Assemblymember Carrillo Introduces Honored Alumni from the Chicano Walkouts

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Resolution Honoring the 50th Anniversary of the Chicano Walkouts Passes Assembly Floor

(Sacramento) – Yesterday, Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo (D-Los Angeles) introduced four honored guests on the Assembly Floor to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Chicano Walkouts with Assembly Concurrent Resolution (ACR) 183. In 1968, Bobby Verdugo, Yoli Rios, John Ortiz, and Mita Cuaron were student organizers at Lincoln and Garfield High Schools when they boldly walked out in protest of educational inequities. To date, they continue to advocate for their local communities. They joined Assemblymember Carrillo from Los Angeles to commemorate the anniversary and to reflect on the impact and progress stemming from their powerful movement 50 years ago.

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 that perpetuated 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-American origin, walked out of high schools from the Eastside communities of Los Angeles in protest of 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 Latino descent.

“The Chicano Walkouts were a breakthrough moment for the Latino community,” said Assemblymember Carrillo. “By commemorating the courageous organizing of Chicano students we not only honor their sacrifices, but remind ourselves of the power of our community to create lasting change. The history of the walkouts is especially resonant today as students across the country walked out last week and are preparing this week for the ‘March For Our Lives.’ I was proud to introduce Bobby, Yoli, John and Mita to the Assembly as they truly are living mentors for the students of today.”

Earlier in the day, Assemblymember Carrillo introduced the guests to other members of the Latino Caucus, at an intimate reception co-sponsored by the California Latino Legislative Caucus Foundation. At the reception, members and staff had the opportunity to talk to the alumni and reflect on the lessons learned from their experience.

Bobby Verdugo, a student leader of the walkouts and a long-time community activist remarked, “Today is a great opportunity to remind ourselves of the power of our youth to come together and shape their own lives. Students are an influential force, and with the backing of their parents and mentors, can clearly shift the political conversation to deal with issues they care about. We did not have Twitter or cellphones back then, but I love seeing the spirit of the walkouts inspire young leaders today.”

Following the reception, Assemblymember Carrillo’s resolution passed the Assembly Floor on a bipartisan vote to commemorate the month of March as the 50th Anniversary of the Chicano Walkouts. ACR 183 now heads to the Senate for consideration.

Note: High resolution photos available upon request.

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.

CONTACT: Alicia.Isaacs@asm.ca.gov (916) 319-2051