Chiques History Notes is a series of post based on my research on Oxnard, CA.
The historical La Colonia Boxing Gym located at 520 East First Street has served the Latina/o/x community in multiple different ways since 1944.
Source: Oxnard Press-Courier, 10 May 1944.
First, the city used it for Fire Station No. 2, which moved to 531 East Pleasant Valley Road in 1965.
Source: Oxnard Press-Courier, 2 Jun 1965.
Second, they used it for many different types of local community services and groups.
Source: The Press-Courier, 29 Jun 1968.
And finally, it becomes the home of the famous La Colonia Youth Boxing Club.
Ironically, as of yesterday, June 6, 2019, both the gym and the fire station No. 2 was on the city chopping block for significant budget cuts. But, a mass outcry and organizing from the working-class community of Oxnard steered the city council away from cutting them.
In the last couple of years (2017-2019), scholars, authors, and writers have published numerous books on Latina/o/x histories in Oxnard. We can add the following counter-narratives to the list:
Strategies of Segregation: Race, Residence, and the Struggle for Educational Equality by David G. García
“Strategies of Segregation unearths the ideological and structural architecture of enduring racial inequality within and beyond schools in Oxnard, California. In this meticulously researched narrative spanning 1903 to 1974, David G. García excavates an extensive array of archival sources to expose a separate and unequal school system and its purposeful links with racially restrictive housing covenants. He recovers powerful oral accounts of Mexican Americans and African Americans who endured disparate treatment and protested discrimination. His analysis is skillfully woven into a compelling narrative that culminates in an examination of one of the nation’s first desegregation cases filed jointly by Mexican American and Black plaintiffs. This transdisciplinary history advances our understanding of racism and community resistance across time and place.”
21 Miles of Scenic Beauty… and then Oxnard: Counterstories and Testimonies by Martín Alberto Gonzalez
“Despite its wonderful everyday weather and beautiful surf-ridden beaches, Oxnard, California, has a reputation of being dangerous and demoralizing due to its gang presence. In this book, Martín Alberto Gonzalez takes this reputation head on through a series of social justice-oriented stories loosely based on his experiences and observations growing up in Oxnard as a first-generation Xicano. Rather than focusing on everything that deems the city bad, such as its overabundance of undereducated Brown people, Martín flips the script through counterstorytelling and testimonies in order to shed light on various injustices directly impacting his community, such as inequitable schooling practices, segregation, gentrification, and many more.”
Growing Up in La Colonia: Boomer Memories from Oxnard’s Barrio by Margo Porras and Sandra Porras
“La Colonia is half a square mile of land separated from the rest of Oxnard by the railroad tracks and home to the people who keep an agricultural empire running. In decades past, milpas of corn and squash grew in tiny front yards, kids played in the alleys and neighbors ran tortillerias out of their homes. Back then, it was the place to get the best raspadas on Earth. It was a home to Cesar Chavez and a campaign stop for presidential candidate Robert Kennedy. As one Colonia native put it, “We may not have had what the other kids had, but we were just as rich.” Through the voices of the people, the authors share the challenges and triumphs of growing up in this treasured place.”