LOS ANGELES — Over the years, the murals have changed, but the march for justice to end violence has not.
David Sanchez is a Latino activist who created the Brown Berets Civil Rights group, and the iconic Chicano Moratorium in 1970, a massive demonstration in East Los Angeles that protested the Vietnam war.
He said many of the same issues back then, remain relevant today.
“Even though Los Angeles was once part of Mexico, the police here still treat us really bad,” Sanchez said.
Sanchez was highly active in the 1960's, a time when the FBI tracked the movements of the Brown Berets, since they took a firm stance against war.
Today, Sanchez is reliving where the fateful protest took place in 1970, at Ruben Salazar Park in East Los Angeles.
The protest erupted into a deadly riot, killing journalist Ruben Salazar among others. Sanchez holds a gathering here every year to honor lives lost.
“Their deaths were not in vain. They gave their lives for the rights of the people in this community. As a result of that social revolution that took place, our community has benefited throughout the country, and this is why it’s important to know what happened when Ruben Salazar and the others were killed,” he explained.
Salazar himself was an L.A. Times journalist. He was killed by a deputy on duty on Whittier Boulevard during the riot. Sanchez said he was a dear friend to him, and an ally of justice for the Chicano movement.
Today, a billboard of Salazar, in his honor, can be seen on Whittier Boulevard.
“One of the reasons why I am a Brown Beret is because I was a victim of police brutality when I was growing up. I think a lot of people have become victims of police brutality even today, and they’re beginning to realize that they need to do something. The community needs to wake up to police brutality in this country,” he reflected.
A gathering will take place Saturday, August 29, at Ruben Salazar park in East Los Angeles to commemorate 50 years of the Chicano Moratorium.