On Saturday, September 10th over 100 people gathered at Costa Alegre Carniceria on Crows Landing Road in South Modesto for the 1st Annual 209 Chicano Unity Festival, put on by RHHR, Modesto CopWatch, Modesto Anarcho, and the newly formed Modesto Chapter of the Brown Berets de Aztlan.
The free community event went from around 1pm until past 8pm and featured food, a kids bounce house, a stencil workshop, graffiti walls & paint, info tables from various organizations, guest speakers , and musical performances.
A long list of keynote speakers spoke from their experiences in gangs, drug abuse, and from the Chicano and indigenous liberation movements. Guest speakers such as David Rico & Xicano Vince (Brown Berets de Atzlan from San Diego & Modesto), Henry Dominguez & Luta (Black Berets por la Justicia in San Jose, Los Banos, & Modesto), Gerald Smith (original New York Black Panthers & Berkeley CopWatch), Emiliano Mataka (Modesto CopWatch & Grayson Neighborhood Council), members of Modesto Anarcho, Fresno Brown Berets, Pablo & Chavo
(Union del Barrio in LA), Nane Alejandrez (Barrios Unidos in Santa Cruz), Steven Payan (the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement in Sacramento & Woodland), and many others spoke about gang unity, police brutality, poverty, education, immigration, and many other issues important to the Chicano community especially in Modesto and California.
Hip-Hop was a large part of the day with Modesto MCs Nikfuq and Sont
Himself, Looney209 (Delhi), Koshae (Los Banos), Kneel the Strawman (Sac), Eddie Falcone (SF), Shining Soul (Phoenix), Cosmo Brown & DJ Lingos (Tucson, AZ), & Modesto’s DJ 5on5. Spoken word and songs were provided by Naiche & Luta (Black Berets), Tanika Baptiste, Ralphy & Hashid (Fresno Brown Berets), & Richie Cooks (Modesto).