Thursday, June 02, 2005

Baldwin Park - Re-cap for those who didn't know

Since the Minutemen supporters were attacked in Garden Grove on Wednesday, my post has referred to the Baldwin Park episode. I've since received a lot of requests for more information, and after I spent my time answering numerous emails, I decided it would be best to post it all in one place. The following information is a compilation of everything I could find on the Baldwin Park event, complete with photos, video clips, and eyewitness accounts.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

For information on the disturbing Reconquista movement in the Southwest United States, please go here.

To understand who MEChA is, what is Aztlan, and who is La Raza, go here.

To learn how the militant Aztlan movement (also Reconquista) is openly aligned with al Q'aeda and the terrorist Islamic movement (also virulently anti-American and anti-Semitic) - don't take my word for it, read their propaganda for yourself. It's pretty sickening. That should give you a good idea of where the whole Reconquista idea came from and where it's going. Time to wake up!

I first published this article about Baldwin Park here.

When the following photos first surfaced on ALIPAC and SOS, they went under intense scrutiny because the members could hardly believe they were authentic. In fact, many speculated that the photos were Photoshopped and sent to ALIPAC in order to provoke a reactionary response that could then be publicly ridiculed. The research was careful - I was there when it was going on. SOS sent out a member to Baldwin Park to verify the existence of the monument and the veracity of the photos. Once that was determined beyond a shadow of a doubt, the outrage grew becasue the comments are more than passingly Reconquista, and therefore offensive - much in the same way the Los Angeles, MX billboard was offensive. The demonstration arose from SOS's desire to publicize this monument and its meaning, since all correspondence to the town's leadership was unanswered. I personally emailed every member on the City Council, and never received a response. For what it's worth, the contact info of said politicians is included at the bottom of this post.

These are the photos that have drawn this intense backlash in the community:


Monument in Baldwin Park, CA


Mexican once...and will be again.


Really? It was better before "we" came? Then what's the problem with Mexico?

----------------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------------
Here is the public statement from Save our State.org that prompted their vigil at the monument on

The Battle for Los Angeles
Seditious monument language on public property

(Baldwin Park, CA) - SaveOurState.org demands that the city of Baldwin Park immediately remove seditious anti-American language (pictures below) from the “Danzas Indigenas” monument located at the Baldwin Park Commuter Rail Station. Taxpayer funded and situated on public land, the monument promotes the radical and militant belief in the “econquista of Aztlan.” One passage on the monument laments the presence of whites in America by stating, “It was better before they came.” The most offensive passage is a quote from Gloria Anzaldua, which reads:

“This land was Mexican once,
was Indian always
and is,
And will be again.”

Californians are tired of radical revisionist history and militant separatist rhetoric calling for the return of the Southwestern United States to Mexico as proclaimed by radical organizations like Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan (MEChA). SaveOurState.org proudly stands in opposition to this propaganda.

Californians are tired of watching their communities turn into Third World cesspools as a result of a massive invasion of illegal aliens. Joseph Turner, Executive Director of SaveOurState.org responds:

“This divisive monument is funded by our tax dollars and we will not tolerate its anti-American message. This is not art. This is not freedom of expression. This is government-sanctioned sedition. This is our land. This is our fight.”

We call upon the city of Baldwin Park to voluntarily remove these offensive passages by Friday, July 1st, in advance of the American Independence weekend. This will clearly demonstrate their commitment to America and their disapproval of treasonous sentiments. If this situation is not remedied, SaveOurState.org will take additional steps to ensure that the passages are removed.
------------------------------------------------------
------------------------------------------------------

Protest Report from the Social and Public Art Resource Center
Baldwin Park, CA
May 16th, 2005

Despite having various radio talk show pipelines for the past week to continuously publicize their opposition to “Danzas Indigenas,” a 13 year old, city sanctioned and approved Metro station monument created by Judith F. Baca for the City of Baldwin Park, CA. Save Our State (SOS) anti-illegal immigration group garnered only a handful supporters (approximately 12- 20 people) in their protest against the Monument in Baldwin Park, CA. on Saturday My 14th, 2005.

