As a former local visiting Chicano Park with locals, I expected a cultural odyssey into the breathtaking Mexican-American murals of the park, instead, in broad daylight, we were first approached by one relatively benign park denizen, ostensibly to give us cultural information on the murals. We should have understood then and there that we did not blend in, were unwelcome, and should have left. About five minutes later, a second park denizen, drunk and likely in an altered state, approached the male in our group, aggressively attempting to start a fight, and ultimately threatening his life. We were able to walk away without harm, but were terribly shaken, sure that something much, much worse could have easily happened. This was clearly not an isolated incident, given the presence of citizen patrols in the park (they were likely the reason the denizen did not come back after us after we de-escalated the situation and attempted to exit the park), and given the racial violence that had occurred only two years prior in the park (4 people were killed in a fight in the park, likely started by non-minorities). It is a shame that a park that is supposed to stand for cultural diversity has been reduced to such a shameful reflection of real racial relations.
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