Chapter 10: "Si Se Puede!"1Chicana/o Activism in San Diego 1965-2000
9. What was the Union del Barrio?
In 1981 Ernesto Bustillos, Jeffrey Garcilazo, David Rico and other activists, organized La Unión del Barrio with the purpose of raising the consciousness of Chicana/os and advocating for the rights of Chicana/os as part of a struggle for "
Chicano liberation" through militant means. Shortly after its formation, the organization formed a series of protests against the Border Patrol, denouncing the brutality of the agency against Chicana/os as part of a larger pattern of governmental oppression against Chicana/os.
La Unión also joined with other movement organizations to create Chicanos in Solidarity with the People of Central America (CHISPA) Coalition. The coalition waged a campaign to close down the Immigration and Naturalization Service Centers that were being used to house political refugees from Central America who were facing deportation. The activists strove to connect the issue of American intervention in Central America with the Chicana/os struggle against governmental oppression.
La Unión also expanded the boycott of the Adolph Coors Brewing Company and conducted educational activities aimed at raising consciousness and understanding on issues ranging from counter/insurgency in Central America, to Chicano Studies, to the role of multinational corporations in the oppression of Raza and other nationalities. It also promoted unity forums among the activists. Unfortunately, the initial unity was not the kind envisioned by the activists.
Sí, se puede" is Spanish for "
Yes, it is possible" or, roughly, "
Yes, it can be done."