El Paso’s Segundo Barrio Futbol Club scores U.S. Soccer Foundation award for impact

The U.S. Soccer Foundation this week honored an El Paso program based in one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods for making a difference in sports-based youth development. The Segundo Barrio Futbol Club was presented the 2019 Urban Soccer Symposium Award for Impact at the foundation’s 13th annual Urban Soccer Symposium March 18 in Washington, D.C. Awards for organizations or individuals were presented in three categories: influence, innovation, and impact. Related: Love of Segundo Barrio leads Englishman to form soccer club

“It is with great pleasure that we present the third annual Urban Soccer Symposium Awards to We Can Kick It, Segundo Barrio FC, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel,” Ed Foster-Simeon, President and CEO of the U.S. Soccer Foundation said in a press release. “It is because of the innovations of organizations and individuals like these that we continue to grow as a community and, in turn, are able to positively impact more and more young lives through sport.”

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel received the 2019 Influence Award, which was awarded to an individual holding public office who has leveraged his or her position to support, advocate for, and champion sports-based youth development efforts in underserved communities. We Can Kick It received the 2019 Innovation Award for using soccer as a tool to inspire and empower children and their families affected by cancer. 

Segundo Barrio FC received the Impact Award for its work using soccer as a tool for social change by developing programs that foster the physical, mental, and emotional growth of youth in the El Paso, Texas neighborhood, Segundo Barrio. Founded in 2011, Segundo Barrio FC is a volunteer-run organization and started with just one team.

Pedicab business pedals fun, convenient transportation in Downtown El Paso


Pedicab owner Cesar Martinez’ favorite fare was not a movie star nor a local politician. It was revered Father Harold Rahm, who had recently returned to his former parish in Segundo Barrio as person of the year at a cycling parade. “When I was there the public who were seeing Father Rahm again or meeting him for the first time were very respectful of him riding through the neighborhood again. He used to ride his bike though Segundo Barrio to do mission work,” said Martinez, who owns Mesilla Pedicab Company. Martinez, 42, gives rides to local school children, the elderly and visiting tourists for $1 per person, per city block.

A clean and cool park draws Segundo Barrio residents in the summer

EL PASO — Residents walking past the Boys Club Park in Segundo Barrio are treated to the sights and sounds of kids playing on the skate-park, handball courts, and basketball courts against a backdrop of painted murals. Perhaps they will stop and rest on the benches in the abundant shady areas to admire the murals, which depict Segundo Barrio’s culture, history and aspects of life in the area. The most prominent mural painted brightly on the handball courts called “El Corrido de Segundo Barrio,” shows a mother bathing her child outside their apartments, musicians playing and residents walking along the border. The Boys Club Park in the Segundo Barrio is one of the city neighborhood parks that can be found full of activity on any given day. Residents in and around the area are drawn to the Boys Club Park for many reasons.

Muralist Francisco Rodriguez shapes Segundo Barrio’s youth one paintbrush at a time

Local muralist Francisco Rodriguez remembers arriving in El Paso as a teenager with only a middle school education, no job skills, a pregnant wife and no money. Desperate to provide for his family, he took a job in construction to help build the Spaghetti Bowl. “They gave me a construction helmet and a shovel and they asked me ‘can you do this?’ and I thought to myself, ‘well, what else can I do’. I didn’t have an actual job,” recalls 61-year-old Rodriguez, who is now an artist in residence at Centro De Salud Familiar La Fe, a nonprofit community health service center in Segundo Barrio. He had been working on the Spaghetti Bowl project for about one year when a visit to Ciudad Juarez where some family members lived changed his life.

St. Ignatius Church: Providing comfort for more than 100 years

A hot blazing sun shines through the stained windows and over the empty wooden pews of St. Ignatius Parrish in Segundo barrio. This church, now 111 years old, generates great comfort and admiration from the community. To this day the Catholic community of St. Ignatius works hard to fulfill the spiritual needs of the people in Segundo barrio.

