50 years ago, Chicano students walked out to demand change; today students are doing the same

Students+continue+to+attend+the+Chicano+Youth+Leadership+Conference+to+discuss+educational+issues+in+a+culturally+enriched+environment.+Senior+Anthony+Freyre+attended+this+conference+back+in+his+junior+year.
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50 years ago, Chicano students walked out to demand change; today students are doing the same

Students continue to attend the Chicano Youth Leadership Conference to discuss educational issues in a culturally enriched environment. Senior Anthony Freyre attended this conference back in his junior year.

Students continue to attend the Chicano Youth Leadership Conference to discuss educational issues in a culturally enriched environment. Senior Anthony Freyre attended this conference back in his junior year.

Anthony Freyre

Students continue to attend the Chicano Youth Leadership Conference to discuss educational issues in a culturally enriched environment. Senior Anthony Freyre attended this conference back in his junior year.

Anthony Freyre

Anthony Freyre

Students continue to attend the Chicano Youth Leadership Conference to discuss educational issues in a culturally enriched environment. Senior Anthony Freyre attended this conference back in his junior year.

Anthony Freyre

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Fifty years ago this month, Chicano students from high schools in East Los Angeles such as Roosevelt, Garfield and Lincoln walked out with their fists in the air chanting “Education not eradication.”

This was apart of the Chicano Movement in Los Angeles which ignited in the sandy shores of Malibu beach where teacher Sal Castro and others held a weekend leadership conference known as the Chicano Youth Leadership Conference (CYLC). During the conference, students began questioning their educational conditions. By wanting to improve conditions they began organizing a walkout.

On March 1, 1968, the first walkout took place at Wilson High School which had been unexpected. Although students had already planned this, the walkout was motivated due to the school principal cancelling a student produced play. This first walkout only contained 200 people but as time moved on, it increased to 2,000 to eventually 5,000 with all schools combined.

These walkouts did eventually lead to changes in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Students successfully managed to have a meeting with the school district where they addressed their issues regarding the school. With their walkouts being successful, schools such as Garfield High School went from a 43 percent graduation rate to a current 93 percent graduation rate.

Flash forward to present day, students across the country have started another revolution. After the recent mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School plan on making a difference just like the Chicano students did 50 years ago.

On March 14, students, teachers and administrators from every state are encouraged to participate in the walkout for 17 minutes in order to press Congress to pass stronger gun regulations to prevent future mass shootings. A longer walkout is planned for April 20, the anniversary of the Columbine High mass shooting 19 years ago.

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