Ruben Salazar Day

The City of Los Angeles has declared today to be Ruben Salazar Day to coincide with the release of the United States Postal Service stamp that commemorates his life and work.

From the People’s Guide to Los Angeles:

Salazar worked for the Los Angeles Times and the Spanish-language television station KMEX, and over time became increasingly critical of the Vietnam War and social injustice. At the time of his death, Salazar was being investigated by both the LAPD and the FBI who opposed his increasingly critical coverage. Salazar was killed on August 29, 1970 while observing the Chicano Moratorium, a protest against the War, drawing approximately 30,000 for a march from Belvedere Park to Laguna Park. As it approached Laguna Park, over 500 police attacked the crowd, resulting in over 200 arrests, hundreds of injuries, and three deaths. The Chicano Moratorium was the largest anti-war action on the part of any ethnic community in the US. Salazar covered the event and afterwards went to the Silver Dollar Café where he was shot by an L.A. County Deputy. The bullet, shot from outside the café, hit Salazar in the head. A Coroner’s Panel ruled the killing a homicide, but the deputy was never brought to trial.

Laguna Park was renamed Salazar Park to honor the murdered journalist. To this day, there are members of the Sheriff’s Department that refuse to recognize the name Salazar Park and refer to the park by it’s old name.

This bit of East Los history is very significant to me personally, as both my parents were at this march. My mother (who was 7mos pregnant) had to out run tear gas and hide in a church after the police attacked the crowd. Last year’s May Day “melee” reminded her of the events back in 1970 – nothing seems to change when it comes to law enforcement. I just hope in 30 years we don’t have a Cristina Gonzalez stamp.

For another perspective on the Chicano Moratorium, check out this piece.

8 thoughts on “Ruben Salazar Day

  1. My old neighbor on Altura St. was there too. He used to always tell me to never be ashamed from where you came from, and not to runaway to the suburbs because this side of town will always be a part of me. He still lives on Altura St. His house is the one with all the cactus in the front.

    Good words for a young mocoso.

  2. It’s 2008 Los Angeles, is run by Latino politicans and we have a big power base in the State capital. LAPD will soon be mostly latinos. And the young chicano studies students are still living in the past. I have never seen so many whining kids in one place. I grew up in abject poverty and under racism that none of you have experienced, hard work even back then allowed you to overcome all those obstacles. Me and many of my brothers and cousins have are own business and sent our kids to college, time to man up and move on.

    I live in the present and don’t whine and whine about the past, your life is not that bad.

  3. It’s kind of amazing that they made a stamp in this guy’s honor. It seems so improbable in a way!

  4. Wow @ your mom!

    I participated in one of the anniversary marches of the Chicano Moratorium a few years ago. It might have been the 30th anniversary, I’m not sure. We ended the march at Salazar park. Later when I told my mom about it, she was like, “Oh, I know that park.” Of course she did, the park was in her neighborhood. I was naive enough to think she didn’t know who Salazar was, but she schooled me.

    She was too young to be there and never participated in any of the marches (same as my dad).

  5. I don’t know what the situation is like today, but a few years back, when the peace vigils started up, a lot of people who went to the Chicano Moratorium organized and showed up to them in the SGV. I was blown away, these 50 year old folks, were still ready to get out there and do whatever. They’re really operating at a different level than I was used to, and I learned a lot. They’re good organizers, and got our anti-war group to do support projects for the supermarket strikers, to teach them how to flyer and get their position out there, and to get out there for the immigration demos.

    You know, that dude Rosalio Munoz, mentioned in the “Marcuse” article, is still active.

  6. I like how old mexicano stated this:
    “I live in the present and don’t whine and whine about the past”

    to follow up this comment:
    “I grew up in abject poverty and under racism that none of you have experienced”

    Sounds like whining to me, you know you probably had an old tough viejito back then who told you to quite whining too. At least in your time mexicans werent being strung up on telephone poles like back in his time. You know, my abuelo was imprisoned for defending himself against white attackers, killed a 6 foot tall nazi with his bare hands and had to hire a lawyer to get his VA loan; I guess that makes your old mexicano struggles pretty lame and whiney, huh?

    The sad part about chicanos like this (old mexican) is that they are so stuck in their own self martyrdom and constant need to one-up those around them that they end up living their life as a bitter shit talker, rather than someone who experienced a lot and translated it into some wisdom to pass on to the next generation. I have a bunch of veterano uncles like that, all their kids became self hating assholes who just passed on the misery to the next generation. I guess we should just be quiet and accept our token politicians…

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