Pasadena Time Travel

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Roosevelt High School, East Los Angeles 1968 (after Devra Weber

In 1968, Mexican-American high school students organized to protest discrimination and inequality in the East Los Angeles high schools. After school administrators refused to listen to their concerns, thousands of students from multiple schools staged collective, simultaneous peaceful walkouts.

“When I first stood up I thought, Am I the only one leaving? When I turned around there were students behind me, and I opened the door and I heard ‘Walk out!’ I thought, Okay, this is really happening. And I felt empowered. And protected too.

Immediately after the first walkout, the community leaders, parents and clergy all got together and formed our adult support group. They pledged to work with the Board of Education to implement our demands. Following the Walkouts, college acceptance rates of Latinos really started to spike higher and higher. College recruiters actually started visiting the East L.A. Schools.

I think what you need to know is, we didn’t start out to plan a protest or a mass walkout. That wasn’t our first step. That was our last step. After we got turned down, ignored, patronized over and over and over again…We took it upon ourselves to do something.”

-Paula Crisostomo, Emeritus Assistant Dean of Students for Intercultural Affairs, Occidental College Lincoln High School class of 1968

©2018 Deborah Aschheim. This project is made possible in part by the Pasadena Arts & Culture Commission and the City of Pasadena Cultural Affairs Division. Courtesy Devra Weber, La Raza Photographic collection, UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center; Paula Crisostomo