Things That Matter

San Diego’s Chicano Park Has Finally Attained National Historic Landmark Status

Chicano Park in San Diego’s Barrio Logan has finally been given National Historic Landmark status, the San Diego Tribune reports. The Department of the Interior, headed by Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, highlighted the park’s significance, saying, “Representative of the Chicano Civil Rights Movement, Chicano Park has become a cultural and recreational gathering place for the Chicano community.” Chicano Park is known for its vibrant murals, which depict culturally significant icons and abstract works of art by Latino artists.

Prior to receiving National Historic Landmark status, Chicano Park was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

CREDIT: KPBS News / YOUTUBE

The park became a significant landmark in the 1970s, when Latino protesters stood up to the California Highway Patrol officers attempting to use the land though it was designated for community use. In the 1980s, Fox 5 reports, the San Diego Historical Site Board designated the area an “official historical site,” and in 2013, Chicano Park was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

San Diego council member David Alvarez told KPBS, “Receiving this landmark status will help preserve this location for generations to come and further validate the communities’ struggle for equality and social justice.”


READ: Barrio Logan’s Chicano Park Has Its Eyes On Historical Landmark Status

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San Diego State University Student Dies After Being Hospitalized Following Frat Party

Things That Matter

San Diego State University Student Dies After Being Hospitalized Following Frat Party

Carly Bernado / GoFundMe

San Diego State University has announced that freshman student Dylan Hernandez died over the weekend. Hernandez, 19, reportedly attended a ‘fraternity event’ Wednesday night. On Thursday morning, Hernandez’s body “was found pulseless and apneic by his roommate in their dorm room,” according to San Diego’s Medical Examiner’s report. Hernandez was transported to Alvarado Hospital on Thursday and died Sunday, surrounded by family from his hometown of Jacksonville, Florida.

All 14 fraternities affiliated with San Diego State University (SDSU) were placed on suspension upon Hernandez’s hospitalization and will remain suspended until further notice. 

Dylan Hernandez is described as an “outgoing, light-hearted and goofy person who had so much love to give to everyone he met.”

Credit: Bart Hernandez / Facebook

Dylan was an outgoing, light-hearted and goofy person who had so much love to give to everyone he met,” writes GoFundMe organizer Carly Bernado. “He never failed to make everyone in the room smile and his laugh was infectious. He was a first-semester student at San Diego State University. This is being created to raise money to help to create memorials for family and friends as a way to grieve, and remember Dylan for all the lives he was able to touch.”

A GoFundMe for funeral and memorial expenses has raised nearly $29k at the time of publication.

Credit: Carly Bernado / Facebook

The fundraiser was seemingly started by Hernandez’s girlfriend, Carly Bernado. Over 800 donations have come in, many of which from SDSU classmates or alumni, seeking to support the family during this difficult time. 

“This young man, Dylan, was my daughter’s next-door neighbor in the dorm at SDSU. He died suddenly this past week,” Maria Bernal Toretta shared on Facebook. “He was a nice, respectable young man who was helpful and kind to my daughter. Please pray for him and for his family; they will be needing many prayers. If you feel inclined to donate to the go fund me account, the link is below. I am truly sorry for this family’s loss.” 

San Diego State’s University Police Department is currently investigating the cause of death.

Credit: Carly Bernado / GoFundMe

“UPD is investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident,” University Police said in a statement. “Although the investigation is preliminary, UPD is taking this matter very seriously. As this is an ongoing investigation, UPD cannot provide additional details at this time.” The medical examiner’s office could invite San Diego Police to investigate the case if it rules Hernandez’s death a homicide.

Hernandez reportedly fell off his bunk bed after returning home from a frat party.

Credit: Julia Hernandez / Facebook

The following morning, Hernandez’s roommate returned to find him unconscious and without a pulse, after suffering a head injury from his fall. His roommate called 911 at 8:49 a.m. Thursday to the sixth floor of Tenochca residence hall. Hernandez was in the midst of pledging to Phi Gamma Delta, one of the fourteen fraternities associated with the Interfraternity Council (IFC). Six of those fraternities were already under suspension and an additional four were under investigation.  SDSU President Adela de la Torre suspended all fourteen IFC fraternities effective Friday, November 8. 

The following day, de la Torre emailed the entire student body urging students with any information to come forward, after university police “uncovered information which alleges that a fraternity was involved in possible misconduct.” Several students told CBS News that Hernadez “over partied,” alluding to overconsumption of alcohol. Hernandez, 19, was below the legal drinking age. Many are demanding an alcohol ban on fraternity property, referring to the injuries and deaths caused by “hazing.”

SDSU President Adela de la Torre said the university will continue offering mental health support to those who are affected.

