Artist Statement:

I am an artist born in a paradoxical paradigm in the Border region of Tijuana and San Diego. The border between both countries divides us in a physical and spiritual way. Latin-American people have a diverse and rich historical realities.  Throughout my life different events and socio condition have influence my evolution as an artist. Yet the decisive factor in my life and art expression was and is the education I have acquire. Knowledge has been the vehicle through were I search for the answer to my cultural identity and have been fortune to encounter along the way liberating pedagogy. My art represent the element of our multiple realities as Afro-Latino-Americanos, Chicanos, and Indigenous people in the United States and the rest of the Americas. Modern society has de-culturalized and disfranchised us in so many ways where we at times walk in modern society separated from our rooted blood lines of our ancestors. Therefore, through my art I attempt to reclaim our indigenous and cosmetic identity.  With my art I try to remind the audience that we cannot forget who we are as people and how diversity make us a stronger community, and nation.


Jose Olague |

Front Desk


Mural Dedicated to the Indigenous:

Artist Description:

In the center of the mural where the yellow logo is found is the representation of the butterfly that the Toltec's used as a symbol of knowledge. Once the Aztecs came into power they used the symbol of a warrior, so as Chicanx/Latinx when we go to college we become this warrior seeking knowledge. The butterfly is also known as a symbol of transformation in our present. Therefore the library is a symbolic representation of the knowledge concentrated and where we will change as individuals. The snake is a symbol of earth knowledge and the Kumeyaay used a lot in the weaving of their baskets. None the less when I look at the history of the UCSD library it has a snake around it, so I had to give it the Chicanx/Latinx/native perspective to the western interpretation of knowledge. Therefore I also used the symbol of Quetzalcoatl through the green double sided snake. As you know Quetzalcoatl was an important symbol and god in the religious beliefs of Mesoamerican culture. In addition the center and surrounding symbols of the snake is the path we are taking as student that will lead to our transformation as individuals.

More about each portrait:


Tupac Amaru


Tupac Amaru: 

the last indigenous monarch of the Ince Empire in Vilcabama, Peru.





Chief Joseph


Chief Joseph:

leader of the Wal-lam-wat-kain (Wallowa) band of Nez Perce, a Native American tribe indigenous to the Wallowa Valley in northeastern Oregon, in the interior Pacific Northwest region of the United States.

Kumeyaay Mujer

Kumeyaay-Mujer.pngKumeyaay Mujer:

Native American people of the extreme southwestern United States and northwest Mexico. They live in the states of California in the US and Baja California in Mexico.

Medicine Wheel

Medicine-Wheel.pngMedicine Wheel:

In some Native American cultures, the medicine wheel is a metaphor for a variety of spiritual concepts. Historically, the monuments were constructed by laying stones in a particular pattern on the ground oriented to the four directions.

Commandante Ramona


Commandante Ramona:

Ramona was one of seven female commanders in charge of directing an army that consisted of one-third women.

Frida Kahlo


Frida Kahlo:

a Mexican painter known for her self-portraits. Her work has been celebrated internationally as emblematic of Mexican national and indigenous traditions, and by feminists for its uncompromising depiction of the female experience and form.

Rigoberta Menchu

Rigoberta-Menchu.pngRigoberta Menchu:

a political activist from Guatemala, who has dedicated her life and work to making Guatemala’s indigenous feminist rights visible.



the last emperor to rein the Aztec civilization from 1520 until the capture of the Spanish. Cuauhtemoc is known as one of the strongest and bravest warriors who organized resistance against the Spaniards.

Conference Room


More about each portrait:

Colonel Carmen Amelio Robles Avila

Colonel-Carmen-Amelio-Robles-Avila.pngColonel Carmen Amelio Robles Avila:

Transgender Afro-Mexican Revolutionary; Born in 1889 in Xochipala, Guerrero to a moneyed family, Carmen Amelia Robles Avila was educated as a strict Catholic and at an early age showed interest in skills young women did not typically enjoy- such as the handling of weapons, shooting, roping, and mounting and taming horses. In 1912 Avila joined the Mexican Revolution when General Juan Andrew Almazan passed through Avila's hometown. From 1913-1918 Avila fought under the command of the main revolutionary leaders of the state. In the process, Amelia Robles adopted the male attire of a proud guerrillero and became Zapatista Colonel Amelio Robles- a key leader in the Mexican Revolution. Robles met his decade long partner, Angela Torres, while in service at Apipilulco. The military accepted Robles claims to a masculine identity and granted him a veteran’s pension. In 1970 he was officially recognized as a Veteran of the Mexican Revolution and awarded a medal as Honorary Legionnaire of the Mexican Army. He died in December of 1984 at the age of 95.

