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Journalist Ruben Salazar to be Focus of Cal State LA Panel

A panel discussion on the relevance Mexican American journalist Ruben Salazar’s life and work has in today’s society will take place Feb. 4 at Cal State University, Los Angeles.

Titled “Rubén Salazar – Siempre Con Nosotros/Always With Us,” the discussion is being presented in conjunction with the multimedia exhibition, “Legacy of Rubén Salazar: A Man of His Words, a Man of His Time,” on display through March 26 at the University’s John F. Kennedy Memorial Library.

Both events are free and open to the public.

Next Wednesday’s panel will be led by noted history and journalism scholars, Mario Garcia, Ph.D, who has published works on Mexican American and Chicano activism and Latino millennials, and Felix Gutierrez, Ph.D, who has written and spoken extensively about the biases of mass media and the need for diversity in journalism.

(EGP photo archive) [1]

(EGP photo archive)

Panelists will speak to the importance of principled journalism in today’s polarized society, using the life and writings of former LA Times and KMEX-TV Spanish language news reporter Ruben Salazar as context.

Salazar, perhaps best known for his death at the hands of Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputies during the 1970 Chicano Moratorium, was at the forefront of principled journalism during another period of polarization, the 1960’s civil rights and anti-war movements.

He was a nationally recognized foreign correspondent who reported on the escalation of the Vietnam War and on Latin America during the beginnings of the post Cuban revolution. When he returned to Los Angeles in 1969, he found a community in transition, fighting to be empowered.

Salazar’s in-depth reporting of the Mexican American and emerging Chicano movement for the Times and KMEX in many ways gave voice to that struggle, presenting leaders and common people as subjects, not objects, or stereotypes for mainstream media sound bites.

Early in his career, while covering jail conditions in El Paso, he was arrested while posing as a drunk and went on to describing life in the tank. One of his last columns before being killed, in moving detail described the plight of welfare mothers and children.

Salazar covered action on the front lines in Vietnam, the Tlateloco massacre in Mexico at the time of the 1968 Olympics, and he wrote about the beginnings of Cesar Chavez’ farm labor organizing before the strikes and boycotts. He also wrote about Chicano teacher Sal Castro years before he emerged as a major figure in the East LA Walkouts.

Salazar’s tragic death cemented his place as an icon of the Chicano Movement.

His return to Los Angeles in 1969 marked the establishment of the Mexican American/Chicano news beat, journalism to empower people.

In the year before he died, Salazar wrote over 100 articles on a wide range of issues from the barrios and fields in and around Los Angeles and nationwide.

The panel discussion will be held at 3pm, Feb. 4 in the Golden Eagle Ballroom 2, in the Student Union building. To attend, RSVP by Feb. 2 at http://www.calstatela.edu/events/ruben-salazar. For more information, call (323) 343-3066 or send an email to events@calstatela.edu.