How Did The East La Walkouts Impact The Civil Rights Movement

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Marking the last year of the Civil Rights Movement were the the East LA Walkouts of 1968; the 1950s and 1960s were times of social unrest. Thousands of high school students of Hispanic descent walked out of class in March of 1968 in protest of the discrimination they faced on a day-to-day basis, not only at school, but in society as well. This event in particular was so impacting and crucial to the development of society from that point forward. Along with the fact that they brought educational and social equality for Mexican Americans, the walkouts increased the diversity of language spoken in schools as well as the amount of inspiration brought to student protests today. It is for this reason that the East LA walkouts be kept in the newer …show more content…

Mexican Americans were often seen as second-class citizens incapable of holding high level occupations. There was nothing the students could do, however, due to the fact that schools failed to provide the necessary education to allow them to attend college. As sought after of a position as a doctor or lawyer was, it was almost guaranteed that, without the necessary education, students would find it impossible to reach a status of that level. For example, in his epic poem, “I am Joaquin”, Mexican American poet and political activist Rodolfo Gonzales recalls the discrimination they faced saying, “My culture has been raped./ I lengthen the line at the welfare door/ And fill the jails with crime” (Gonzalez, 231-233). Gonzales captured the societal expectations of Mexican Americans prior to the East LA walkouts. This justifies that Mexican Americans at that time were not seen as equals by American citizens. After the walkouts, however, Chicanos were finally given equal rights and equal opportunities in the world they live in. The high school dropout rate for Hispanics decreased dramatically, from 60 percent in 1968 to 10 percent in 2016, according to a Los Angeles School Report. Because of the amelioration of their education, more students were able to graduate high school and hold steady jobs, and the way society perceived Chicanos …show more content…

In recent months, the nation has faced a myriad of ubiquitous shootings, the most well-known of which being the Parkland school incident. No longer feeling comfortable in their learning environment, many students, inspired by the East LA walkouts of 1968, held walkouts of their own to protest gun violence. For example, student organizers from Belmont High School in Los Angeles “...were advocating for a national assault weapons ban, universal background checks, and an end to random searches in LAUSD schools, among other things” (Wick) last month after the Parkland shootings. This was just as similar to the Chicano demands of 1968 as it revealed that characteristics of the East LA walkouts were still present. Moreover, Bobby Verdugo, a student organizer from the 1968 walkout, explained that “Chicano history was not separate from American history, it was a part of American history” (Arango). This exemplifies the significance of the East LA walkouts in the utmost way in the sense that they were not meant to change the way Chicano students expressed their voice. They were, however, meant to change the way that every student expressed

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