Park Service Highlights California's Latino Heritage

National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis addresses Latino Legacy forum in LA Oct. 24, 2013.


Latino history is alive in every corner of our communities, and those stories form a rich legacy that must be preserved, National Park Service (NPS) Director Jon Jarvis told a Los Angeles crowd.
The NPS announced its proposal to honor Latino civil rights champion Cesar Chavez with a new national historical park that could include five sites in California and Arizona.
Latino heritage and culture is particularly rich in California – from its urban cities to the San Gabriel Mountains and River.

“We need to use these places to tell those stories,” Jarvis said, reminding the audience at Ruben Salazar Park that it was essential for local communities to connect those stories to the Park Service so that they could be retold for all Americans.

Former U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, who also spoke at the Oct. 24 Latino Legacy Forum organized by the Park Service, had authored the legislation to study a park honoring Chavez.

Solis said she also wanted to see her dream for a National Recreation Area for the San Gabriel Mountains and River to be fulfilled. She authored a bill more than a decade ago that resulted in a recent study and recommendation for that area.

“As a child growing up I fondly remember outings we had in the San Gabriel River and creeks,” she said. Those trips to the river, before a freeway was built near it, “reminded me of beauty and nature.”

Outside the forum, TWS joined many partners, including San Gabriel Mountains Forever, with information booths highlighting  LA’s Latino heritage.