Alicia Escalante: A Chicana Hero

Alicia Escalante: A Chicana Hero

Alicia Escalante: A Chicana Hero

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alicia Escalante was born in 1933 in El Paso, Texas. Alicia had a difficult childhood and arrived in Los Angeles in 1947. Alicia’s early experiences shaped her political consciousness during the Chicano Movement.

In 1962, Alicia became a single mother with five children and was forced into welfare: “When I took my oldest to the doctor, he said the governor was going to cut-off Medi-cal and told me about a demonstration. I went, we stopped the cuts, and a movement of the poorest was born.”

Five years later, in 1967, Alicia founded the East Los Angeles Chicana Welfare Rights Organization. Alicia was concerned with the county social services racist treatment towards Chicana and Black women who found themselves on welfare due to racist and sexist legislative policies that waged war against low-income families, especially single women with children.

Alicia became an active participant within the Chicano Movement lending her powerful voice at the Chicano Moratorium rallies and sacrificing herself many times to advance the Movement’s goals, such as getting arrested as part of the Católicos Por La Raza’s protest at St. Basil’s Catholic Church on Christmas Eve.

After the Chicana/o sit-in at the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education to reinstate Sal Castro as a teacher, Alicia Escalante made this statement to the Chicano Student Movement newspaper:

“I am a Chicana mother and was one of the 35 arrested at the Board of Education sit it. For you who may not think it was a just cause do you think if it wasn’t Castro would have been reinstated? As the Pledge of Allegiance states, “one nation under God with liberty and justice for all.” This is all we asked for and justice was done. 

My two oldest children are involved in the movement of the Chicano, and it won’t be long until my other children become involved. And simply because we as Chicanos have to fight the school system, the welfare system, police brutality just to name a few. Since my children were old enough to speak they were taught to answer “I am a Mexican” when asked. They were taught to speak up when abused to fight back tooth and nail, to get ther rights as human beings. 

I for one won’t hide behind the cloak of hypocrisy and say these things do not exist, because they do and we know it! Only some mothers are still not willing to face reality so there will be many mothers that criticize me. The same mothers are critical of the word “Chicano”. 

Castro’s case was one of our many victories to come, we in the Movement will at least be able to say that we haven’t submitted to the gringo or to the pressures of the system. We are brown and we are proud. 

I am at least raising my children to be proud of their heritage, they demand their rights, and as they become parents they too will pass this on to their children until justice is done. Perhaps we may see the day when there will be enough Chicano teachers, principals and even a Chicano President. For those of you mothers who may think I may not be a good mother because I am a militant, on the contrary my children are well taken care of in every respect.”

The above photo captures Alicia Escalante in the East L.A. Chicana Welfare Rights Organization office.

c/s

cultural sovereignty

David 

notesfromaztlan.tumblr.com

 

Posted in Aztlan, California, Chicana/o Identity, Chicana/o Power, Chicana/o Studies, Chicana/o Youth, Chicano Movement, Community, Cultura, Decolonization, Education, Family, History, Knowledge, Language, Los Angeles, Mexican, Movimiento, MuXer, Palabra, Politics, Quotes, Racism, Resistance | Leave a comment

César Chávez: “Nonviolence is the Only Weapon”

César Chávez: “Nonviolence is the Only Weapon”

César Chávez: “Nonviolence is the Only Weapon”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Senator Robert Kennedy made his second trip to Delano, California on March 10, 1968 to meet with United Farm Workers (UFW) leader César Chávez who was ending a twenty-five day fast to reaffirm a commitment to non-violence and a call to sacrifice for the bourgeoning Chicano Movement.

César Chávez would later elaborate on his tactics for non-violence as the only weapon for mass mobilization:

Our nonviolent direct action program has as its objective not the creation of tensions, but the surfacing of tensions already present. We set out to precipitate a crisis situation that must open the door to negotiation. I am not afraid of the words ‘crisis’ and ‘tension.’ I deeply oppose violence, but constructive crisis and tension are necessary for growth…To cure injustices, you must expose them before the light of human conscience and the bar of public opinion, regardless of whatever tensions that exposure generates.”

The César Chávez film opened nationwide on March 28, 2014.

c/s

cultural sovereignty

David

notesfromaztlan.tumblr.com

 

Posted in Aztlan, California, Chicana/o, Chicana/o Identity, Chicana/o Power, Chicana/o Studies, Chicano Movement, Community, Cultura, Decolonization, Education, History, Immigration, Indigenous, Labor, Language, Los Angeles, Mexican, Migrant, Movimiento, Palabra, Politics, Quotes, Resistance, Spirituality, UFW | Leave a comment

The Brown Berets Occupy Catalina Island on August 1972

The Brown Berets Occupy Catalina Island on August 1972

The Brown Berets Occupy Catalina Island on August 1972

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On August 30, 1972, twenty-six members (25 men and one woman) of the Brown Berets began a twenty-four day occupation of Santa Catalina Island.  A contingent of Brown Berets arrived in small groups aboard a tourist boat and a small plane.

