Water in California is a major topic. Coming out of a drought that gave us wildfires and restrictions on water use, we now have had a lot of rain. This downpour was a huge test for the tallest dam in the U.S., Oroville, CA. My thoughts go out to the people affected by flooding in all of California.
This is probably not the reason why there are two water temples in the area. But if you like the sound of running water and are looking for a peaceful place this might be your next stop.
So far I only visited the Sunol water temple. I was there by myself (except for some city workers next to the field who had their picnic lunch). The water temple was modeled after the ancient Temple of Vesta in Tivoli, Italy, by Willis Polk. Built in 1910, in its early years half of San Francisco’s water supply would pass through it. Today only a small amount is used for San Francisco’s water and sewer needs, the rest flows into the Alameda Creek.
Unfortunately the Sunol Water Temple is no longer accessible, closed until November 2018 for construction of the nearby Sunol Corporation Yard. This can only mean that we all have to explore the second water temple in the area: The Pulgas Water Temple 86 Cañada Road, Woodside, California.
Sunol Water Temple, 505 Paloma Way in Sunol, California
It’s been now about a month that the former meeting place of Cesar Chavez and his followers was honored as a Historic National Landmark. Our Lady of Guadalupe Mission Chapel in San Jose, before it became know as McDonnell Hall, was essential for the San Jose United Farm Workers movement during the 1950s and 1960s. It supported local migrant workers with basic services and a space for organisational meetings.
Cesar Chavez was introduced to Father McDonnell in 1952. McDonnell was a big influence on Chavez and started educating him on nonviolence and social justice teaching using the examples of Gandhi and St. Francis.
When McDonnell opened his parish in East San Jose it was still known as Sal Si Puedes [or “Get Out If You Can”]. In 1972 Chavez and Dolores Huerta came up with the revised phrase: Sí se puede, which Obama used in his campaign as ‘Yes, we can!”
The city of San Jose’smemorial walk for Cesar Chavez from 2009 lists the McDonnell Hall, but also includes other places such as Chavez house and school.
February is black history month. A good way to educate yourself on an aspect of black history is the current exhibit of the Oakland Museum of California: All power to the people: Black Panthers at 50.
Until February 26th this will show original documents of the panthers, never seen photos, and the cultural component of the movement.
It was surprising to me that the movement was composed by 2/3 of woman, who also held leadership positions. In an early draft of their program it showed that they thought about a basic income, which is a much discussed topic all around the world right now.
When I visited on Super Bowl Sunday I hoped to be there pretty much by myself. Due to this highly popular exhibit and the fact that on every first Sunday of the month the entry is free (they ask for donations), I had to wait for about half an hour in line.
Besides the Black Panther exhibit I also saw: Out of the box: The rise of sneaker culture. I never thought that sneakers could be so interesting! The story of Carl Lewis’s shoes or a sole making Obama prints is very cool.
To complete my visit I went to see the Gallery of California history exhibit. Very well organized time periods of Californian history. What struck me was the timeliness of their showing of the Mexican border and the last piece of the exhibit some food for thought about the Dakota Native Americans.
There are also the art and science exhibits that I did not have time to visit.
February 19th, also known as the Day of Remembrance, marks the 75th anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 9066 which led to the forced incarceration of 120,000 people of Japanese descent, two-thirds of whom were American citizens.
To learn about the incarceration, the Japanese American Museum of San Jose put together an extensive exhibit, not only detailing the different camps, but also showing a rebuild of a living quarter of Tule Lake.
This museum presents the history of Japanese Americans from the gold rush to the resettlement. I was led through the exhibit by Abe, who was an excellent tour guide and very knowledgeable. For only $5 (seniors and students pay $3) this interesting museum about Japanese American history should be on everyone’s must-see-in-San-Jose list.
Will you remember?
Japanese American Museum of San Jose
535 N 5th St, San Jose, CA 95112
Opening hours are: Thursday through Sunday, 12 – 4 pm
February 19th, Day of Remembrance
5:30 p.m – 7:30 p.m This year under the theme: Stand up to Hate San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin 640 North Fifth Street San Jose, CA 95112