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Ruben F. Salazar Park

Fri, 2015-08-28
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Marching from Belvedere to Laguna Park 


Little by little groups of Chicano/as and Mexican Americans from all over California and throughout the country made their way to Belvedere Park, the assembly point of the Chicano Moratorium march. To the National Chicano Moratorium Committee's surprise about 20,000 to 30,000 supporters and activists were ready to make their way down Whittier Blvd. The Brown Berets and Las Adelitas, a group of Chicana activists, marched in unison with those present. Students and young activists composed most of the participants but the presence of the older generation was still strong. Many Mexican American mothers and fathers brought their children as well. The youth raised and carried banners that read, "Chicano Power!" and "Invest in our Youth not War!"


The march ended with a rally at Laguna Park (renamed September 17, 1970 Ruben F. Salazar Park in memory of his death). Organizers and students addressed those present with powerful speeches and music about the struggle and brown pride. The speeches and music fed the spirit of resistance against a system that was killing young Chicanos abroad and oppressing their communities at home.


The LAPD and Sheriff Department intervened during the rally and acted violently towards the peaceful and lawful assembly of people. According to LAPD reports, looting had been reported at a near by liquor store and the suspect had run to hide in the crowd. As a result, tear gas was thrown at the crowd resulting in panic, fear and rage. This day ended with three deaths: KMEX reporter Ruben Salazar, Brown Beret Lyn Ward and Angel Diaz.


The Belvedere and Laguna Park - now Ruben F. Salazar Park - are two important locations because they mark the strong beginning and sudden halt of a movement that after this day was not the same. After the August 29 march and rally, there was constant policing of Chican@ activists and infiltration of their organizing efforts by government officials. This hurt and limited the efforts of the leadership in once again bringing "La Raza" together.


To learn more about these two historical sites and preservation efforts read more here



The Chicano Movement have transformed spaces that present day nuture Chicana/o Latina/o culture and identities. How have the changes in your community impacted your identity, values, education, and community engagement?


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This blog entry was contributed by LA Plaza's newest volunteer, Margarita.


Margarita discovered La Plaza last summer while visiting La Placita Olvera and made it a goal to volunteer for the museum. As a volunteer she has supported various staff on starting social media and educational projects.



Photographer: Francisco Camplis. Galeria de la Raza Archives (CEMA 4)