Chican@ Blowout Anniversary

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Sadly, in my list of quickies, I forgot to mention the 40th Anniversary of the Chican@ Blowout/Walkout, which was Feb. 7, 2008. Thousands of highschool students walked out of their East LA classrooms 40 years ago to demand education equality and justice for Chican@s. Their struggle ignited generations, paved the way for many to enter some of the most exclusive colleges in California and elsewhere, started the push for Chican@ Studies and the growth of Chican@ faculty. Some of the most radical people I have had the privilege to work with or get to know in academe came out of the consciousness raising and social justice efforts that began with the blowouts.

Not only is this event important to academics but it was a critical moment in the intellectual and political history of our nation. It also marked the move into addressing education widely and radically on the part of pre-existing Chican@ activists and youth leaders. Like the Longest Walk, which is going on now, I hope these cornerstones in our radical social justice history reinvigorate our nation and show that despite what we have been told, there are seriously committed and intelligent youth working toward change in N. America.

If you are interested in learning more about this topic:

  • HBO did a film about it that my students hated calledposterchicanstudies Walkout – it has its flaws but it is a good primer for people who don’t know anything about the events to get them excited about learning a more accurate version of the story. (And WS folks, it centers on a female protagonist.)

  • UCSB will be having a conference to commemorate the Blowout with Sal Castro, one of the movement’s founders as keynote speaker. more here.
  • you may also want to attend UCSB’s sponsored talk by Mario Garcia entitled “Pedagogy of Chicano Power” which will discuss the Mexican American Youth Leadership Conference and the movement that resulted. The conference was the precursor to the blowouts. (talk: Wed. Feb. 13 noon UCSB IHC Conference room)

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