Latinization of Public Parks

arroyoverdeSince I was a child my family celebrated Easter Sunday at Arroyo Verde Park in Ventura, CA. This park is situated between two canyons with hiking trails and playgrounds that keep children busy all day long. Over the years I have witnessed a kind of “Latinization” of Arroyo Verde and other public parks. You can hear Spanish spoken everywhere, buy paletas from paleteros and listen to musical trios playing traditional ranchera songs. This Latinization of parks generated complaints from surrounding neighbors because of the overflow of parking into neighborhood streets. Because of the high demand for tables park goers began setting up camp overnight which irritated city recreation officials who then banned camping overnight and shorten the hours. Now a line of cars begins forming at 4am until the gates open at 6am and then a mass rush of vehicles race to find a table. Others attempt to find one on foot. For example, my brother who has reserved the family table every year, has perfected the art of finding the park tables. He looks for one next to the playground and bathrooms. He arrives at the park in the middle of the night but instead of waiting in line he takes a hike along the trails to stake out a table. Once the gates open and as people begin to dash toward the tables (like they are running a 100 meter yard dash), my brother descends from the bushes with one chair on each hand and sits down on a table. He gets the best table every time!


About josemalamillo

Professor of Chicano/a Studies California State University Channel Islands, Camarillo, CA
This entry was posted in Latino culture, Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Latinization of Public Parks

  1. profe says:

    20 years ago my parents moved from our barrio to a primarily Asian immigrant community, to a house across the street from a park. For years it seemed it never got used on Easter. Yesterday, it was overflowing with families–all of them Latina–even though the neighborhood is even more Asian immigrant than it was when they moved. It made us smile to see the fruits of the “discovery” of the park even though it’s not situated in an actual Latino community.

    Nice blog and post!

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