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Latino/a Mobility in California History

Genevieve Carpio, Javier Cienfuegos, Ivonne Gonzalez, Karen Lazcano, Katherine Lee Berry, Joshua Mandell, Christofer Rodelo, Alfonso Toro, Authors

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La Virgen de Guadalupe Murals

The Virgen de Guadalupe has historically been seen as a symbol of hope for people from around the world, particularly in Mexico, the country that borders the United States, in particular, California. It is described in Shifra Goldman's journal on The Iconography of Chicano Self-Determination: Race, Ethnicity, and Class “As an image, the Virgin of Guadalupe has a long history in Mexico as the nation’s patron saint. In the United States it has been carried on all farmworker demonstrations. It is a constantly repeated motif in artworkds of all kinds, an affirmation of institutional and folk Catholicism. The instritutional aspect of Guadalupe began in 1531 as part of the evangelical process directed at the indigenous people by the Spanish Catholic Church. Evangelization was accomplished by means of a miraculous event: the apparition of a morena (dark-skinned) Indian Virgin to a humble peasant. Juan Digeo, at Tepeyac, site of the shine dedicated to the benevolent Aztec earth goddess Tomantzin- or “our mother.” ( Goldman, 1993, 170).
 In fact,“Juan Diego's cloak is said to be the same painted icon that is central to the cult of the Virgin of Guadalupe, venerated today in the twentieth- century basilica that bears her name” (Peterson, 1992, 39).  Analizing this occurance, it is important to note that this image itself has traveled from Juan Diego’s cloak, to the streets of San Diego and East Los Angeles.  In order to depict this iconography, the first slideshow displays a series of La Virgen de Guadalupe murals. The first two are found in the city of San Diego and the last two are murals of La Virgen de Guadalupe found in East Los Angeles. They are organized in this order to portray how the symbol of La Virgen de Guadalupe travels from city to city and possesses similar meaning from mural to mural. The song playing in the background, Ave Maria by Andrea Bocelli, creates a religious undertone to the imagery to amplify her holiness. It reminds the viewer of the Virgen de Guadalupe’s miraculous Christian power. 
Another theme to point out is the bouquet of flowers found in both East Los Angeles Murals and in San Diego murals. This particular trait and gesture represents the admiration held to this icon by people in both cities. Although they flowers are not directly painted on the mural, the fact that they are directly placed by it highlights their importance. When the audience was asked, “What are the words/tboughts that come to mind while watching La Virgen de Guadalupe murals?” some of the common responses included, “Religion, Christianity, Maternal, hope, femininity” along with “Holy, calming, light, cane, femininity, warmth, Mexico, guidance, wisdom.” These are all positive terms that ignite a type of warm and hopeful atmosphere. In fact, one of the respondants mentioned, “I think of the faith of the when my family for this patron/saint, I think of her ability to travel with migrants to California.”  This idea that the Virgen de Guadalupe can serve as an object that travels presents itself as the ultimate tool of mobility since it inspires and helps people journey through life and from place to place with a sense of protection and guidance.

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