The UNIVISION Building, home of the first completely Spanish language television broadcast network in the United States, is set to be demolished at any given moment. The Westside Preservation Alliance, a volunteer organization working to preserve the history, culture and historic structures of San Antonio’s primarily Mexican American West Side opposes the demolition of the Univision Building.
We will hold a Press Conference this Friday, September 20 at 12 p.m. at the Univision Building, 411 E. Cesar Chavez Boulevard (Alternate rain location: Casa de Cuentos at 816 S. Colorado St., 78207) to express our views on the City’s neglectful processes that time and again do not value our community’s contributions to the cultural heritage of this country. Speakers will include San Antonio Poet Laureate Carmen Tafolla; Petra Mata Co-Founder and Executive Director of Fuerza Unida; Rosa Rosales, LULAC Civil Right Director of District 15; Patti Elizondo, Emmy Award Winning Journalist, and others.
On Sept. 4, in a 3-5 decision based on the recommendation of the Office of Historic Preservation (OHP), the San Antonio Historic and Design Review Commission (HDRC) voted to permit the demolition of the Univision building. Charged with sustaining our city’s rich historical and architectural heritage, through this type of decision, the HDRC erases our city’s history, particularly as it pertains to Mexican-American history.
We strongly object to this decision as it is another grievous case in which we have borne witness to the demolition of numerous buildings of historic, cultural and architectural significance to the Mexican American community, both national and local, and to San Antonio.
That the OHP apparently deemed insignificant how KCOR founder Raoul Cortez built this structure to house the nation’s first full-time Spanish language television station, that this happened in San Antonio in 1955 when one of three households nationwide did not even own a television, but where a local audience in 1955 could support a full-time Spanish language television station signals, at best, signals neglect. That the OHP did not deem this innovative media approach significant enough or that they did not deem it significant that this San Antonio based business venture impacted the nation, adds to a pattern of willful neglect.
We call upon our city to save the Univision Building and redesign its approach to historic preservation so that San Antonio can truly be a leader in historic preservation, architectural reuse - and so that Latino culture is also saved.
Please join us at our Press Conference which will be held at 411 E. César Chávez Boulevard at noon on Friday, September 20.
Contact Person: Susana Segura, 210.322.2998, Westside Preservation Alliance/Esperanza Peace and Justice Center