Credit: Carly Bernado / Facebook

In a statement, De La Torre addressed the SDSU community to say, “It is with a heavy heart that I am writing to say that Dylan Hernandez, the student who was hospitalized last week, has passed away. His family gave their goodbyes late Sunday night.” She also acknowledged that Hernandez’s impact on the community was felt and that therapists with Counseling and Psychological Services will continue offering their resources for students, faculty, and staff.

Our hearts go out to the Hernandez family during this difficult time.

Credit: Sylvie Laporte Hernandez / Facebook

Dylan Hernandez, 19, is survived by his sisters, Julia and Kayla Hernandez, and his parents, Sylvie Laporte Hernandez and Bart Hernandez. “Love you forever buddy,” his sister Julia commemorated on a social media post.

READ: Kelly Ripa Tried To Make A Joke About Her Son Experiencing Extreme Poverty After College But Not A Lot Of People Laughed

Police Arrest Family Member For Arson In San Diego House Fire That Killed Three, Hospitalized Two

Things That Matter

Police Arrest Family Member For Arson In San Diego House Fire That Killed Three, Hospitalized Two

We’ve seen countless of true crime stories in which families are horrifically killed in their homes. Whether they were killed in an accident, or while being robbed, there’s just no way to make sense of these awful crimes. What makes these crimes worse is when someone close to the family commits the crime against their loved ones. That’s what family and friends are dealing with this week in San Diego — now that a suspect has been arrested in connection with a fatal crime against an entire family. 

San Diego Police have arrested  26-year-old Wilber Romero in connection to a house fire that killed his father, mother, and sister.

Credit: ABC 10 News / YouTube

On Oct. 13, just before 5 a.m., a house fire tore through the home of the Romero family in Logan Heights in San Diego, California. Initially, only one person pronounced dead at the scene. The rest of the family members were taken to the hospital.

In the end, the Romero family lost their 44-year-old Jose Antonio Romero, his wife 46-year-old Nicalasa Maya-Romero, and their daughter, 21-year-old sister Iris “Krystal” Romero.  Another younger brother, 16-year-old Angel, and sister 23-year-old Wendy remain in the hospital, but both are expected to be released soon. 

Their eldest son, Wilber, escaped the fire unharmed and was interviewed by news outlets in which he said he tried to rescue his family. He also denied any involvement in the crime.

Credit: CBS8 / YouTube

“My dogs were jumping on me, trying to wake me up. I woke up. When I woke up, my bed was on fire,” Wilber said to ABC10. “I jumped out of bed and started screaming the house is on fire.”

A day after investigators interviewed him, Wilber said that he didn’t have anything to do with the fire that killed his mother, father, and sister.  He said he would have never committed such a crime against his own family.  “You can lock me up, but you’re not going to take me in for me to say this: ‘I did it,'” he said directly into the camera in an interview with CBS8. “I’m not going to say it because I didn’t do it.”

Witnesses also say they saw people trying to escape the house, but the windows had protective bars on them. The flames were too intense for anyone to go inside to help the family.

Credit: ABC 10 News / YouTube

Iris “Krystal” Romero, 21, died days later in the hospital due to her sustained injuries. According to new reports, Krystal used herself as a shield to protect her younger brother. Wendy Romero survived the fire but is in critical condition in the hospital. Media reports say that she tried to break free with so much intent that she broke her fingers. 

“I thought it was like a scary movie,” Jamie Felix, a family friend who witnessed the fire, told a local NBC News affiliate. “I thought it was a nightmare, honestly. I’m just like, ‘This is not real. This is not really happening.'” Wilber seemed to be lucky to have survived the fire unharmed. 

The Greater Antioch Church of God In Christ, which is located next to the Romero home, held a vigil for the family even though they did not attend the church. Wilber was also in attendance and according to NBC News San Diego, he thanked everyone for their support. However, police now say he is the lead suspect in the crime after investigators questioned him. 

Wilber is now facing charges of arson, first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder.

Credit: GoFundMe

“It’s tragic,” Lauren Garibay, a family friend, told the San Diego Tribune. “Right now, we are wrapping our heads around it. It’s unbelievable.”

Over the weekend, family and friends gathered in front of the Romero home to raise money for funeral costs and the orphaned children with car wash fundraisers. They have also launched a Gofundme account and are asking for $30,000. So far, they have almost $17,000. 

I donated because my heart breaks for the surviving family members and I pray the Lord gives them the strength to get through the days ahead by His love and the love of the people around them,” a commenter wrote on their Gofundme age. 

News reports say the Romero family had lived in San Diego for 15 years and are originally from Guerrero, Mexico. 

Credit: GoFundMe

“They’re good people. Like everybody around the neighborhood knows them. They’re, like, known around here. They’re just decent, good, regular human being people,” their neighbor Jamie Felix told NBC News San Diego

If you’d like to help the Romero family with funeral costs, click here

READ: A City Claims A Family Can’t Sue Over A Wrongful Death Because Undocumented People Don’t Have Rights Under Constitution