The Brown Berets stated that the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo does not specifically mention any of the nine Channel Islands off the coast of California and thus argued that México never ceded any of the Channel Islands to the United States at the end of the U.S. War on México in 1848.

Many Chicanas/os-Mexicanas/os claimed that the United States illegally seized and occupied Mexican/Indigenous land. Some legal experts were prepared to argue that México could reclaim those lands back in international court.

The occupation ended on September 23, 1972 when the Avalon City Council threatened to enforce a camping ordinance and thus have the Brown Berets forcefully removed and arrested.

Through the “invasion” of Catalina Island, the Brown Berets brought attention to the problems confronting the Chicana/o-Mexicana/o community as a result of its colonized status within the United States.

The above photo shows members of the Brown Berets leaving Catalina Island while being escorted by the L.A. County Sheriffs at the end of the Catalina Island occupation.

—-

c/s

cultural sovereignty

David

notesfromaztlan.tumblr.com

 

Posted in Aztlan, Brown Berets, California, Chicana/o, Chicana/o Identity, Chicana/o Power, Chicana/o Studies, Chicana/o Underground, Chicana/o Youth, Chicano Movement, Community, Cultura, Decolonization, East Los Angeles, Education, History, Indigenous, Knowledge, Language, Los Angeles, Mexica, Mexican, Movimiento, MuXer, Palabra, Politics, Resistance | Leave a comment

Yo Soy Chicano Not Hispanic! Get It Right (August 25, 1990)

Yo Soy Chicano Not Hispanic! Get It Right (August 25, 1990)

Yo Soy Chicano Not Hispanic! Get It Right (August 25, 1990)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On August 25, 1990, several thousand Chicanas/os marched in East Los Angeles to commemorate the historic Chicano Moratorium march that took place twenty years earlier on August 29, 1970 when 30,000 Chicanas/os protested the Viet Nam War.

It was on August 29, 1970, that Ruben Salazar, Lyn Ward and Angel Gilberto Díaz were assassinated as a result of the police instigated riot that saw many store fronts along Whittier Blvd. go up in flames as the community defended itself from the occupying police force.

Twenty years later, Chicanas/os marched to protest the increasing militarization of the border, police brutality, and many of the same issues that were still relevant since the late 1960s and 1970s.

The Chicana (on the above photo) carrying the sign “Yo Soy Chicano Not Hispanic! Get It Right” had the foresight to challenge the Hispanic assault on our Chicana/o-Mexicana/o-Indigenous identity that took root in the 1980s, but has now become a daily routine from American institutions (government, media, schools, etc.) post Chicano Movement.

c/s

cultural sovereignty

David

notesfromaztlan.tumblr.com

 

Posted in Aztlan, Chicana/o, Chicana/o Identity, Chicana/o Power, Chicana/o Studies, Chicana/o Youth, Chicano Movement, Community, Cultura, Decolonization, East Los Angeles, History, Indigenous, Knowledge, Language, Los Angeles, Mexican, Movimiento, MuXer, Palabra, Photography, Politics, Quotes, Racism, Resistance, Spirituality | Leave a comment

El Movimiento Nace

El Movimiento Nace

El Movimiento Nace

Posted in Aztlan, Chicana/o, Chicana/o Art, Chicana/o Identity, Chicana/o Power, Chicana/o Studies, Chicana/o Youth, Chicano Movement, Community, Cultura, Decolonization, Education, History, Indigenous, Knowledge, Language, Los Angeles, Movimiento, MuXer, Politics, Resistance, Spirituality | Leave a comment

Chicana Brown Beret at La Marcha de la Reconquista (1971)

Chicana Brown Beret at La Marcha de la Reconquista (1971)

Chicana Brown Beret at La Marcha de la Reconquista (1971)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On May 5, 1971, the Brown Berets and the Chicano Moratorium Committee organized La Marcha de la Reconquista (A one-thousand mile march from Calexico to Sacramento). The political march and rally was organized as a way to demonstrate the grievances of the Chicana/o community. The march would cover approximately 1,000 miles in three months.

The march began in Calexico. It went through several Chicana/o barrios, such as El Centro, Brawley, Calipatria, Niland, the Salton Sea, Mecca, Coachella, Indio, Indian Wells, Palm Springs, San Jacinto, Redlands, Casa Blanca, Los Angeles, Bakersfield, McFarland, Fresno, Mendota, Merced, and Stockton.

The march ended with five days of organized protest in Sacramento. The key issues were farmworker’s rights, better education for Chicanas/os, the over-reaction of the state capitol riot police, welfare rights, and prison reform.

c/s

cultural sovereignty 

David

notesfromaztlan.tumblr.com

 

Posted in Aztlan, Brown Berets, Chicana/o Identity, Chicana/o Power, Chicana/o Studies, Chicana/o Underground, Chicana/o Youth, Chicano Movement, Community, Cultura, Decolonization, East Los Angeles, Education, History, Indigenous, Knowledge, Language, Los Angeles, Mexica, Mexican, Movimiento, MuXer, Palabra, Photography, Politics, Resistance | Leave a comment

Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales at 1979 Denver Rally

Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales at 1979 Denver Rally

Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales at 1979 Denver Rally

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales at a Denver Rally in 1979 commemorating the assassination of Luis “Junior” Martínez by the Denver police on March 17, 1973. The assassination of Luis inspired Corky to write the poem: “He Laughed While He Danced.” Here’s an excerpt of the poem:

And he laughed, while

         He danced.