“Save our State”, with ties to the vigilante Minutemen Border Patrol, erroneously believed that quotes on the “Danzas Indigenas” monument were racially charged, seditious and anti-American in nature. The residents of Baldwin Park believed otherwise, along with numerous high schools, universities and peace organizations, and quickly mobilized into a group of nearly 1,000 people in a counter protest on Saturday. The Save Our State demonstrators wearing inflammatory minuteman and border patrol garb were highly outnumbered by monument supporters.

The large crowd of local men, women and children of all ages faced the small yet vocal crowd of protestors from as far away as Ventura county, Upland and Orange County, who declared the MTA and city-commissioned artwork, Artist, and counter protestors all to be un-American. Counter to the claims of Save Our State who has called the work “reconquista” (reconquest advocates) no supporters of the monument advocated for the return of California to Mexico but instead proclaimed the protesters “neoKlan racists who were launching an attack on their community as a whole. As tax paying citizens the supporters of the monument declared their right to artistic representation within public space. The supporters carried signs such as “art confuses racists” and “racists go home”.

Saturday’s demonstration was estimated to have cost the small city Baldwin Park $250,000 dollars in police overtime and helicopters to insure the protection of the Save Our State group’s right to protest. The City of Baldwin Park protected the freedom of expression of the SOS at a great cost to their community’s limited budget. Local councilman Mr. Bill Van Cleave greeted Save Our State’s self-proclaimed “grass roots activists” by stating that “there is no race problem in Baldwin Park,” but that the Ventura-County based organization “was bringing one”. As the only white person on the City Council he said “they threatened my life and told me they were going to bury me in brown soil”. All members of the council have received death threats and are investigating prosecution of the hate calls and mail. Threats against the monument have been made claiming that after the SOS July 1st deadline, given the city officials and artist to remove the offending statements, the group would take further steps.

One of the most alarming aspects of this unexpected turn of events for us at the Public Art center is that as artists who work in the field of public art there is a new level of risk associated with creating public artwork being evidenced here. An artist can be commissioned by MTA and a local city to create a public monument. Through a thoroughly democratic process, such as the one commissioned by the MTA and Baldwin Park the work can be designed and approved by all public entities. Twelve years later the same artist can be personally attacked and threatened, when a fringe group decides to view part of the artwork out of context and make unfounded accusations. All public art is in jeopardy and all artists who have participated in the creation of MTA stations or other public works can be subjected to and essentially be required to defend themselves for the privilege of working in the public interest. Public art has suffered a tremendous set back in the last few days as has our hopes for the creation of civil public spaces .

Four members of the City Council of Baldwin Park and the Mayor as well as the Artist Judy Baca issued statements at the protest saying that the monument would not be altered and they intended the monument to stand for years to come.

An older minuteman t-shirted woman was hit in the head by a plastic water bottle and taken to the hospital. She was released after observation overnight. No other injuries or arrests were reported.

-----------------------------------------------
ARTIST STATEMENT
By Judith F. Baca
May 12, 2005
An “anti-illegal immigrant” group, Save Our State, of Ventura County, emboldened by their recent victory at the removal of a billboard referring to “Los Angeles, Mexico” is now demanding the removal of the wording on a twelve-year old monument in Baldwin Park, California, entitled Danzas Indigenas. I was commissioned to produce this work in 1993 by MTA and the City of Baldwin Park in collaboration with the Kate Diamond Architectural Group.

The monument consists of a 20 ft arch, 100 ft plaza and 400 ft train platform. Produced with extensive public input, the monument includes five languages: English, Spanish, Gabrielino, Chumash, Luiseño and is a layering of indigenous, Spanish and mestizo history, which is associated with the site.

