On a Saturday afternoon in East Austin, I met Danza Azteca Guadalupana performing at Edward Rendon Sr. Park at Festival Beach. The group is made up of kids and young adults dressed in Aztec inspired costumes. They group performed in front of a Mexican American audience of approximately 200 people as part of a community festival benefiting Cristo Rey Catholic Church.
My friend Ben Briones who graduated from UT Austin recommended me to visit Leal’s Tire Shop located on East Cesar Chavez Street. I was excited to find murals featuring themes from what appears to be Mexico’s pre-Columbian heritage.
While visiting the shop, I met Armando Lara who is originally from Veracruz, Mexico. He works at the shop fixing flats and doing other maintenance work.
I asked for the name of the artist who painted the walls but people at the shop couldn’t recall his name.
Luis Rodriguez, who is originally from the Coahuila-Texas border, plays the accordion at parties and special events with another band member not pictured here. This image was taken near Cristo Rey Catholic Church in East Austin, Texas on a Saturday noon. I noticed two quinceañera ceremonies taking place at the church the day I visited.
There’s a mural on the premises of Long Motors car dealership in Austin, Texas dedicated to the legacy of Cesar Chavez. The topics alluded in the mural include social justice, farm labor, and economic opportunity. The famous motto “si se puede” is bold and clear to motorists traveling east on Cesar Chavez Street. It sends the message that hard working, Mexican American residents can afford a car.
I interviewed sales manager Raul Martinez with Long Motors and he told me that the mural is attractive to many people. He has been working at Long Motors since 2005, which coincides with the year the mural was painted. Since then, he has watched people take photos and admire the painting.
Raul is from Leon, Guanajuato Mexico. His story is about hard work and dedication. Before being sales manager at Long Motors he worked at a restaurant serving food. Because of his customer service skills at the restaurant he was invited to sell cars by the owner of Long Motors. After three weeks at the job he was promoted to manager and has now (at the time of this writing) 8 years on the job. “Si se puede” he says “picando piedra (chipping rock)”
Jumpolin is a business that sells piñatas and rents moonwalks in Austin, Texas. I met the owner Monica Contraras, her daughter Emilia Lajarazu on a busy Saturday morning and gladly volunteered to be photographed.
Inside, I found a party invitation featuring the Mexican soccer team nicknamed Chivas, piñata sticks, Mexican flags, and many other Mexican themed party items. The store is located on Cesar Chavez St in East Austin, which is home to many Mexican-American businesses.