San Ignacio de Loyola celebra con su kermes mas de un siglo de apoyo a los más necesitado

EL PASO — San Ignacio Loyola la segunda parroquia católica fundada aquí hace 111 años ubicada en el Segundo Barrio, una de las comunidades más tradicionales de esta ciudad fronteriza, comenzó una serie anual de kermes – ferias para recaudar fondos — hace 20 años para que la parroquia continúe su labor de apoyo a los más necesitados. “La kermes empieza el viernes 31 de julio y termina el dos de agosto con un horario de cinco de la tarde a 12 de la noche, es parte de una tradición y es capaz de unir familias”, dijo Martha Payales, organizadora de esta kermes. El principal motivo de esta fiesta que une a la comunidad de Segundo Barrio es la celebración del santo San Ignacio de Loyola, además de tener como objetivo la recolección de fondos para ayudar con el mantenimiento de la iglesia, ya que tiene varias partes deterioradas por ser originales y tener más de 100 años. La iglesia se ubica en 408 Park St. Pero también con los fondos recaudados ayudan a personas que necesitan sustento económico.

Middle school track and field upgrade brings neighborhood together

From running after a soccer ball to running on a track, the kids and adults in Segundo barrio have been given the feel of getting a fast break off the starting line of a track. Former Guillen Middle School student Angel Luna made a vow to himself. He promised to run everyday of the year after work to be fit and healthy. “I had made a goal for the year. I made a promise for myself to come everyday, for the whole year now,” Luna said.

Community hub La Fe promotes well being of Segundo Barrio residents

It began with a simple dream of a small group of resolute mothers discussing community problems in a one-room apartment in the Segundo Barrio during the 1960s. Through stiff determination and unflinching courage, the “Mothers of La Fe” cobbled together a non-profit organization to empower families immersed in poverty, unemployment, lack of health care and gang violence. Since that day more than four decades ago, Centro De Salud Familiar La Fe has helped countless families, many of them recent immigrants to El Paso, resulting in the empowerment of a predominantly Latino community. Segundo Barrio, located south of downtown El Paso near the U.S.-Mexico border, is the city’s oldest and most historic neighborhood, housing a community deeply rooted in Mexican culture. “I have always said that all the people in La Fe are my second home,” said  Esperanza Tijerina, who attends citizenship classes and English at the La Fe Culture and Technology community center and is preparing to apply for U.S. citizenship.

Con unidad, apoyo y esfuerzo logra realizar su sueño en el Segundo Barrio

EL PASO — La dedicación y el esfuerzo es una de las muchas características que como comunidad, el Segundo Barrio posee. Un claro ejemplo de esto es Adriana Sifuentes, que como muchos otros latinos, decidió superarse a base de una entrega total para alcanzar una de sus principales metas en la vida, que era abrir un salón de belleza. Después de vivir en una rutina diaria por largos años y de sentir como si el tiempo se escapara, Sifuentes sin buscarlo, recibió la oferta que cambio gran parte de su vida. Abrir su propio negocio en 600 Park dentro de la comunidad del Segundo Barrio. ‘’La experiencia ha sido muy diferente a la anterior que trabajaba para alguien, estamos muy contentas la gente es muy linda, es muy sencilla y muy amable, se han portado muy bien aquí con nosotros…gracias a Dios nos ha ido muy bien y esperemos que así siga‘’, dijo Sifuentes, quien esta contenta en donde trabaja.