Included also are the contemporary voices and diversity that is indicative of contemporary Baldwin Park. Asked to produce a work that was “mission in theme” that reflected the majority population of Latinos in the City of Baldwin Park, and in keeping with my practice as an artist for inclusion of community members in my design process, I designed this work to include the “past” and “present” of the region and the voices of local residents. Of particular interest to me was the sites proximity to the mission of San Gabriel. The arch in the Plaza is conceived of as a fragment of a mission arch. Its intention was to become a site of public memory for the people of Baldwin Park; to make visible their invisible history.

Local residents sentiments were included in the “present” side of the monument, with verbatim quotes sandblasted into the surface of the arch. Local residents of all ages and ethnic groups were recommended by the arts committee and the city council and interviewed. They were asked about their hopes for the future of Baldwin Park.

Additional statements from community members on the arch – which are not included in the discussion of the monument by the Save Our State group – include “Use your brain before you make up your mind”, “not just adults leading but youth leading too", “a small town feeling”, "when the Indians died the villages ended” and “the kind of community that people dream of rich and poor, white, brown, yellow all living together”. These statements all represent the community’s desires, and are featured prominently in the work of art.

The work is not a work of a lone artist working without relationship to the community, but rather a representation of community sensibilities and sentiment of the time. While this group has cast the artwork as part of a “Reconquista movement”, it is in fact neither advocating for the return of California to Mexico, nor wishing that Anglos had never come to this land. This statement “it was better before they came”, was deliberately ambiguous. About which “they” is the anonymous voice speaking? The statement was made by an Anglo local resident who was speaking about Mexicans. The ambiguity of the statement was the point, and is designed to say more about the reader than the speaker – and so it has.

The quote “this land was Mexican once, was Indian always, and is, and will be again” is by a critically acclaimed Chicana author, Gloria Anzaldua. On the Save Our State website, she is referred to as a “dead Chicana lesbian.” I chose this quote because the mission is one mile from the Mission San Gabriel, and descendants of the Gabrielinos still live in the region, making Anzaldua’s text particularly relevant to the increasing indigenous population. A correct reading of the quote makes it clear that this is not about Mexican “reconquista”, but about the land returning to its origins.

This is not a question only of my rights as an artist to not have my copyright violated, but also a question of “revisionist history” carved out twelve years after an extensive democratic public process produced this work. It is the collective vision of the people of Baldwin Park that is under attack by this Ventura group. What is most deserving of respect are the voices that are represented in the monument. Also deserving of respect, are the voices of the ancient indigenous who say in the first person “memory and will power” is how we retain the knowledge of our culture.

Our capacity as a democracy to disagree and to coexist is precisely the point of this work. No single statement can be seen without the whole, nor can it be removed without destroying the diversity of Baldwin Park’s voices. Silencing every voice with which we disagree, especially while taking quotes out of context, either through ignorance or malice, is profoundly un-American.
-------------------------------------------------
-------------------------------------------------

Eyewitness/Camaraman report:

"This is what happened. Despite what they want you to think with their supposed analysis of our behavior, our events are always peaceful. Theirs never are. A bottle is thrown during the second set of clips, that hits an older lady on the head, who then must go to the hospital.

The video clips are in order and a timeline is very apparent. "

Links to 3-9MB video clips:

Click here to watch SOS_BP1

Click here to watch SOS_BP2: Water bottle is thrown in this clip.

Click here to watch SOS_BP3: Police tell peaceful SOS demonstrators that they cannot ensure their safety when they leave.

Click here to watch SOS_BP4.1: Watch carefully the demonstrator in the black T-shirt in the middle of the clip - he's carrying the [only] American flag for the illegal alien supporters (which is telling in and of itself). He drops it on the ground, scuffles over it, then kicks it.

