Thursday, August 28, 2014

Poster of the Week

Chicano Moratorium
Ramses Noriega
Silkscreen, 1970
Los Angeles, CA

Friday, August 29, marks the 44th anniversary of the Chicano Moratorium, a movement of Chicano activists opposed to the war in Viet Nam. Formally known as the National Chicano Moratorium Committee, it was broad-based but fragile coalition of Mexican-American groups organizing against the war and for civil rights. Led by activists from local colleges and members of the "Brown Berets," a group with roots in the high school student movement that staged walkouts in 1968, the coalition peaked with an August 29, 1970 march in East Los Angeles that drew an estimated 30,000 demonstrators. 

Three unarmed civilians were killed that day by the L.A.P.D. and L.A. Country Sheriffs: Brown Beret Lynn Ward, activist Angel Diaz, and journalist Rubén Salazar.

Rubén Salazar was a well-known writer and journalist for KMEX-TV and the Los Angeles Times.  After covering the Chicano moratorium march on August 29, Salazar and two friends stopped for a beer at the Silver Dollar Bar near Laguna Park.  Sheriffs surrounded the place, allegedly looking for a man with a rifle, who had actually been caught hours before. A ten-inch tear-gas projectile was shot into the bar to make the occupants leave.  The missile hit Salazar and killed him. He body was left there for hours.

40 years later there are still many unanswered questions surrounding his death. Before dying Salazar had been working on a story that highlighted how local government seemed intent on ignoring all the complaints and violations involving police and sheriff encounters with Mexican-Americans.  No one was ever tried for his death, even though sheriffs admitted the tear-gas should not have been used in the incident.

In March 2010, the Los Angeles Times filed a California Public Records Act request for records of the shooting.  Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca refused to release eight boxes of records regarding Salazar’s death. Two years later, on April 23, 2012, Baca was sued by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) for continuing to refuse to release records regarding Salazar’s death.  Finally on December 6, 2012, MALDEF secured the release of unredacted records in the Salazar case.

Unprovoked attacks by law enforcement continue to take place throughout the country. Michael Brown (18, Ferguson, MO), Ezell Ford (25, Los Angeles, CA); Eric Garner (43, Staten Island, NY) are recent examples of police violence against the people they are supposed to protect. 

CSPG’s Poster of the Week announced the coming moratorium.  The artist was a founder of the Chicano Moratorium, and the poster features Rosalío Muñoz, the first Chicano student body president of the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA).  In 1969, Muñoz refused induction and burned his draft card in protest over Chicano casualties in Viet Nam. In 1970, he was co chair of the Chicano Moratorium

No comments:

Post a Comment