Painting La Communidad

Aztec Blessing for Carlsbad Mural


As another day passes by, the Sun sets in the West to greet the moon as they trade the responsibilities of nuturing these fertile grounds. Two vital aspects to life on earth that are physically different , but share the same purpose. The purpose of influence and comfort to Tonantzin and her people.

Although the two have found endless battles in mythology, they’ve managed to create a balance in the world. If two very contrast stars can work together, why can’t the human race?

I’ve recently heard that diversity allows variety in religion, culture, race, capabilities and lifestyle. However, the term “Diversity” also begins with “Div”, which is the beginning of “Divide”. Unknowingly, “Diversity”, has become another platform to divide cultures both from each other and within our own communities.

Today’s society has become the same on going battles as those between the Sol y la Luna. They have disguised themselves as Gentrification, Racism, and Hierarchy within any one race. Instead of painting the community with knowledge and cultural acceptance; we have painted our own barrios with blood, and judgment. Of course every community is different and we all work against these social issues, but they are still heavily present.

Gentrification has been a consistent battle between the native people of any one Barrio and the new generations that have sprouted over the years. For up to the last three generations, gentrification has existed in many forms to slowly rid of an unwanted population. I believe it has been a plan that has been implemented beginning with linguistic discrimination as many Chicano students were publicly shamed and whipped for speaking Spanish.

From there it developed into other discriminations and has evolved today in the rise of rents causing native residents to relocate and figure out where they went wrong. The fact is that many of them never went wrong and have been well established in the barrios and surrounding community for generations.

Today in Barrio Carlsbad we are judged because it is a very coastal village that has adapted to those with money, power and judgement. Although we are not as “brown”, we are very much alive and present - or at least try to be present as we attempt to move back into our land. Gentrification - the modern Christopher Columbus buying out and stealing land to claim as their own.

Despite the tragedies and mishaps we’ve faced over time, there is one last standing landmark that continues to unite us as Familia and as a community - “The Four Stages of History” Mural.

Restored Mural 2010
The masterpiece is located on Oak Ave. & Roosevelt Street in downtown Carlsbad. (3110 Rosevelt Street, Carlsbad, CA. 92008). Painted by Chicano Park Muralist, Victor Ochoa & La Raza Unida in 1983. Photo: Courtesy of The Ibarra Family.

This cultural staple has been a hidden gem well before Circle K made residence. Before the Murals’ first colors were painted , the building was known as the Utotem Convenience Store with a huge carven totem pole in the lot.

The local group, La Raza Unida wanted a way to make the Voice and Historia of our people heavily present. In an area that withheld so much Cultura, it also was non-existent. The group of students worked together to fundraise and convince Chicano Park Muralist, Victor Ochoa to assist with the murals’ completion.

Ochoa has mentioned that the students knew exactly what they wanted and would represent the farm workers, the children, the history, and the community both past and present. Ochoa guided the group and taught them how to make their vision come to life.

Later, the Mural was vandalized with buckets of white paint by individuals of Oceanside. Despite, the unfortunate event the two communities (Carlsbad and Oceanside), United to clean up the aftermath and restore the piece to its original state.

In 2017, a residents of the Barrio worked together to voice their opinions to City Council on relocating birds of paradise that kept Carlsbad’s History in the shadows. After a long battle, the plants were relocated and they joined forces to fundraise for a well deserved commemorative plaque over the course of six months. With the help of Victor Ochoa, Circle K, local Danza Azteca Calpulli Omeyocan, the original painters, and members of the restoration team; the community was able to host a Celebration honoring the Mural History and its new plaque.

Although, many of the Barrios’ original residents are no longer present due to gentrification and other reasoning , the community is still deeply united. Would that be true today if it were not up to a group of teenagers looking to share their voices? Perhaps not. What was only a vision, has become something “sacred”, and one of the last standing things in Barrio Carlsbad.

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1 comment

Patricia Amador

Love this! Thank you for your words!

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