MONDAY BLUES (08.19.11)

Forty-one years ago today, more than 20,000 Chicanos in East Los Angeles–women, men, and children–protested the war in Vietnam and violent effects it had begun to wield within their community.  You see, though Chicanos represented only about 11% of the general population of the Southwestern states, they comprised almost 20% of the region’s war casualties.  Few families did not have a hijo, hermano, primo, or novio fighting in Southeast Asia.

The largely peaceful protest culminated in a violent altercation between the LAPD and the gathered families, resulting in the death of three people, one of who was the famed Mexican American journalist Ruben Salazar.  (Here is what the LA Times printed just days after Salazar’s death.  Here is an article detailing the more recent inquiry into his murder.)

In honor of the occasion, today’s Monday Blue’s is the 1970 track “Samba Pa’ Ti,” from the album Abraxas, by the legendary Carlos Santana.

Ruben Salazar Postage Stamp

Last week, the U.S. Postal Service issued a series of stamps commemorating historic journalists. Among the reporters earning distinction was Ruben Salazar. This legend of Los Angeles journalism is also among the pantheon of Chicano “superstars”–subject of murals, poems, and other homages. It is an exciting tribute, at least in my eyes.

To learn more about Salazar, check out these articles–one from the San Francisco Chronicle and the other which ran in the San Jose Mercury News. For a great collection of Salazar’s reports, see the book Border Correspondent: Selected Writings, 1955-1970, edited by historian Mario Garcia.