as a passionate enemy of oppression - a freedom fighter who symbolized the struggle of the Mexicano people for justice, peace and liberation. Marco was a man of principle and a committed revolutionary who never compromised his ideals of struggle,” said a statement community organization Unión del Barrio, which Marco was a member at a time.
Other Chicanos in the movi-miento were trully sad when they heard about Marco’s death.
“Que noticia más triste. Marco era un luchador por nuestra Raza. The last time I saw him was at a poetry reading. He looked tired, but he gave me a warm smile and an abrazo. Con todo mi respeto y cariño, Marco, te digo que la Chicanada de San Diego te extrañaremos mucho. Hasta la victoria, compañero, y que en paz descanses,” said Jorge Mariscal, from Calacarts.
Victor Ochoa, a Chicano Park muralist, said he will always remember his friend.
“[When Tommie Camarillo] called me I remembered talking with my mother, she said I should go to the hospital and visit him,” he said. “I hate hospitals, pero fui. Marco told me many things throughout the years, and thought it was a good idea to do this curado book on the movimiento, to interview colegas and put it to writing, so I said I was going to interview him on video. His last conversation [with me] was about continuing the battle to save our Centro, that he was very knowledgeable, and to saludar a todos por el camino. I will remember him for the rest of my life, porque sin hombres como Marco Anguiano, el espiritu de Aztlán no existiera.”
It is Marco’s friends who can best describe the work of this noble man who gave so much to the Chicano Movement in San Diego.
“Often the first to arrive and the last to leave in any event in which he participated, Marco faced the world with his trademark wit, dedication and commitment to fairness, social justice and principled struggle,” said Victor Payan. “Marco will be remembered as one whose life, work and relationships were an embodiment of his beliefs, his hopes and his love for the community. To know Marco was to understand that community organizing was a lifelong struggle, albeit one that could be managed with optimism, generosity, kindness, camaraderie, joy and laughter.”
Sal Barajas, another Chicano Park muralist, said: “I can describe Marco in just one sentence: He was very active.”
Indeed he was. He was involved in the organization of Chicano Park Day’s entertainment section, as well as part of the Chicano Park Steering Committee.
“We are always going to remember him because he had so many friends and people who loved him of every walk of life,” said Tommie Camarillo, Chicano Park Steering Committee president. “As far as the Committee is concerned, Marco’s leadership is incomparable. I would always go to him for advice about Chicano Park. He was an excellent friend to myself and my grandchildren. They always compare him to Corky Gonzalez.”
Camarillo said that there will be a memorial service to celebrate the life of Marco Angiano, on Sunday, September 4th in Chicano Park at 1 p.m.
Donations can be made in his name to American Cancer Society or Chicano Park Steering Committee, P.O. Box 12524, San Diego, CA, 92112.
SERVICES AND CELEBRATION
Saturday, September 3rd,
10:00 am to 1:00 pm
Chula Vista, CA 91910
Saturday, September 3rd, 3:00 PM
Our Lady of Guadalupe
1770 Kearny Avenue
San Diego, CA 92113
CELEBRATION OF LIFE:
Sunday, September 4th, 1:00 PM