"WALKOUT is the story of the birth of the Chicano civil rights movement and a testimony to the inspired leadership and courage of those who led the way: a high school teacher and a a 17-year-old Latina, who literally changed the world."
Also, great for all ages. You can see it on HBO on Saturday, March 18 at 8PM ET/ 8:30 PT. Check out the HBO announcement as well.
HBO film teaches EP teens about '68 protests
Gustavo Reveles Acosta
El Paso Times
Tuesday, March 7, 2006
High-schooler Melina Carachure didn't know about the 1968 student demonstrations in East Los Angeles before watching an early screening of the film "Walkout" on Monday.
Carachure -- who along with 500 other students from the El Paso district viewed the movie -- left the screening at the Abraham Chavez Theatre with a newfound need to learn more about her Hispanic heritage.
"I wish they would teach us more about this kind of stuff in history classes. I feel really proud right now," said Carachure, who attends the district's School Age Parent Center.
"Walkout" is the dramatic story of the true events behind the 1968 Chicano-organized protests that called for equal educational opportunities and facilities for Hispanics in Los Angeles.
Award-winning actor Edward James Olmos ("Stand and Deliver") directed the film, which will air March 18 on HBO. It stars Alexa Vega of "Spy Kids" fame and Efren Ramirez, who played Pedro in "Napoleon Dynamite."
Arty Piñeda, a senior at El Paso High School, said he thought he would be watching a documentary, but instead was surprised at how involved he became with the film.
Piñeda cheered as actors playing high-school students walked out of their classrooms and carried picket signs, and booed as movie police used clubs to stop the peaceful demonstrations.
"It made me mad that the students were beaten for standing up for their rights," he said. "I'm glad I got to see the film and learn about our history."
Before watching the film, the students heard from area leaders who told them about the Chicano movement and the pivotal role young people played in it.
"What I wanted them to know is that what was going on in California in 1968 was happening here in Texas, too, at the same time," said Gregory Rocha, a political science professor at the University of Texas at El Paso. "What a film like this does, is tell our youth what their parents did to make things better for them."
According to the movie, the walkouts lead to better conditions in the heavily Hispanic East Los Angeles schools. The filmmakers also credit the events of that year with increased enrollment at the University of California, Los Angeles.
The California walkouts inspired other Chicano student protests in the Southwest, including one at UTEP in 1971 that lead to the creation of the Chicano Studies program.
The EPISD board of trustees signed a resolution last week proclaiming March as César Chávez Month. Chávez's birthday, March 31, is a state holiday in Texas. The Chicano civil rights leader, who died in 1993, and his nonviolent protests were mentioned throughout the film.
Gustavo Reveles Acosta may be reached at email@example.com