Listen to the cheers when this happens. And then think about this: As a true American, would you EVER desecrate our flag, knowing all that it stands for?! Never in a million years would I do what that Mexican man did (and he IS Mexican, if you can believe his T-shirt) - not even if Hillary were President with Kerry her VP, and the entire country went down the drain. The flag is precious and represents the blood of all the heroes that ever bled for the birth, unity, and peace of our country. I hope this demonstration helps exhibit how these people are NOT Americans, don't WANT to be Americans, and HATE America. The actions and words of the protestors at this event speak volumes.
---------------------------------------------------
---------------------------------------------------
More video clips (short):

Disrespect of the police
"We didn't cross the border, the borders crossed us"
Elderly lady hit on the head with a full bottle thrown from the other side of the street
Racists get out of "our country" (Aztlan)
SOS hugely outnumbered
Flanked
Baldwin Park Rally Footage (3.8 mb RealMedia)
Here is some footage of Old Glory being desecrated by the "Mechistas" at Baldwin Park:

Kicking the Flag (Strong Language)

-----------------------------------------------
-----------------------------------------------
Eyewitness: "Even all these great photos cannot convey the strue scope and numbers of our enemies. They surrounded us on all sides at one point and were as angry and hateful as I have ever seen any mob.

I swear, I felt like I was in Mogadishu. It truly was if we were in a hostile foreign country. I was absolutely convinced there was going to be violence and am actually surprised it didn't happen. The cops did a good job."

-------------------------------------------------
-------------------------------------------------
Eyewitness:

"In the bizarre world that we live in, merely opposing illegal immigration and all the peripheral issues that go along with it is justification for being labeled a racist, bigot or a vigilante.

In countless interviews, I am asked my thoughts when our opponents accuse us of being a racist organization. I constantly wonder why reporters simply regurgitate unsubstantiated claims and in the process perform the devil's bidding.

Yet, as evidenced by today's happenings, it is so crystal clear that our opponents are projecting their bigotry and hatred onto us. Today, we saw some of the most vile hatred and bigotry expressed towards us by the Mechistas.

Everything that we argued the monument stood for was reinforced by the hundreds of activists who opposed our presence in Baldwin Park. Numerous times we were told that this land is Mexico and that they were taking it back. Numerous times racists epithets were hurled away. One person even hurled a full water bottle at our side and sent one of our activists to the hospital with bleeding in the brain. Unfortunately, she is now in the intensive care unit and we are all praying and hoping for the best.

What started as a rather peaceful and uneventful protest on our side ended in sheer hostility. The counter demonstrators were supposed to rally at the other end of the metrolink station, but proceeded to outflank the Baldwin Park Police Department and traveled through a local neighborhood so that they could formally confront us at the intersection allocated to us for our protest.

In waves they came. Soon outnumbered 500-50 in a community that is 85% Hispanic, crowd control soon became an issue. Rants, chants and Mexican flags filled the air. Their spit and a dragged and kicked American flag covered the ground. It is imperative to note that that was the only American flag displayed by our opponents.

At the conclusion of the rally, a twenty year veteran of the force shared that today's rally was the most intense and largest he has seen in his career. And intense it was for at one point, I was informed by BPPD that they could no longer ensure our safety. Mind you, there were upwards of 70+ officers on duty in riot gear. Emergency reserves were summoned from various local agencies. A police helicopter circled above for the entire duration. Officers with sniper rifles rest on a roof above.

In fact, we were told that a credible source of intelligence suggested that violent attack on our group was in the making and that two hundred more demonstrators may be in route (which would have presumably overwhelmed the already taxed resources). Surrounded by hostile forces on all sides, we were evacuated by the police department to the police station one block away until the crowd dispersed.

We did not hurl racist epithets or make bigoted hate-filled comments. We did not hurl objects at our opponents or resort to violence. Yet, we are racist vigilantes!

It is of utmost importance to emphasize one singular point. Everything that we stated that monument stood for, emodied and represented was reinforced and confirmed by the actions of those opposing us today. To suggest that the monument doesn't reinforce the reconquista of Aztlan and hatred toward whites is simply delusional."

----------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------
Injury of older lady in the SOS demonstration:

Launch
of the bottle.


Lady that was injured when hit on the head with a full bottle

Updates as to her condition:

Posted: May 14 2005, 08:09 PM:
SOS

Hello All:

I have just received word from another SOS activist at the hospital with our injured protestor. Unfortunately, the cat scan came back with some bad news.

There is some bleeding of the brain and she has been taken to the Intensive Care Unit.

