Those locations are among the seven Latino heritage sites that preservation scholars say are in need of protection due to their deep cultural and historical ties to the Latino community in the United States.
In a report released earlier this week, the Latino Heritage Scholars, an initiative of the Hispanic Access Foundation, said the sites in Arizona, California, New Mexico, Rhode Island and Texas are currently threatened by multiple factors, including weathering of structures, development plans and gentrification.
“Even though for generations Latinos have continued to prove they are essential to the United States, sites that commemorate Latino heritage are disproportionately excluded when it comes to officially designated heritage and conservation sites,” Galaviz said in a statement.
While the list does not include all of the sites that can tell the complete history and contributions of Latinos in the US, the report states, the authors hope it will highlight the significance of Latino culture and motivate people to learn about other sites.
These are the sites listed in the report:
The ancestral home of the Comanche and Apache
Castner Range is an area of 7,081 acres in El Paso, Texas, that many describe as the “crown jewel” of the Franklin Mountains for its historical and natural importance.
Conservation groups and politicians have been advocating for the site to gain national monument status for years.
A key site for the Chicano movement
Hazard Park was one of the places where thousands of Chicano high school students gathered in 1968 after they walked out of their classrooms to protest poor conditions in schools, lack of college prep courses and poorly trained teachers.
Before World War II, primarily White baseball teams played at Hazard Park but afterward, Mexican American teams “began to proliferate and claim space” there,” the report states.
A ‘truly’ binational neighborhood in the US-Mexico border
The historic first neighborhood of El Paso, Texas, called Duranguito has been at the center of a years-long battle over its preservation.
The downtown area, close-knit neighborhood of brick-and-stucco buildings, Victorian homes and abandoned markets welcomed Mexican historical figures like Pancho Villa and Francisco I. Madero who were key in the Mexican Revolution of 1910.
“Due to its proximity to the border, Duranguito has always been an appropriate place where people on both sides of the US/Mexico border travel, work, and live back and forth between countries. The neighborhood is truly a binational place,” the report says.
A park that saved a Mexican American neighborhood
Chepa’s Park is at the heart of the oldest Mexican American neighborhood in Santa Ana, California.
The park is named after Josephina “Chepa” Andrade, a community activist who fought back along with other community members when city officials wanted to turn the predominantly Mexican American neighborhood into an industrial neighborhood in the late 1960s. They founded a park and saved the neighborhood, the report said.
The park was originally named Logan Park but was renamed in March 2008 to honor Andrade’s activism.
A bodega that became a symbol for Latinos in Rhode Island
Fefa’s Market was the first Dominican-owned bodega to open in Providence, Rhode Island in the mid-1960s and its owner was seen as the “start of the Latinos community” in the state.
“She was seen as the start of the Latino community in Rhode Island, especially in paving the way for Latino business owners and entrepreneurs in the State,” the resolution said.
A transborder park uniting families
Located partly in Southern California and partly in Tijuana, Mexico, thousands of people visit the park to meet friends and family who can’t cross the border and connect with them through the steel meshed fences diving the two countries.
Friendship Park was inaugurated by First Lady Patricia Nixon in 1971, when loosely placed barbed wire separated the two countries.
When Nixon arrived at the park, she asked her security to cut the wire, so she could visit with a crowd of Mexican citizens. “I hope there won’t be a fence here too much longer,” she said at the time.
Since 1971, the fence at Friendship Park has only gotten bigger, having gone through two iterations — one in 1994 and then again in 2007. Most recently it was reinforced with metal mesh in 2012.
A river in the Southwest
The Gila River stretches 600 miles from New Mexico to Arizona and has been considered “the lifeblood” for numerous Indigenous communities and Hispanic settlers for more than 1,000 years.
It has been “the lifeblood for numerous human civilizations, a host of endangered, threatened, and endemic species, agricultural and recreational, activities, and a valuable and unique landscape for geological study,” according to the report.