May 5, 2006

“Walkout,” a film about Chicano/a student protests in 1968, will screen May 10 at USD as part of Chávez celebration

Walkout (2006), a film based on the true story of a walkout by Chicano/a students in Los Angeles schools in 1968 to protest unequal treatment, will be screened at 7 p.m. May 10 in Center Hall, Room 105, at the University of California, San Diego.

Sal Castro, the teacher who put his career on the line to support the students, will lead a discussion following the 110-minute film. The event is part of UCSD’s monthlong activities celebrating the life and accomplishments of labor leader and champion of human rights César E. Chávez. It is free and open to the public.

Directed by actor/director Edward James Olmos, Walkout is set against the background of the civil rights movement of 1968, a year of youth protests around the world. It focuses on a group of Chicano/a students, led by student activist Paula Crisostomo, who are tired of being treated unequally and stage a walkout at five East Los Angeles high schools protesting the injustices of the public school system and complaining of anti-Mexican educational bias.

Castro, a popular young Mexican American high school teacher, mentored the students when they decided to stage the peaceful walkout defying parents, teachers, bureaucrats, the police and public opinion to protest educational conditions for Mexican Americans.

We’re “talking about an event that really isn’t known that well even though it’s the largest high-school student demonstration that we’ve ever had in the United States,” says Walkout director Olmos. “At the height of the walkout there were over 22,000 kids that stood up and walked out of their classes in the LA County area. And that means that not only did the East Side try to bring awareness of it ... schools from all over the Los Angeles County were in solidarity with the movement and stood up and walked out.”

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