SAL CASTRO & the 1968 East LA Walkouts

Sal Castro was a Chicano activist and social studies teacher at Lincoln High School in East Los Angeles who played a leading role in the 1968 Chicano students walkouts.  With Castro’s advice and guidance, more than 20,000 students walked out of five East L.A. schools demanding educational and systemic reform within the Los Angeles Unified School District — more Mexican American history courses, more Mexican American teachers, and more schools – this at a time when schools were run-down and drop-out rates were high. Although the Supreme Court had ordered an end to segregation, nothing had ended the discrimination that schools still practiced routinely – students were not allowed to speak Spanish otherwise they would be swatted, girls were nudged into secretarial courses and boys funneled into industrial arts. The “walkouts” or “blowouts” was the first major mass protest against racism by Mexican Americans in the history of the United States. This short film was produced for the National Hispanic Media Coalition’s Impact Awards Gala in 2006 of which Sal Castro was awarded the Impact Award for Outstanding Service and Commitment to the Latino Community. This film is written by and narrated by Los Angeles Times Op-Ed columnist and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Patt Morrison,  produced by documentary filmmaker Alison Sotomayor, and edited by Noe Carillo.

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