Christina L. Esparza, San Gabriel Valley Tribune (Los Angeles), May 12, 2005
World-renowned artist Judy Baca came to Baldwin Park about 13 years ago and had a vision for a piece of art to best reflect the city’s history.
She interviewed city officials and residents of all races, socioeconomic backgrounds and beliefs.
Then she built Danza Indigenas, a monument that stands at the Metrolink station.
It was designed to reflect the combination of the indigenous tribes who lived in the area and the European settlers who moved in, Baca said.
She took quotes from residents, she said, and engraved them on the monument.
The monument reflects “the ambiguity of different opinions,” Baca said.
Now, those carved quotes are causing a stir not only in Baldwin Park but across the state, as a Ventura-based anti-illegal — immigration organization declared war on the monument. The group claims such quotes as “It was better before they came” are seditious and promote a radical belief in returning California to Mexico.
“I’m offended by the language as an American,’ said Joseph Turner, executive director of Save Our State.
Save Our State members plan a protest at the monument from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, but they won’t be alone.
Several Baldwin Park residents have said they plan to make a counterprotest to what they call outsiders causing an unwanted stir in their city.
Councilman David Olivas said he supports keeping the monument, which was paid for by the city with $30,000 in matching funds from the former Los Angeles County Transportation Commission, as it reflects the diversity of the city.
“What they’re afraid of is change,” Olivas said of Save Our State. “The face of Southern California is changing. It’s the American dream. We must embrace change.”
E-mail Mayor of Baldwin Park Manuel Lozano at [email protected]