Roberto Clemente

Roberto-Clemente.pngRoberto Clemente:

As a professional baseball player, Clemente ranks among the best of all time. In addition to the Most Valuable Player Award, Clemente received 12 Gold Glove Awards, 4 National League batting titles, 12 All-Star Game selections, 2 World Series Championships, and reached the 3,000-hit milestone. Only ten players in the history of the major leagues recorded 3,000 hits before Roberto. Clemente became known for his fierce ethnic pride and for his unusual capacity to bear a much larger identity—not just for Puerto Rico but for all of Latin America. It was a responsibility he embraced and carried with dignity and admirable grace. He didn’t see himself as merely a representative of Latin America to the world through baseball. He saw his career in baseball as a way to help Latin Americans — especially underprivileged Puerto Ricans — make their lives better.

"Always, they said Babe Ruth was the best there was. They said you’d really have to be something to be like Babe Ruth. But Babe Ruth was an American player. What we needed was a Puerto Rican player they could say that about, someone to look up to and try to equal."
-Roberto Clemente
National League Most Valuable Player, 1966

"I want to be remembered as a ballplayer who gave all he had to give."
-Roberto Clemente

Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Gabriel-Garcia-Marquez.pngGabriel Garcia Marquez:

(born March 6, 1927, Aracataca, Colombia—died April 17, 2014, Mexico City, Mexico)

Colombian novelist and one of the greatest writers of the 20th century, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982, mostly for his masterpiece Cien años de soledad (1967; One Hundred Years of Solitude). He was the fourth Latin American to be so honoured. In addition to his masterly approach to the novel, he was a superb crafter of short stories and an accomplished journalist.

Susana Baca

Susana-Baca.pngSusana Baca:

Susana Esther Baca de la Colina (born Chorrillos, Lima Province, Peru, 24 May 1944) is a prominent Peruvian singer-songwriter; two-time Latin Grammy Award winner. She has been a key figure in the revival of Afro-Peruvian music. In July 2011, she was named Peru's Minister of Culture in the Ollanta Humala government, becoming the second Afro-Peruvian cabinet minister in the history of independent Peru.

Pedro Albizu Campos

Pedro-Albizu-Campos.pngPedro Albizu Campos

Attorney and political figure in Puerto Rico; Many people in Puerto Rico consider Harvard-educated Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos the father of the Puerto Rican Independence Movement. Following the conclusion of the Spanish American War (1898) Puerto Rico became a territory of the United States. Albizu Campos spent most of his life, from 1924 to his death in 1965, fighting to make Puerto Rico an independent nation. For his activities he spent much of this life in prison, both in the United States and Puerto Rico.

Vicente Guerrero

Vicente-Guerrero.pngVicente Guerrero

Vicente Guerrero was born in the small village of Tixla in the state of Guerrero.  His parents were Pedro Guerrero, an African Mexican and Guadalupe Saldana, an Indian. Vicente was of humble origins. In his youth he worked as a mule driver on his father’s mule run.  His travels took him to different parts of Mexico where he heard of the ideas of independence. Through one of these trips he met rebel General Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon. In November 1810, Guerrero decided to join Morelos. Upon the assassination of Morelos by the Spaniards, Guerrero became Commander in Chief. In that position he made a deal with Spanish General Agustin de Iturbide. Subsequently, Guerrero served in a three person “Junta” that governed the then independent Mexico from 1823-24, until the election that brought into power the first president of Mexico Guadalupe Victoria.  Guerrero, as head of the “People’s Party,” called for public schools, land title reforms, and other programs of a liberal nature. Guerrero was elected the second president of Mexico in 1829. As president, Guerrero went on to champion the cause not only of the racially oppressed but also of the economically oppressed. Guerrero formally abolished slavery on September 16, 1829. Shortly thereafter, he was betrayed by a group of reactionaries who drove him out of his house, captured and ultimately executed him. Guerrero’s political discourse was one of civil rights for all, but especially for African Mexicans.  Mexicans with hearts full of pride call him the “greatest man of color.”

Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon

Jose-Maria-Morelos-y-Pavon.pngJose Maria Morelos y Pavon

present Morelia, 1765 - San Cristóbal Ecatepec, 1815; Mexican religious, politician and military, leader of the independence of Mexico. He assumed the leadership of the independence movement after the death in 1811 of the priest Hidalgo (whose cause he had joined in 1810) and won important victories. With much of the south of the country under his control, Morelos also tried to give political form to his ideals of justice and equality through the Congress of Chilpancingo (1813), which formulated the declaration of independence, granted Morelos a broad executive power and laid the foundations for a liberal and democratic Constitution that would be approved in 1814. None of this, however, was long-lasting: reinforced with large contingents of troops, the Spanish viceroy, Félix María Calleja, permanently harassed Congress and Morelos himself, until their capture and execution at the end of 1815. Jose María Morelos y Pavón is a national hero.  In his honor, the state of Morelos and city of Morelia are named after him and bills and coins bear his image today.

Born in poverty, Morelos worked as a muleteer and cowhand until at the age of 25 he began study for the priesthood at the Colegio de San Nicolás in Valladolid. He held several obscure curacies serving mostly Indians and mestizos. Early in 1811 he joined Hidalgo’s insurrection, and after Hidalgo’s death (July 31) he took command of the movement in southern Mexico. Between 1812 and 1815 he controlled most of Mexico southwest of Mexico City, holding at one time or another Acapulco, Oaxaca, Tehuacán, and Cuautla (Santiago Cuautla). Lacking manpower to consolidate control over all of the region after his victories, he turned increasingly to guerrilla tactics.

Lucy Parsons

Lucy-Parsons.pngLucy Parsons

For almost 70 years, Lucy Parsons fought for the rights of the poor and disenfranchised in the face of an increasingly oppressive industrial economic system. Lucy's radical activism challenged the racist and sexist sentiment in a time when even radical Americans believed that a woman's place was in the home. Little is known about the early life of Lucy Parsons. She had an African American, Native American, and Mexican ancestry. She was born in Texas around 1853, during the Civil War Era, and it is likely that her parents were slaves. During her lifetime, in order to disguise her racial origins in a prejudiced society, Lucy went under many surnames. She often went by Lucy Gonzales, denying her African American roots, while claiming her Mexican heritage as the cause of her dark skin tone. Around 1870, while living with a former slave named Oliver Gathings, Lucy met Albert Parsons, who would soon become her husband. Their marriage, however, was probably not legal, since miscegenation laws (laws forbidding marriage or cohabitation between white people and members of other races) prevented interracial marriages at the time.
In 1872, while the South was instituting repressive Jim Crow segregation laws, Lucy and Albert were forced to leave Texas due to their political involvement. Albert had worked diligently on registering Black voters and was shot in the leg and threatened with lynching. He and Lucy also felt threatened because of their interracial marriage.

Celia Cruz

Celia-Cruz.pngCelia Cruz

(Havana, 1924 - Fort Lee, United States, 2003)

Celia Cruz was a Cuban-American singer, best known as one of the most popular salsa performers of all time, recording 23 gold albums. Celia Cruz was born in Havana, Cuba on October 21, 1925. She first gained recognition in the 1950s, as a singer with the orchestra Sonora Matancera. Relocating to the United States after the ascent of Fidel Castro, Cruz recorded 23 gold records with Tito Puente, the Fania All-Stars and other collaborators. Cruz died in New Jersey in 2003, at the age of 77. Celia Cruz grew up in the poor Havana neighborhood of Santos Suárez, where Cuba's diverse musical climate became a growing influence. In the 1940s, Cruz won a "La hora del té" ("Tea Time") singing contest, propelling her into a music career. While Cruz's mother encouraged her to enter other contests around Cuba, her more traditional father had other plans for her, encouraging her to become a teacher—a common occupation for Cuban women at that time. Cruz enrolled at the National Teachers’ College, but dropped out soon after, since her live and radio performances around were gaining acclaim. Tempering her own growing ambitions with her father’s wish for her to stay in school, she enrolled at Havana's National Conservatory of Music. However, instead of finding reasons for continuing on the academic track, one of Cruz’s professors convinced her that she should pursue a full-time singing career.

Cruz’s first recordings were made in 1948. In 1950, her singing career started its upward journey to stardom when she began singing with celebrated Cuban orchestra Sonora Matancera. Initially, there were doubts that Cruz could successfully replace the previous lead singer and that a woman could sell salsa records at all. However, Cruz helped propel the group—and Latin music in general—to new heights, and the band toured widely through Central and North America throughout the 1950s. At the time of the 1959 Communist takeover of Cuba, Sonora Matancera was touring in Mexico, and members of the band decided to leave Cuba for good, crossing into the United States instead of returning to their homeland. Cruz became a U.S. citizen in 1961, and Fidel Castro, enraged by Cruz’s defection, barred her from returning to Cuba.

