On March 25th 2014, my daughter and I attended the Mural Dedication of the East Los Angeles Walkouts of 1968 at Lincoln High School. The mural was designed and painted by the students of Behind the Heights Art Team at Lincoln High School. Four walkout participants attended the dedication, including Carlos Montes and Margarita “Mita” Cuarón. The students did such a great job putting a lot of thought and effort into this beautiful mural. The Behind the Heights Art Team also received a Certificate of Recognition from MEChA de Lincoln. My daughter and I were very happy to have attended this event
As we stood in solidarity with the students, my daughter and I were touched the most by Mita’s speech, which expressed the pride and joy she felt towards how beautiful the mural represented what the Walkouts achieved. Mita added that the legacy of the Walkouts needs to continue amongst the new generation of young people, because the struggle still continues, and not everyone is getting the equitable education they deserve. Mita emphasized the fact that everyone has the right to an education and a right to know their history. As a student at Garfield High School during the Walkouts, Mita was beaten, arrested and expelled for her role.
I took a moment to glance at my daughter while Mita was speaking, and she was focused on every word, taking it all in, with so much pride in her eyes. On our way home, we talked about Mita’s speech. Mita’s story inspired my daughter to be more confident and be encouraged to follow her dreams. My daughter’s dream is to become a pediatric nurse. I told her that whatever she does in life, I will fully support her, but reminded her that she should never forget her values, self-worth, roots, culture, and to always be proud of her people and herself.
Throughout the rest of the evening, my daughter and I continued discussing the Walkouts and how they have paved the way for us. My daughter asked me, “Mom, if you were there back in 1968, do you think you would’ve walked-out? Wouldn’t it be amazing to go back in time and be part of something so great? ” I answered her confidently, “Yes! I definitely would have been there! pero mijita, we have plenty of opportunities now to help make a difference too!”
Looking at that mural brought so much pride to both of us. The mural is also a reminder that we still need to push forward and never settle for less than we deserve. The struggle still continues, and we are ready to take it on.
– by Donna