(Sacramento) – Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo (D-Los Angeles) joins Latino advocates, education leaders, and Chicano Walkout alumni to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the student walkouts in East Los Angeles. Earlier this week, she introduced Assembly Concurrent Resolution (ACR) 183 to honor the efforts of the Latino student activists who organized the movement. The walkouts, often termed “blowouts”, started on March 1, 1968 and continued through the month to protest school conditions leading to decades of institutionalized racism, creating an environment perpetuating negative stereotypes that led to high dropout rates, sparse resources, overcrowding and the reinforcement of low academic expectations. More than 15,000 students, most of Mexican origin, walked out of high schools in East LA to protest the inequalities in the Los Angeles Unified School District and demand bilingual and bicultural education programs incorporating a more complete history of Mexican American contributions and the hiring of more teachers and staff of Mexican descent.
“The history and impact of the Chicano Walkouts continue to be felt in today’s classrooms because of the brave students who organized and empowered themselves,” said Assemblymember Carrillo. “I see their actions reflected in the amazing student activists of today and hope more of our youth will embrace civic engagement as a way to create improvements in their own lives. I celebrate and honor the walkouts to remind ourselves of the power of community to generate lasting change but also to reflect on how much farther we have to go.”
Bobby Verdugo, a student leader of the walkouts and a community activist added, “The walkouts came together because students wanted to shape the reforms we desperately needed in our own education. Despite the discouragement from the schools, we had the support of our parents reinforcing our belief that our dreams were attainable. We hoped that by walking out we could change the future not just for us but also for those that followed. We did not wait for the authorities to lead; we launched the movement by and for ourselves.”
While educational outcomes for Latinos in California have improved since 1968, Latinos completing college degrees have doubled in the last 10 years and the high school dropout rate dropped to 13 percent in 2015, there still exists an achievement gap for this population. In every county in the state the majority of Latino students are not proficient in Math or English. A report by the Education Trust West found that Latino students attend some of the country’s most segregated schools, lack access to early childhood education, are often pushed away from college-prep coursework in high school and are disproportionately required to take remedial classes in college. Latino students are more likely to leave high school without a diploma than White or Asian students, are less likely to have access to high school courses needed to attend public universities and are less likely to complete college once enrolled.
Today, one in three workers in the California labor force is Latino, and that will only increase as Latino youth age into the workforce. It is unacceptable to fail to offer a high-quality education to every California student, the majority of whom are Latino, because then we fail to prepare the future leaders of our state’s economy. Assemblymember Carrillo is committed to improving the long term educational outcomes of the Latino population in order to better prepare them for the modern labor market. These efforts will build on the progress started 50 years ago by thousands of courageous high schoolers who decided they could not wait for government to make change and decided on their own that the time to act was now.
ACR 183 will be heard in committee in early March and then will head to the Assembly Floor.
Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo was elected to the 51st Assembly District in December of 2017. She is a member of the Rules, Appropriations, Public Safety, Health and Water Parks & Wildlife Committees. Carrillo represents the people of East Los Angeles, Northeast Los Angeles, and the neighborhoods of El Sereno, Echo Park, Lincoln Heights, Chinatown and parts of Silver Lake.
Chief of Staff
Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo (D-51)
State Capitol Room 2160
Sacramento, CA 95814