Cruz remained relatively unknown in the United States beyond the Cuban exile community initially, but when she joined the Tito Puente Orchestra in the mid–1960s, she gained exposure to a wide audience. Puente had a large following across Latin America, and as the new face of the band, Cruz became a dynamic focus for the group, reaching a new fan base. On stage, Cruz enthralled audiences with her flamboyant attire and crowd engagement—traits that bolstered her 40-year singing career. With her seemingly unfaltering vocals, Cruz continued performing live and recording albums throughout the 1970s and 1980s, and beyond. In that time, she made more than 75 records, including 23 that went gold, and won several Grammys and Latin Grammys. She also appeared in several movies, earned a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame, and was awarded the American National Medal of the Arts by the National Endowment of the Arts. Celia Cruz died in New Jersey on July 16, 2003, at the age of 77. On October 13, 2015, Celia, a drama series inspired by the legendary singer's life, debuted on Telemundo. Cruz is remembered as one of the 20th century’s most beloved and popular Latin musicians.

Olmec Head

Olmec-head.pngOlmec head

The stone head sculptures of the Olmec civilization of the Gulf Coast of Mexico (1200 BCE - 400 BCE) are amongst the most mysterious and debated artefacts from the ancient world. The most agreed upon theory is that, because of their unique physical features and the difficulty and cost involved in their creation, they represent Olmec rulers.

Sylvia Mendez

Sylvia-Mendez.pngSylvia Mendez

(born June 7, 1936)

Sylvia is an American civil rights activist of Mexican-Puerto Rican heritage. Sylvia Mendez was born in Santa Ana, California in 1936. As a young child, Ms. Mendez was the child at the center of the landmark 1947 case, Mendez vs. Westminster, in which her parents and neighbors fought against segregated education for children of Mexican descent in southern California, a case that banned segregation in California public schools and paved the way for the national ban on segregated schools in Brown vs. Board of Education seven years later. 

In 1943, students of Mexican decent were required to enroll in seperate schools from Caucasian children. When Sylvia wa in third grade, she and her siblings were denied admission to the segregated "white school" near their Orange County home. The Mendez family fought back.

Seventy-four years later, Mendez, 83, is a fierce advocate of her parents’ legacy, traveling the country to tell the story of Mendez vs. Westminster, one that weaves together historic figures like Thurgood Marshall and Earl Warren and events including the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II and the Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court decision.

La Lupe

La-Lupe.pngLa Lupe

(December 23, 1936, Santiago de Cuba, Cuba - February 29, 1992, The Bronx, New York, NY)

Lupe Victoria Yolí Raymond, better known as La Lupe, was a Cuban singer of boleros, guarachas and Latin soul, known for her energetic, sometimes controversial performances.

After the Cuban Revolution of 1959, La Lupe felt that she could no longer live in a country that did not accept her performances, which were classified as anti-revolutionary. She left Cuba for Mexico in 1962, where she sought acceptance, but was never accepted. Later she moved to New York, where she met fellow Cuban musician Mongo Santamaría. She approached Celia Cruz and asked for her support to get work, and in turn, Celia recommended her to Mongo Santamaría in New York. In New York City, Lupe performed at a cabaret named La Berraca and started a new career, making more than 10 records in five years. 

Voted the best singer by the Latin press in 1965 & 1966, La Lupe went on to become one of the top two divas of salsa music (the other was Celia Cruz). It was during these years that's he produced some of her greatest songs, especially those written by Puerto Rican composer C. Curet Alonso, such as "La Tirana" and "Puro Teatro". In the 1970's La Lupe saw her career decline somewhat. First she was banned from television from Puerto Rico after she tore her clothes off during an awards ceremony on national television. Next, her record label, Tico Records, was purchased by Fania Records, and company executives decided to focus their energies on the less controversial Celia Cruz. Although she had several hits during that decade, she faded into obscurity.

Gaspar Yanga

Gaspar-Yanga.pngGaspar Yanga

Gaspar Yanga—often simply Yanga or Nyanga was an African known for being the leader of a maroon colony of slaves in the highlands near Veracruz, Mexico during the early period of Spanish colonial rule. He is known for successfully resisting a Spanish attack on the colony in 1609.

Rumored to be of royal lineage from West Africa, Yanga was an enslaved worker in the sugarcane plantations of Veracruz, Mexico. In 1570 he, along with a group of followers, escaped, fled to the mountainous regions near Córdoba, and established a settlement of former slaves or palenque.  They remained there virtually unmolested by Spanish authorities for nearly 40 years. Taking the role of spiritual and military leader, he structured the agricultural community in an ordered capacity, allowing its growth and occupation of various locations.