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Our Lady of Guadalupe Aids Immigrants in New Chicano Park Mural

April 4, 2018

By Mario A. Cortez

A new mural at Chicano Park depicting Our Lady of Guadalupe in the act of leaving water for migrant workers crossing the desert as a central image is close to completion.

Emblazoned on the east wall of the new restroom building, the new mural, titled “Amor, Si Se Puede,” Spanish for “Love, We Can Do It,” is a collaboration between immigrant-rights group Border Angels and local artist Salvador Barajas, who was involved in painting the first murals at Chicano Park and has also lead restoration efforts for many of the site’s most iconic works.

“From the initial concept, I turned Our Lady of Guadalupe into an activist,” Barajas said to La Prensa San Diego. “She is taking water to the desert which is one of the main things that Border Angels does.”

On the 12-by-20 mural, scenes of a family reuniting at the border and day laborers receiving aid from Border Angels volunteers, who are joined by civil rights figures, can also be seen on both sides of the central visual.

Leaders like Ramon “Chunky” Sanchez and Dolores Huerta appear next to Border Angels volunteers on the mural’s right side.

“It is very important to recognize our heroes,” Border Angels Founder and Director Enrique Morones said. “Dolores Huerta was just as important as Cesar Chavez in the Farmworkers movement and Chunky is a legend in the community.”

Morones also added that the inclusion of Border Angels volunteers such as Hugo Castro and Dulce Aguirre are important as they are people who have generously given their time to helping immigrants.

“Hugo is a real hero, he isn’t well known but he is very important and has given his life to migrants,” Morones shared. “Dulce is like my right hand and thanks to her (Border Angels) has been able to grow. She only wants to help and that has to be recognized, it is very important.”

The side of the mural which depicts a family being reunited alludes to the Border Angels’ efforts to open a gate at Border Field State Park, known as the “Door of Hope,” so that families that are separated by the border can reunite for a couple of minutes.

This mural is not the first time Barajas and Border Angels have worked together to bring a mural with a message to Chicano Park. Last year, Barajas and Border Angels debuted a mural against the border wall.

The previous mural, titled “No Border Wall,” features visuals such as several crosses, representing the countless deaths of immigrants in the desert, and a worker being strangled by two hands, one representing Immigrations and Customs Enforcement and the other representing the corrupted Mexican political class.

Morones expressed that art is a great way to move people and that he will continue to pursue art projects to get messages across to the community.

Barajas expects his newest mural to be completed before the annual Chicano Park Day, which will be held on April 21 this year.

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