Media Advisory
May 20, 2003
Contact: John Morales, (818) 364-7679
To: City Desks, Assignment Desks, Education Reporters
Subject: Mission College Marks Two Key Chicano Anniversaries
Date/Time: Wednesday, May 21, 2003 - 7-9 p.m.
Place: Los Angeles Mission College, 13356 Eldridge Avenue, Sylmar - Thomas Bros. Map 482 D-3

Mission College marks the 60th anniversary of the Zoot Suit Riots that rocked Los Angeles during World War II and the 35th anniversary of the high school "blow-outs" in 1968. Both are considered pivotal events in the history of Los Angeles, and particularly Chicano history.

Special guest Lupe Leyvas will discuss the events involving her brother, Henry Leyvas. Henry was among a group of young Chicanos who were charged in the infamous "Sleepy Lagoon Murder" in 1942. The convictions in the case were ultimately determined to be a miscarriage of justice and the defendants exonerated. But the murder and publicity given to "zoot-suitors" was a pre-cursor to the 1943 riots, in which hundreds of young Chicanos were beaten by uniformed soldiers.

Sal Castro will discuss the 1968 walk-outs by students protesting conditions at high schools in East Los Angeles. Over a period of several days, thousands of students at Garfield, Lincoln, Roosevelt, Wilson and Belmont high schools refused to attend class, highlighting what they saw as an unequal distribution of educational resources among the city's high schools. Castro, a teacher at Lincoln High, was identified by authorities as an "instigator" of the walk-outs. He and 12 others were indicted on conspiracy charges. Those charges ultimately were dropped. Today, Castro continues to work as a counselor.

The event is sponsored jointly by Mission College's social sciences and Chicano Studies departments, MEChA, and the G.E.D. program.

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