Seven iconic Latino landmarks in the United States require immediate protection, according to a new study released Wednesday.
The study from the Hispanic Access Foundation shows how the places that celebrate Latino heritage are disproportionately “excluded” in the designation of conversation sites.
“Less than eight percent of national historic landmarks represent the stories of women, Native Americans, African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans and other underrepresented groups,” Shanna Edberg, director of conservation at the Hispanic Access Foundation, told Latino Rebels.
The reasons for historical designation including the weathering of structures and the possibility of suffering the effects of gentrification.
“Even as you go through the process of creating these designations, or protecting these areas, you have to involve the nearby community that is around because otherwise they could get pushed out. And oftentimes, it’s their heritage and their ancestors and their families and created the histories of these places. Justification could even have kind of the opposite effects that you’d want from preserving. That’s why we want to make sure that the communities themselves and their needs are being met, as we asked to designate and protect these historic places,” Edberg said.
Here are the seven landmarks mentioned in the report:
Friendship Park (California)
This is the place with a significant emotional value for the Latino community. Immigrant families in the U.S. can meet their loved ones there. The park is a cultural connectivity between San Diego, California, and Tijuana, Mexico. According to experts, this place needs protection from increasing border security. Local communities and activists are asking for a binational park, and the historical designation would help that process.
Chepa’s Park (California)
The park, located in Logan Barrio of Santa Ana, is a tribute to the community leader Josephina “Chepa” Andrade, also known as “La Reina de la Logan.” She and other leaders fought to protect the neighborhood from gentrification. The park was controversial last year after Santa Ana officials removed the handball courts claiming the city’s public safety issues.
The historic neighborhood is the oldest in the city. It’s a binational and multiethnic community. One of the reasons the traditional neighborhood is at risk is because of the interest of developers who want to build an arena in the area.
Fefa’s Market (Rhode Island)
This is one of the most important places for Providence’s Latino community. Fefa’s Market is a bodega opened by Josefina Rosario, known as “Doña Fefa” and the mother of the city’s Dominican community. The market became a place where recent arrivals received advice on how to navigate their new life in the United States.
Hazard Park (California)
This park served as a meeting point for youth-led Chicano social movements and the 1968 East L.A. walkouts. It’s also a place where families have gathered for years.
Castner Range (Texas)
Castner Range has been the ancestral home to the Comanche and Apache people, plus other Indigenous communities. It spans 7,081 acres in West Texas, and according to a report from Castner Ranger Forever, this historic land tells the story of how the region became the world’s largest binational community. The organization is requesting that President Biden officially preserves the land.
Gila River (New Mexico)
The Gila River system is a valuable resource to all New Mexicans and is considered the birthplace of wilderness and an “important window” into the history of New Mexico.
Juanita Ramos Ardila is a Colombian journalist who has written for El Tiempo and ColPrensa. An M.A. Journalism candidate at CUNY’s Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, Juanita is also Latino Rebels’ 2021 Summer Correspondent. Twitter: @JuanitaRamosA.