First Week in D.C.

Saludos, I am Manuel (Manny) Guadalupe Galaviz. I am a Latino Heritage Internship Program (LHIP) intern with the National Park Service’s (NPS) National Landmarks Program (NLP). I grew-up in Southern California and have been living in Austin, Texas for the past two years. I was born in Guadalajara, Mexico and I am a first generation college graduate and graduate student. Prior to attending college, I spent six years working in the construction industry as a drywall installer. I hold an A.A. degree in archeology from Palomar College and B.A. degree with departmental honors in anthropology from California State University, San Bernardino. I will enter the PhD program in social-cultural anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin (UT) this next fall (2015 semester). I hold a MA degree from the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies (LLILAS) at UT. My M.A. thesis explored the intersection of race, wealth, and place to examine how these themes foster sentiments of membership and belonging in the numerically dominant Mexican-American and Chicana/o neighborhood of Barrio Logan in the City of San Diego, California. My research interests include cultural citizenship, cultural landscapes, migratory urbanism, and human and non-human migratory life. This past week, I been reviewing a series of pamphlets, bulletins, notes, and thematic NLP manuscripts. Currently, I have been assigned to draft the National Historic Landmark (NHL) nomination for Chicano Park in Barrio Logan. The opportunity to work on this project came as a welcomed surprise to me, as the thematic framework of my M.A thesis revolved around the cultural and political empowerment the founding of Chicano Park has generated for the community of Barrio Logan and Chicana/os in the United States. The social history of Barrio Logan is a contributing factor to the uniqueness of Chicano Park.

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Most notably are Chicano Park’s grand murals with themes reflecting the cultural and political elements of the Chicano Civil Rights Movement of the 1970’s. The artwork is painted on the pillars or pylons that support the Coronado Bay Bridge’s (Ca-75) overpasses to the San Diego, California portion of the Interstate-Five Freeway. As an urban park, Chicano Park did not stem from the commitment of community or regional (city) planners. The park was founded via the efforts of community organizers and Chicana/o students that aimed to improve the social condition of their neighborhood in 1970. It is a rare opportunity for graduate students in the social sciences to apply his/her research to the “real world.” Therefore, this experience seems surreal to me and I am thankful for this wonderful and unique opportunity. 20150530_180531 I am looking forward to visiting the many (Free!) museums in D.C. This city has much to offer—it is a bit overwhelming, but I love it! I am still trying to get accustomed to the rhythm of this city. This past week my greatest challenge has been finding my way around the District of Columbia. I have constantly found myself either taking the wrong bus or exiting at the wrong bus stop. Regardless if I get lost finding my way around the District of Columbia, words cannot express my excitement and content to be part of the LHIP cohort in Washington, D.C.   Gracias!

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