The 50th anniversary of the East L.A. Walkouts –a watershed moment in the Chicano Movement for civil rights– will be commemorated on March 1-2 with a series of events at Cal State Los Angeles.
On Thursday, March 1, an all-day Academic Conference will look at issues such as the educational conditions in Eastside schools that led to the Walkouts –or Blowouts, as they were also known– and the role of women in the movements. Participating panelists will include scholars and other experts who were students in 1968 and took part in the Walkouts, many of which are Cal State LA alumni.
The conference on March 1 will lead into the inaugural reception for “East Side Blowouts: Through the Eyes of Chicano Media,” an exhibit of photographs curated by Dr. Raúl Ruiz. A professor at Cal State Northridge, Ruiz was a photographer for La Raza, an Eastside publication that chronicled the Chicano Movement. The exhibit will be on view on the first floor of the university’s John F. Kennedy Memorial Library North through May 31.
On Friday, March 2, hundreds of Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) students will be bused in and take part in a “walk in” to the university campus, where they will participate in a “transgenerational leadership event,” with entertainment and discussion of multiple topics.
In 1968, thousands of Chicano students at Eastside high schools walked out of classes to protest inequity and prejudice in the educational system. The first of the walkout protests happened on March 1.
At the time, the school district largely ignored Mexican American history, and Chicano students were forbidden from speaking Spanish and often steered toward vocational careers instead of college, among other problems.
The East L.A. Walkouts called attention to systemic inequities and ultimately led to some improvements in city schools.