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Chicano artists fighting to save murals after one already destroyed

Posted at 4:44 PM, Sep 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-30 19:44:03-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) Chicano artists and activists gathered to voice their concerns about two more murals getting torn down during construction on a local school, one week after the first mural was destroyed.

The San Diego Unified School District is working on upgrading Memorial Preparatory school in Logan Heights. Part of the upgrade involves tearing down buildings and walls, and on some of those walls are decades-old murals painted by local Chicano artists. The murals all celebrate the history and culture of the local area.

Wednesday, Sept. 30, the artists gathered with a group outside the school and asked to save the murals. Moments later, the first mural was destroyed. A spokesperson for the district said that building could not be saved because it had asbestos.

The advocates expressed concern over that statement, saying if the asbestos was really that bad, the construction workers should not have let it collapse the way it did, allowing dust to spread into neighboring homes.

RELATED: Barrio Logan artists upset about destruction of historic mural

One week later and the artists gathered again in front of the school, this time saying there are two more murals inside the school they want to save. They said to their knowledge, the buildings these murals are painted on are staying up and these areas do not have asbestos, but certain parts are being torn down, including where the murals are. They’re asking the district to save these murals, offering to supply the funding and labor needed to move the artwork.

“What we’re saying is we have the resources we have the will and we have the passion to go forward with the removal. So it’s not that it can’t be done, it’s that we’re not being allowed our rights to preserve them for the entire community,” a representative from the group said.

KGTV spoke to a representative from the district Sept. 30, who said they did not want to take the murals down but had to for safety reasons due to the asbestos. They also mentioned the construction will benefit the students in the long run. The district could not be reached again the following week, so KGTV was unable to ask why the other two murals cannot be saved.