By Melody Ortiz
A film screening of “Chicano! Taking Back the Schools” was shown on Wednesday, followed by a Q&A (questions and answers) with the producer, Susan Racho.
The film is part three of a four part series called “Chicano! History of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement.”
“Taking Back the Schools” recounts the 1968 walkouts and protests in East Los Angeles to demand better education for Mexican-American students.
Before the screening, Racho thanked Professor Nadine Bermudez for putting the event together and gave a bit of the films background, as well as her own.
Racho said she took on the role of producing and writing the film, based on her own involvement in the walkouts. She was one of the original members of United Mexican American Students.
UMAS was made up of college students. During the walkouts, they acted as monitors for the high school students, so if police became violent, it would be toward the college students.
“If any cocos (heads) were to be hit, it would be better if they were college cocos,” Racho said.
During the Q&A, Racho heard more comments than questions from the audience. Most attendees shared personal stories and gratitude for her work on the film.
“The struggle continues,” said Racho during the Q&A. “Unfortunately, the anti-Mexican sentiment is still very, very strong…coming from the White House administration.”
East Los Angeles College student, Alejandra Herrera said she is passionate about her community and decided to attend the screening after seeing a flyer on Instagram.
“When I was younger, I feel like I would take education for granted,” Herrera said.
“I think it’s sad that they still have to keep fighting for them (Chicana/o students) to continue their education,” said Herrera referring to the Dreamers of DACA.
The screening was put together by ELAC’s Chicana/o Studies department as an effort to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the walkouts.
The film is available on YouTube for those interested in viewing it.