Exhibit brings to life the memories of two of El Paso’s first neighborhoods

EL PASO — Walking through a dark hall and swinging open the pair of steel gates, museum guests are thrown into a room with walls exquisitely decorated with the memories of this city’s most history-rich neighborhoods.Bright and colorful murals at the El Paso History Museum exhibit surround the viewer with quotes and representations of two of El Paso’s first neighborhoods.Neighborhoods and Shared Memories is an exhibit that shows what life was like in the Segundo Barrio and Chihuahuita neighborhoods as children grew up in the area. El Paso’s oldest neighborhoods continue to thrive in the southern part of the city with an extensive history as a place of refuge and social and economic struggle. Today, vivid murals on aged structures along the two-way streets give an insight into the cultural influences once existed.”We wanted to reach out to all the folks who had not had a voice, who were not represented in the history. The original exhibit plans for this building was that this gallery was designated from the begining to be the headquarters for the neighborhoods exhibit” says senior curator Barbara Angus.”The concept was that even from the beginning the exhibits that were created were directly by the people from the neighborhoods,” said Angus. Each wall represents one neighborhood with phrases from people who lived in the area and their memories of life there.

Pachuco Zoot: A Tale of Identity by coreographer Lisa Smith. (Ezra Rodriguez/Borderzine.com)

The Pachuco’s zoot suit established cultural identity, challenging prejudice

EL PASO – He stood tall and proud next to his newly polished red 1937 Chevy Deluxe Coupe, the feather on his wool felt tonda gliding through the cold spring breeze, his lisa and drapes crisp without fail. The two toned calcos on his feet shined as a star on dark cloudless day. No one in the barrio had trapos as suaves as this vato. He is part of the Pachuco subculture of young Mexican-American males that developed in the Southwest during the late 1930’s and early 1940’s. They wore brightly colored zoot suits and spoke in a lyrical blend of Spanish and English called Caló.

A mural with the most important character of Segundo Barrio can be found at E. Father Rahm Ave. (Azenett Cornejo/Borderzine.com)

Segundo Barrio: a ‘living history’ lesson

EL PASO — In the heart of El Paso is Segundo Barrio, a port of entry to the United States. It’s the first community people see when they cross the border from Juarez, Mexico. Located on the city’s south side, Segundo Barrio is home to more than 8,000 people, of whom 50.8 percent are U.S. citizens, 13.7 percent are naturalized citizens and 35.5 percent are non-citizens, according to City of El Paso statistics. Yolanda Chávez Leyva, chair of the University of Texas at El Paso history department, calls Segundo Barrio the “heart of the Mexican diaspora.”

“El Segundo Barrio is one of the most historic barrios in the United States,” Chávez Leyva said. “[It] grew out of the migration of mexicanos to the United States going back to the 1880s and it’s been the starting point for thousands of families across the United States.”

The neighborhood is “very important” to El Paso, she said, because it is where the urbanization of the city began.

A Campus Inside A Barrio Wrapped in a Metroplex

EL PASO — The future of Segundo Barrio is not white or brown, but green. Such is the view of Centro de Salud Familiar La Fe, a health and human services organization that contends economic power will decide the fate of this historic neighborhood in south central El Paso. It is a decidedly pragmatic approach for a non-profit born in the grassroots movements of the 1960’s and grounded in social justice. A visit to the La Fe “campus” reveals an organization that appears to be thriving. In 1992, La Fe consisted of one health clinic, 65 employees and a budget of $3 million, mostly federal funds.

With poverty still a way of life, Segundo Barrio remembers Cesar Chavez

EL PASO – On a warm, windy March afternoon, the inhabitants of one of El Paso’s most rustic and historic neighborhoods gathered for a carnival held in honor of Cesar Chavez. Centro de Salud Familiar La Fe held a carnival for the famed social justice leader on the grounds of La Fe Preparatory School on Saturday the 26th of March. Hundreds were in attendance, many of them residents of the Segundo Barrio, one of the poorest neighborhoods in the United States. “We need to keep the legacy of Cesar Chavez alive,” says John Estrada, who is a member of the board of directors at La Fe. “And this is one of the ways we do it, through Centro de Salud Familiar La Fe.”

The board of directors of La Fe have supported this event for over 10 years, with the event taking place on the elementary school grounds for the past three years.