Students, faculty, staff want mural to stay put

The mural stands about eight feet high and was made by student activists in 1973 and later donated to the University.  |  Emily Chambers /The Daily Cougar

The mural stands about eight feet high and was made by student activists in 1973 and later donated to the University. | Emily Chambers /The Daily Cougar

Students, activists, staff members and alumni met to discuss the daunting future of the Chicano Mural Thursday.

The 19 people at the discussion searched for a way to keep the University from moving the piece from where it currently resides in the University Center Cougar Den.

Recent concerns with preservation of the mural were first discussed in December because of plans to begin renovations on the UC this summer. The University does not intend to destroy the mural; their goal is to preserve it in another area on campus, The Daily Cougar reported in January.

“This is not a living thing. It’s on a wall, but it comes off as something real, and I don’t want to see it moved or destroyed,” said pre-business freshman Kristal Rios.

Everyone attending agreed they did not want the mural moved.

“This mural is a valuable part of history for the University; it recaptures roots with visual language and examines rebirth of a social consciousness in a time when people of color had no voice,” said Lorenzo Cano, professor and associate director of Mexican American studies.  “It empowers and is reconfirmation of who we are as Mexican Americans on campus — we are here to stay.”

The group said many students are not aware of what’s going on with the mural — let alone what it is.

“Students have always had the most power in the University,” said alumna Jezer Urena.  “And we will do whatever we have to do to publicize this and let people know that this isn’t just a treasure for the University but a cultural treasure for the city of Houston.”

At noon Friday, another UC Board meeting will be held to further discuss the details of the mural.

“I am willing to put the dedication in to save this mural,” Rios said. “What about everyone else?”

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  • We aren't just a tally for our ethnicity or nationality. We're Coogs. This mural does not reflect our welcoming community, or our goals of multiculturalism, or how we strive to celebrate each student for who they are. It does not aim to bring us all together. Let's spend the $3 mil to create something that better reflects our campus environment.

  • Three million dollars? Absolutely not. A new mural could trivially be commissioned. Let's let go of the race conversation and realize this is about practicality. If you want to encourage racial divisions, whatever – but let's try to do it for less than 3% of the cost of the entire UC project budget.

  • The $3 million figure mentioned in this article is simply wrong. I've spoke with Jarrod Gogets, the UC Policy Chairman back in December and he said the cost would be around $200-$250 thousand if the mural were to be moved. He also said that any move to the mural would put it in a more prominant location.

    • Even with your new (equally unsupported) figure, one quarter of the entire art budget for the project, devoted to a single piece?

      Again, we could trivially hire a hispanic grad student in the Art Department to produce a new mural. I'm sick of this "the past is holy and should be worshipped" attitude. Progress and change are good. This terrified cowering before advance is baffling to me – let go, people. *swallows difficulty* It's a very nice mural. But it has zero historical significance; other than the fact that it exists at UH and wasn't painted over 30 years ago. Let's get us a new, Tier 1 mural.

      And the proponents of keeping the mural are walking a very, very dangerous like of insinuating those that think preserving an artistically amateur piece are racist. There's a very special hell for people who hijack a serious issue like racism to further their own concerns.

  • Welcome to the University of Houston where Jared Gogets does whatever he wants and pisses off whoever he wants – this time a bunch of Mexicans who like art. Wooo!

    “ La Marcha Por La Humanidad “ (The March For Humanity)
    It is surprising to many people how little we Mexican-Americans know about our own history. Most know little about who we are, where we came from, and the richness of what we bring to this country. But when we consider the stories of the people depicted in the mural, “ La Marcha Por La Humanidad ,” we begin to understand the bravery the determination required of these people, who forged a new way of life for us all.
    The history of the Mexican-American is the history of Texas and the United States of America. ” La Marcha Por La Humanidad “depicts the history and the struggles of my people from pre-Columbian times to present day America. The bold iconography and striking color of the mural tells us who we are today, it tells us who our neighbors are, and it tells us how we got to the place we are today.

  • The Chicano Mural, now found in the Cougar Den of the University Center at the University of Houston, was an artistic endeavor orchestrated in 1973 by Mario R. Gonzales and Ruben A. Reyna. The artists greatly appreciated the assistance provided by many students/ members of M.A.Y.O., the Mexican-American Youth Organization in helping to raise the funds needed to execute the mural project, and in helping the artists to complete the mural project.
    The funds raised were instrumental in allowing Mario to travel to Mexico to study relevant history, visit museums, and review other historical art in Mexico. During these travels, Mario was honored to meet and had the opportunity to assist and study under Maestro David Alfaro Siqueiros, a great artist and muralista, now deceased.“ La Marcha Por La Humanidad “was the title of Maestro Siqueiros last mural. The Chicano mural is dedicated to Maestro Siqueiros.

  • The Chicano mural depicts a vivid example of the history and the struggles of the people who lived here long before the United States existed. We Mexican-Americans are the descendants of these people.
    The indigenous Mexican-American was here before our Founding Fathers even immigrated to this land. It is important for indigenous Mexican-Americans to understand our complicated history. We need to distinguish our history from today’s controversial immigration question, which presents very different issues. The history of the indigenous Mexican-American contributes to and enriches the melting pot that America has become. It was always America’s destiny to become a Nation of all Nations.
    Diversity is America’s greatest asset. It was God’s Plan long before 1492. I am truly grateful that God gave me the opportunity to illustrate the history of the Mexican-American contribution to American diversity on a mural wall at the University of Houston, where it can be viewed by the most diverse audience of students, deans and professors. Thank you God!

  • Please join us and sign the petition to ‘Save the Mural’ because the moving of the mural will jeopardize its integrity and will mean its destruction.
    To Sign the petition on-line go to: search bar: Chicano Mural
    To view a video go to:

    To view and /or purchase copyright photographs go to:
    Password: 37211-mural

  • To those trying to save the mural, you do realize with the new design to the UC, the mural would be in a terrible location…just as it is now. I'd rather have it moved somewhere new and properly respected…OR a new mural painted that represents UH as it is now.

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