San Jose

Chicano Group Persuades San Jose to Preserve Murals

In an effort to protect its art, culture and history in San Jose, the Chicano community persuaded officials to keep murals from being painted over across the city.

On Wednesday night, the community poured its heart out to the San Jose Historic Landmarks Commission, arguing the art shows chapters of Chicano history and contributions to the South Bay.

The commission voted to add six murals to the historic resources inventory, meaning if someone were to buy a property and wanted to alter an existing mural in any way, the landmarks commission would have to approve it.

"This is kind of the definition of what historic preservation should be," said Edward Saum, chair of the Historic Landmarks Commission.

After a beloved Mural de la Raza was painted over last year, a group formed El Comite, the committee to preserve remaining Chicano historic murals, starting with six of them.

"I want to make sure we protect the ones that really matter," artist William Moran said. "Those are the ones that are in our neighborhoods. Especially the east side."

El Comite hopes to have more art protected and maybe even restore some of the lost history for future generations.

"It's a proud day to be Chicano," Jose Valle said. "We have something here that ... it will be here for our kids and our kids' kids."

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