A group fighting illegal immigration is demanding a Southern California city remove statements from a 12-year-old outdoor monument at a rail station because they espouse an “anti-American message.”
Saying the monument pushes “radical revisionist history,” SaveOurState.org, a nonprofit anti-illegal immigration organization, has demanded the City of Baldwin Park remove the statements from the monument by July 1.
The monument, Danzas Indigenas (Indigenous Dance), is located at the Baldwin Park Commuter Rail Station, which is part of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, or MTA, system. Built in 1993, it includes an inscription of the following quote by Gloria Anzaldua:
was Indian always
And will be again.
Another part of the monument has inscribed: “It was better before they came,” a reference to the settling of California by whites.
Some Latino activists have called for the return of the southwest U.S. to Mexico for the creation of “Aztlan” – an area regarded in Chicano folklore as California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and parts of Colorado and Texas.
“This divisive monument is funded by our tax dollars and we will not tolerate its anti-American message,” said Joseph Turner, executive director of SaveOurState.org. “This is not art. This is not freedom of expression. This is government-sanctioned sedition. This is our land. This is our fight.”
The monument was paid for by taxpayers through the MTA and City of Baldwin Park, which owns and maintains it.
“We call upon the city of Baldwin Park to voluntarily remove these offensive passages by Friday, July 1, in advance of the American Independence weekend,” SaveOurState.org says on its website. “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.”
A description of the monument on the MTA website says it “traces the historical importance of the California Mission period to contemporary Baldwin Park.” The site does not mention the controversial statements.
“I wanted to put memory into a piece of the land once owned by the American Indian cultures – memory and willpower are what any culture, the ones living then and those living now, has to have to preserve itself,” said Judith Baca, the artist who created the monument.
SaveOurState.org plans a protest Saturday at noon in front of the monument at the corner of Ramona and Downing in Baldwin Park.
Officials from the city did not return phone calls by press time.
The monument protest comes just days after a controversy was sparked in the Los Angeles area after a Spanish-language TV station posted several billboards that had the “CA” abbreviation after “Los Angeles” crossed out and the word “Mexico” added in its place in bold red letters. Last week, Clear Channel, the company that administers the billboards, announced the copy on the ads will be reworked due to “community feedback” it received.