This isn’t the first time the officials of an OC city have demonized a longstanding Chicano mural as promoting gang culture. Last year, Fullerton City Council member Shawn Nelson stated during a council meeting that the city should whitewash a group of Chicano murals painted on a Lemon Street pedestrian overpass because it might confuse drivers into thinking that the city condoned gang violence. Nelson eventually abandoned that idea after residents and art historians rallied to save the murals.

A similar response has occurred in Orange, where community members staged a 100-strong protest March 21 against the gang injunction. Among the signs waved were some praising the Vasquez mural.

“I don’t understand what makes [police] an expert on Chicano art, or our culture, for that matter,” says Yvonne Elizondo, who grew up on Cypress Street and is a member of the community group Chicanos Unidos. “[Vasquez’s] artwork is absolutely beautiful. This isn’t a guy who goes tagging on walls. He is a hero from our neighborhood.”

garellano@ocweekly.com

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