This is all the information I have at the moment and will keep you updated. Please put her in your prayers if you are the praying sort.


Posted: May 15 2005, 10:06 AM: SOS

She is still in ICU and they are going to give her a comparative cat scan today. Basically, to determine whether or not the condition as worsened or gotten better over night.

Hopefully will have more information later on today.

Posted: May 15 2005, 01:47 PM


THE NEWS WE'VE ALL BEEN WAITING FOR....

Dottie has been released from the hospital and the doctors expect a full recovery.

The comparative CAT scan came back with good results - no bleeding. She'll have some residual effects for a while such as headaches, etc. but they expect she'll be just fine.

Thanks for all of your prayers and well wishes. I know that they have helped.

-----------------------------------------------
-----------------------------------------------

Former resident of Baldwin Park: "aml"

I'm sorry to hear about the person that got injured, hope everything
turns out ok.

I saw the protest on the news, they made it sound as though only a small insigificant group had any objection to the monument. The sloppy looking women that was speaking for the artist was trying to convince the media that the writing on the monument is a historical writing, yeah right!

I grew up in Baldwin Park when it was a quaint little town. It was a nice place to live. I was totally appauled when I revisited the city a month ago. The city seems like a place in a third world country no one spoke english. The once beautiful Catholic Church called Saint Johns now has pink walls and pews and the art work and
statues were replace by these filthy tapestries, unbelievable. I visited a store I used to work at as a teenager, it was trashed and again nobody spoke english. Also, Morgan park used to have a monument dedicated to world war II vets, that monument was gone, wonder what happened to it. All the once nice neighborhoods with great little craftsman houses were gone. In place of those nice houses were dirty unkept yards with a slew of cars all over the place, or apartment complexes with clothes hanging on the roof and all over the place.

This is happening to cities all over California, I hope that people will wake up and start calling and writing our so called elected officials. To make matters worse, the DOD base closure situation is going to make even more cities Vulnerable. This brings to mind the H-1B visa problem, those soon to be out of work DOD workers will
need the jobs intended for those foreign workers. The Corona base workers are engineers and IT personnel who many of which will not be able to move.

Anyway, I really hope that people start getting together to stop any legislation that enables the promotion of more immigration, we really don't need anymore, it is destroying the vary culture that made this country so great!!!!!

----------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------
PHOTOS of the Baldwin Park Protest:


I guess the statement here is that THEY belong, and we don't. Classic Reconquista.


Aztlan T-shirts - "stolen lands"?!!


"Fuck the Alamo"? Hey - that reminds me, let's rewrite history about the Alamo - oh wait, that's already being done...


*sigh* Yes, we got it the first time. Eloquent and original...NOT.


Ohhh - banditos! Macho or just plain silly?


Mas banditos!


"White trash?" - they can't seem to get past the name-calling and slurs. Intelligent.


The reference to Nazism is again an over-used, pathetically misused slur.


Welcome immigrants. Sure - AS LONG AS THEY'RE LEGAL, PLEASE!!!


They are over-using and mis-using this slur - it has no meaning anymore!


Crowds really outnumberd the SOS demonstrators.


Lots of Mexican flags - not one American flag. Telling, isn't it?


Plenty of American flags here!


No hate speech - sounds reasonable. So why are these SOS demonstrators cast as the villains?!


Legal Latino makes a statement: This is America's land!


Another legal Latino with a profound statement.


Another legal Latino who understands the dangers behind the Reconquista movement.


Another legal Latino with a heart for America - NOT Mexico.

----------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------


Contact Baldwin Park City Officials:

Mayor: Manuel Lozano
626-813-5201
mlozano@baldwinpark.com

Council Member: Bill Van Cleave
626-337-4601
bvancleave@baldwinpark.com

Council Member: Marlen Garcia
626-813-5201
mgarcia2@baldwinpark.com

Mayor Pro Tem: Ricardo Pacheco
626-813-5201
rpacheco@baldwinpark.com

Council Member: David Olivas
626-813-5201
dolivas@baldwinpark.com