April 22, 2023 / Jeff McDonald / San Diego Union Tribune / Barrio Logan - In the shadow of the San Diego-Coronado Bridge, on the same patch of ground where a community of poor families and immigrants was cleaved by the government in the name of progress, Maria Elena Gomez listened to the music and spoke of the struggle Chicanos have faced for generations.
The retired educator from Fallbrook, wearing a T-shirt bearing the United Farm Workers motto Si Se Puede, was among thousands of people attending the 53rd annual Chicano Park Day festival on Saturday.
“We are still trying to get fair representation for the under-served and the undocumented,” said Gomez, whose own education started later than most, at 31, due to detours of her own making and those imposed by others. “But it doesn’t negate the fact that we have a lot of young people learning about what’s going on.”
What was going on — for the first time in person since 2019 due to the pandemic — was vintage lowriders and food and music and booths, lots of booths.
More important: the celebration of Chicano culture, which has not always been celebrated, and organizing.