Diversity to Mark Chicano Moratorium Observances

August 25, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Commemorations this coming weekend of the 1970 Chicano Moratorium will include a variety of speakers, several of them African American, at a march and rally in East Los Angeles on Saturday.

At a separate event on Sunday, guest speakers will include the parents of two people killed by police this year.

The 46th Annual National Chicano Moratorium commemorates what many have come to call the coming of age of the Chicano civil rights movement. Special attention each year is paid to remembering the death of crusading Chicano Journalist Ruben Salazar by a tear gas canister lobbed into the Silver Dollar Bar by an L.A. County Sheriff’s deputy during a riot that broke out following what at that time was the largest ever protest by Chicanos – Mexican Americans in Los Angeles.

The two days of activities will kickoff Saturday at 9 a.m. with a march from Atlantic Park (570 S. Atlantic Blvd. East LA) Saturday to Ruben Salazar Park (3864 Whittier Blvd., and Ditman Ave.) where a rally will be held at 12:30 p.m.

Rally speakers and entertainment will include: Kwazi Nkrumah of the Martin Luther King Jr Coalition; Allegra Casimir Taylor, daughter of a Black Panther Party political prisoner, incarcerated for 51 years before being murdered in prison last year; Hugo “Yogi Bear” Pinnell who will discuss her father’s case and the ongoing events since his murder; Wayne Arroyo, longtime American Indian Movement (AIM) activist speaking about ongoing protests in North Dakota against the Dakota Access Pipeline; Kiko Salazar speaking on long time Chicano political prisoner Ramsey Muniz; Gina Felix Goldman, actress and niece of the late Mexican movie star Maria Felix, will represent the Bring Hollywood Home Foundation on racism in Hollywood; Roberto Tijerina, internet radio talk show host from UC Riverside; David Rico, Commander of the National Brown Berets de Aztlan and Krisna Velasco of the Ritchie Valens Foundation who is producing a documentary on the life or Ruben Salazar, among several others.

Jan B. Tucker of the California League of Latinos And Chicanos (CALLAC) will speak on immigration and the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.

On Sunday, Aug. 29, community activists will hold a “Liberation Day Program for Chicano Moratorium” from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at Saint Mary’s Church Hall: 407 South Chicago St., L.A. 90033.

The event will include a short film and Vietnam veteran Ray Andrade and former LAUSD Board Member Victoria Castro speaking on the history of the Chicano Moratorium on Aug. 29, 1970.

Also speaking are Estela Rodriguez, mother of Edwin Rodriguez who was killed by ELA Sheriffs on Feb.14 and Juan Mendez, the father of Jose Mendez who was killed by an LAPD officer on Feb. 6 of this year.

‘East LA Interchange’ Film Documents Boyle Heights’ Evolution

July 23, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

You’ve probably heard the old adage, “All roads lead to Rome.”

In Los Angeles, “All freeways lead to East Los Angeles.”

That’s the foundation behind a full-length documentary making its world preview Sunday at the Downtown Film Festival L.A.

Located at the intersection of the 101 Hollywood, 5 Santa Ana, 5 Golden State, 10 San Bernardino and 60 Pomona freeways, Boyle Heights is just east of Downtown Los Angeles.

Eight years in the making, “East LA Interchange” a new documentary from Bluewater Media, chronicles the working-class area’s change from a multiethnic Los Angeles neighborhood to one that is predominately Latino and its thrust into becoming the center of Mexican-American culture and political activism in the United States in order to survive.

Boyle Heights was once home to Japanese, Russians, Jews, Italians and other ethnic groups, many of them immigrants, as well as long-established Mexican American families. There was a harmony to their co-existence; remnants of which can still be found in the buildings, landmarks and the people who left, but continue to return to this day.

People like will.i.am of The Black Eyed Peas.

“I came back because I am who I am because of the community I grew up in,” says the musical performer whose nonprofit foundation supports a variety of programs in Boyle Height.

Xavi Moreno is featured in East LA Interchange, a new documentary directed by Betsy Kahlin, making its world premier July 26 at the Downtown Film Festival Los Angeles.  (© 2015 Chris Chew/Bluewater Media)

Xavi Moreno is featured in East LA Interchange, a new documentary directed by Betsy Kahlin, making its world premier July 26 at the Downtown Film Festival Los Angeles. (© 2015 Chris Chew/Bluewater Media)

But few things can escape the ravages of time unscathed. Survival takes dedication and action.

That’s been the history of Boyle Heights and the story documented in East LA Interchange.

Using old video footage, photographs, headlines from newspapers like the Eastside Sun and on-screen interviews, the film examines how the Boyle Heights neighborhood found its political voice in its fight against the building of the largest freeway interchange system in the nation: A system that bisected the neighborhood’s physical landscape but not its sense of community.

The documentary also examines how residents are continuing their political struggle today, organizing against a new era of issues, speaking out for their rights as a predominately Latino, working-class, immigrant, community.

But with the higher cost of living and pressure on land values, the question remains: Can Boyle Heights survive the next round of challenges from environmental pollution, industrialization, development and gentrification?

It’s a scenario being played out in urban areas all across the country.

“East LA Interchange provides a compelling look at what the future of what America can be if communities like Boyle Heights work together to secure our nation’s pledge of providing justice for all,” say the film’s producers.

The film, executive produced and directed by Betsy Kahlin, features narration by actor Danny Trejo (Machete) and interviews with will.i.am (The Black Eyed Peas), Father Greg Boyle (Homeboy Industries), and actress and author Josefina López (Real Women Have Curves), as well as an original song by Raul Pacheco (Ozomatli).

“Boyle Heights stands for what we could become if we stood against forgetting that we belong to each other,” says Father Greg Boyle of Homeboy Industries

East LA Interchange premiers this Sunday, July 26 during the Downtown Film Festival L.A. www.dffla.org/. It will screen at 3 p.m. at the Regent Theater: 448 S. Main Street, Los Angeles 90013.

Watch the Trailer featuring will.i.am: https://youtu.be/9Z2FYuL0Zgg



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