June 19, 2024 #1 Local News, Forum, Information and Event Source for Venice Beach, California.

Venice Shorts: Locals Raise Funds for Mexican-American Monument Honoring Traqueros

Remembering & Preserving a History Somewhat Forgotten 

By Nicholas Antonicello

Remembering and honoring a history that in some cases has gone unacknowledged or ignored, Venice locals inspired by the Japanese-American Internment Memorial located at Lincoln and Venice Boulevard are working hard to raise the necessary funding to erect the Mexican-American Traqueros Monument scheduled for unveiling in 2025 or early 2026.

I met with members of the committee last week led by Laura Ceballos, a Venice native and longtime community organizer and veteran’s advocate along with Jose Gonzalez, a 60-year Venetian and Darlene Rodriguez, a lifelong resident, mother and grandmother. Other members of the committee include Johnny Garcia, Jr. and Wendy Santiago, who attends Santa Monica College and is a graduate of Venice High School.

With a Go Fund Me page intact, the overall project is estimated at $350,000 with roughly $200,000 raised for this worthy cause.

The project started with a petition drive that resulted in the collection of 1,500 signatures and significant political support from US Congressman Ted Lieu, State Senator Ben Allen of Santa Monica, labor leader icon Dolores Huerta and significant backing by former LA councilmember Mike Bonin.

The proposal was approved by the Venice Neighborhood Council in 2020 and the Los Angeles City Council in 2021.

The sculptor commissioned for the monument is Jorge Marin and the entire project is currently in the permit process.

In many ways, gentrification that has transformed Venice so dramatically has erased the roots of these longtime residents who believe this project will retain and remember a crucial piece of Mexican-American history.

With a fundraiser scheduled for October 29th, this monument and memorial will be the first of its kind in Venice as well as the Westside of Los Angeles.

The next event is the popular Car Show, which was attended by hundreds in the past and is a must Venice event for true locals and residents alike.

The fundraiser will take place at Oakwood Park, located at 757 California Avenue, with the gates opening at 8:00 AM and the event will commence at 10:00 AM and close at 5:00 PM.

Over 100 cars will be on display that will comprise classic, muscle and antique vehicles as well as a “community altar,” which will remember loved ones with photos and images as well as authentic Aztec cuisine.

Vendors, food and refreshments as well as a DJ and raffle will make for a great community event that all will enjoy for a great cause of remembering the trials and tribulations of the Mexican-American narrative.

According to Wikipedia, Traquero is a railroad track worker, or “section hand”, especially a Mexican or Mexican American railroad track worker (“gandy dancer” in American English usage).

The word derives from “traque”, Spanglish for “track”.

The Pacific Electric interurban system in the Los Angeles area was constructed and maintained by a workforce which was largely made up of traqueros.

Nick Antonicello is a 30-year resident who covers the history, culture and vibe of Venice. Have a story suggestion? Contact him via-email at nantoni@mindspring.com

in News, upbeat
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