Jesus Living On in Chicano Park

by on September 13, 2023 · 1 comment

in From the Soul, San Diego

by Ernie McCray

Every time I’d look over
at my good brother, Jesus Nieto,
while a rapper
was doing his thing
to funk beats
or while other music played
or while the Kumeyaay elders prayed,
blessing this rather sublime day,
he’d be sitting back in his wheelchair
wearing that soft gentle smile of his
on his contented face
and how could he not
be as he was,
sitting there among a sizeable number of
handsome looking people
enjoying a nice day in the park,
especially when it’s Chicano Park,
a National Historic Landmark,
to honor
a mural
that has him painted in it,
wearing a colorful red shirt
behind the words
a wonderful work of art
commemorating MEChA,
a Chicano student movement
born out of the heart and soul
of the struggles for justice
for Black folks
and Chicano folks
carried out in the streets
in the 60’s,
given birth to keep that spirit alive
through bringing young Mexican American college students
into the fold of being “woke,”
a mission that Jesus and other folks honored
on the mural
took on, full on,
Jesus serving as a MEChA advisor
at San Diego State
for years, passionately
inspiring seekers of college degrees,
to know from whence they came
and to actively care about their communities,
as he does,
to be aware of what’s going on in the world,
as he is,
to take leadership
in making
the necessary changes
required to make lives
better for their people,
as he has,
to embrace their Chicano-ness
with naturalness
as he has modeled
in his classroom
as a distinguished dedicated multi-cultural educator
and in his life beyond academia.
It’s called being committed to the cause,
and no one goes all out more for
what’s right than Jesus.

Image of Jesus Nieto in mural wearing red shirt behind “Books Not War”

As I watched him
sitting and smiling
at what was going on around him
I thought how satisfying it must be for him
knowing that
his image
will be looked upon
by many generations to come,
keeping hope alive.

It was a joy watching him.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Thomas L Gayton September 14, 2023 at 1:28 pm



Leave a Comment

Older Article:

Newer Article: