By Serran Soledad
The 50th Anniversary the Chicano Moratorium, a militant march on August 29, 1970 in Los Angeles which saw tens of thousands take the streets, was commemorated this past weekend by Oxnard Revolutionary Study Group. The group honored the rebellious spirit of the original march which had clashed violently with police in protest of the Vietnam War with a banner drop and cultural event.
The morning of August 29, a banner was dropped over the 3rd Street bridge, which read “Cops and Recruiters Off Our Schools!” The action connected the Chicano Moratorium with OxRev’s ongoing anti-recruitment campaign that began in response to the death of US Army Soldier Vanessa Guillen, a 20 year old Mexican American.
Later in the evening, a cultural event was held at Rio Lindo Park where a documentary about Chicano journalist Ruben Salazar, who was killed by the police along with three other protesters during the Chicano Moratorium, was screened to 40 people, including community members living directly next to the park. Parks & Recreation and police vehicles were spotted circling the event, but it continued without interruption.
The film screening was paired with talks on the history of police brutality against Chicanos and other oppressed peoples at protests and in every day life.
Differences in politics between the documentary and OxRevStudy were brought forward. One activists made it clear that contrary to what the documentary said, the police brutality and murder seen at the Chicano Moratorium was not the fault of protesters, regardless of whether they were destroying private property or not. The rebellions which took place 50 years ago were as justified as the protests seen today in response to the continuous murder of Black people by the police.
Posole, Tinga Tostadas, and Tamales were sold at the event to raise funds for local activists who are facing jail time and legal fees after fighting back against the police and slumlords.
The event displayed the creativity of the community with performances, including an Indigenous Prayer song. “It takes a village to raise a child, it takes the five fingers of the fist to make change” said the performer, as the crowd cheered in response.
One community member gave a short speech, “In this country, we Chicanos face a lot of obstacles, there is a lot of division and lateral violence, but there is also a lot of strength” he said, “When we stand together we are stronger.”
An activist with OxRevStudy, recited a famous poem entitled “La Nueva Chicana” by Viola Correa. An altar was decorated with candles, feathers and photos in memory of the four lives lost at the Chicano Moratorium. A banner commemorating the 50th anniversary, was painted and hung up on display during the event. By the end of the night, it was raffled off to a community member.
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