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In March 1968, thousands of Chicano students walked out of their East Los Angeles high schools and middle schools to protest decades of inferior and discriminatory education in the so-called "Mexican Schools." During these historic walkouts, or "blowouts," the students were led by Sal Castro, a courageous and charismatic Mexican American teacher who encouraged the students to make their grievances public after school administrators and school board members failed to listen to them. The resulting blowouts sparked the beginning of the urban Chicano Movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s, the largest and most widespread civil rights protests by Mexican Americans in U.S. history.
This lunch event features Sal Castro. Come learn firsthard about what led to this historic series of events. Listen to Sal Castro's accounts of those days and the days since the blowouts.
This luncheon is being held at the beautiful Tamayo Restaurant in East Los Angeles.
Sal Castro's Biography
Sal Castro, a life long educator, is well known for his role in the 1968 “Blowouts” – student protests against unequal conditions at schools throughout the Southern California area.
Castro was born in East Los Angeles and received his early education in Los Angeles and Mexico. After graduating from Cathedral High School in Los Angeles, he served in the United States Army during the Korean War. Upon his discharge he attended Los Angeles City College and LA State. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Social Science and has done graduate work at UCLA and USC.
Castro’s activism and commitment to improving educational opportunities for Mexican-American students span his entire career. As a graduate student at LA State, he and other graduate students on the Mexican-American Education Committee developed recommendations for improving education to the Los Angeles Board of Education, which were mostly ignored. Ongoing meetings with Mexican-American college students resulted in a network of educational activists and the formation of the Mexican-American Youth Leadership Conference. The first conference, sponsored by the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission, took place in 1963. Castro still organizes and presents these conferences now known as the Chicano Youth Leadership Conferences, Inc.
Castro has been honored by numerous organizations including the Los Angeles City Council, the Los Angeles Board of Education, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, the California State Assembly, the National Hispanic Media Association, the California Association of Bilingual Educators (CABE), Association of Mexican-American Educators (AMAE), and the Moviemiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan MECHA) at numerous state and private universities. He was invited to the White House and received a presidential award from former President Bill Clinton for community service. Former First Lady Laura Bush He also recognized him for his volunteer community involvement. Sal Castro Middle School (LAUSD) has been named in his honor. “Blowout”: The Story of Sal Castro and Educational Reform by Dr. Mario Garcia of UCSB published by University of North Carolina Press was released in March, 2011.
Castro has been invited to lecture at colleges and universities through the United States including Notre Dame, Wellesley, Princeton, Yale, University of Kentucky, UC Berkley, University of California Los Angels, University of Southern California, University of California Riverside. University of California San Diego, University of California Santa Barbara, University of California Davis, University of San Diego, San Jose State, San Diego State, University of Arizona, Arizona State University, Long Beach State, California State University Los Angeles and various community colleges in California and the Southwest. He is a popular keynoter and motivational historian at youth conferences throughout California.
Most recently, Castro’s efforts during the 1968 Blowouts, for which he was arrested and charged with thirty counts of felony conspiracy, were featured in the full length HBO movie WALKOUT. All charges were dismissed by the California State Supreme Court citing the United States Constitution First Amendment’s “Right of Redress of Grievances”. Castro’s story was also a part of the PBS series “Chicano” in the “Taking Back the Schools” segment.
Even though he is retired after 42 years as a high school teacher, Castro continues to be the volunteer Director of the Chicano Youth Leadership Conference, Inc. which presents bi-annual conferences for Southern California high school students. He is also a member of the LAUSD CIF Inter-scholastic Athletic Committee, serves as a Commissioner on the Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation Commission, and is a part of the Los Angeles County Interagency Council on Child Abuse Prevention. He is the proud father of two sons and has two grandsons.