¡SI SE PUDO! After years of work and nearly a year of hearings and delays associated with the COVID-19 Pandemic, we have reached the major moment in which the LA City Council has officially recognized the buildings that housed the Mechicano Art Center and the Centro de Arte Público as Historic Cultural Monuments in the City of Los Angeles. This was a unanimous 14-0 vote.
Nationally, fewer than 10% of historic landmarks are associated with communities of color. Important places that are historically connected with the struggle for Latino civil rights in the US, the Chicano Movement, are at risk of being lost, just as Roosevelt High School was in Boyle Heights when the R Building and Auditorium were demolished in 2019.
The nominations of Mechicano Art Center and the Centro de Arte Publico are not only critical for the preservation of Chicano history in Northeast Los Angeles, but they also are a step toward achieving equity in this space, ensuring that these important places will be there for our community and for many years to come.
The overwhelming support of our community has been critical throughout the HCM process, and we also are grateful to have a champion in the LA City Council who understands the importance of Chicano History, our CD1 Councilmember Gil Cedillo. Northeast LA and the Eastside value the preservation of our history and honoring those who came before, and the community’s and our councilmember’s support of these nominations at every step has underscored this.
We additionally would like to thank our local elected officials who also sent in letters of support including LA County Supervisor Hilda Solis, State Senator Maria Elena Durazo, Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo, and CD1 Councilmember Gil Cedillo.
We are also thankful all the members of the City Council citywide who unanimously voted YES on the nominations, including Councilmember Kevin DeLeon in neighboring CD14. Organizations who sent in letters of support included Occidental College, Boyle Heights Community Partners, Historic Garvanza, Art in the Park LA, Latino Heritage Conservation, Ave 50 Studio, and the LA Conservancy. There are so many people and organizations whose support we are grateful for, including Alexandra Madsen who spent countless hours writing and researching to author the nominations, and we hope to continue working together with everyone and recognizing you for your contributions to the preservation of Chicano History.
Very soon, we hope to complete and submit the third nomination associated with the Chicano Arts Collectives of Highland Park, Corazón Productions, and others locally. We look forward in sharing this and many more nominations in the future with you, our community.
Jamie Tijerina, President HPHT