They surrounded him, like

picador y matador

         Around

a fallen bull.

without knowing

         who

they killed

Guerrillero

 of deeds and

 social struggle

a symbol

to all who care.

—-

c/s

cultural sovereignty

David

notesfromaztlan.tumblr.com

 

Posted in Aztlan, Chicana/o, Chicana/o Identity, Chicana/o Poetry, Chicana/o Power, Chicana/o Studies, Chicana/o Youth, Chicano Movement, Colorado, Community, Cultura, Decolonization, Education, History, Indigenous, Knowledge, Language, Mexica, Mexican, Movimiento, Palabra, Politics, Resistance | Leave a comment

Women of the Zoot-Suit

Women of the Zoot-Suit

Women of the Zoot-Suit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 1942, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) launched an all-out “war on crime” that systematically ended up targeting Chicana/o youth. Under such conditions & despite lack of evidence on August 1942, twenty-two Chicanos were arrested & charged with murder in what is known as the Sleepy Lagoon Case. Forgotten in history is the fact that Chicanas were also arrested. Dora Barrios, Frances Silva, and Lorena Encinas (pictured) were initially arrested & a total of eight Chicanas were charged by the juvenile court system with the crime of “rioting” thus declaring the girls wards of the state & sent to the Ventura School for Girls. Even after the case was dismissed & the boys freed, the girls remained in the system until they turned 21.

c/s

cultural sovereignty

David

notesfromaztlan.tumblr.com

Posted in Aztlan, Boyle Heights, California, Chicana/o, Chicana/o Identity, Chicana/o Studies, Community, Cultura, Decolonization, East Los Angeles, Education, History, Knowledge, Lincoln Heights, Los Angeles, Mexican, MuXer, Pachuca, Palabra, Photography, Racism, Resistance, Zoot-Suit | Leave a comment

Luis “Junior” Martínez: Martyr of the Chicano Movement (March 17, 1973)

Luis “Junior” Martínez (August 21, 1952-March 17, 1973) - photo by Dino Castro

Luis “Junior” Martínez (August 21, 1952-March 17, 1973) – photo by Dino Castro

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luis “Junior” Martínez was born on August 21, 1952 to Luis and Anne Martínez. Luis was one of the younger activists who gave hope to the older activists for his commitment to the movement.

Luis was a founding member of Denver’s Northside Black Berets in 1969. A Chicano revolutionary nationalist, Junior was also a member of the Crusade for Justice. Junior was an accomplished dancer and was a leading member of the Ballet Folklorico de Aztlán.

On March 17, 1973, at the age of 20, Luis was assassinated by the Denver police. The Denver police with assistance from federal law-enforcement agencies had the Crusade for Justice under intense surveillance.

As a result, the Denver police raided and attacked members of the Crusade for Justice at the group’s Downing Street headquarters in what is known as the “March 17th Confrontation” or the “Saint Patrick’s Day Incident.”

In the ensuing police assault, several Chicanos were shot and wounded. Over 60 people were arrested and many were also beaten.

Meanwhile, the building of the Crusade for Justice was destroyed by a bomb explosion. It is believed that the Denver police set-off an explosive device into the apartment’s second-floor window.

Immediately, Denver city-officials declared the damaged building structure dangerous, and sent a wrecking crew to demolish it making it difficult to determine the cause of the explosion.

In The Crusade for Justice: Chicano Militancy and the Government’s War on Dissent by Ernesto Vigil has theorized from the acquisition of FBI files obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) that the Denver police assault was coordinated by the FBI and was sparked by the Crusade for Justice’s support for the American Indian Movement’s occupation of Wounded Knee February of 1973.

Luis “Junior” Martínez is forever remembered for his commitment to the Chicano revolutionary struggle for self-determination and is one of the martyrs of the Chicano Movement.

C/S

Cultural Sovereignty

David

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Posted in Aztlan, Chicana/o Identity, Chicana/o Power, Chicana/o Studies, Chicana/o Youth, Chicano Movement, Colorado, Community, Cultura, Decolonization, Education, History, Indigenous, Knowledge, Language, Mexica, Mexican, Movimiento, Palabra, Politics, Quotes, Racism, Resistance | Leave a comment

The Fury of a Chicanita en Aztlán

Young Chicanita carrying movement newspapers with the headline: La Raza Raided: Editor Staff Imprisoned.

Young Chicanita carrying movement newspapers with the headline: La Raza Raided: Editor Staff Imprisoned.

Posted in Aztlan, Chicana/o, Chicana/o Identity, Chicana/o Power, Chicana/o Studies, Chicana/o Underground, Chicana/o Youth, Chicano Movement, Community, Cultura, Decolonization, East Los Angeles, Education, History, Indigenous, Knowledge, Language, Mexican, Movimiento, MuXer, Palabra, Photography, Resistance | Leave a comment