Chicana/o Studies – Publishing an Alternative View Since 1970 – CSU, Northridge

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The Word is Text - page 8

Sal Castro Passes Away

in The Word is Text by

Sal Castro passed away on April 15, 2013.

I’m sure many of us have seen the movie “Walk Out” or heard of the story behind the east LA walkouts of 1968. In 1968, after many events and acts against Latino students at different schools, teacher Sal Castro decides to take a stand for his students and encourages students to walk out of school. In the late 1960’s East Los Angles high schools were predominantly made up of Latino students.  Students who were constantly put down by their teachers for speaking their native language, students who were encouraged by their teachers to go out and get jobs that are not taken serious. Sal Castro was a teacher who was not okay with the mistreatment of Latino students. He dedicated his career to advocating education and rights for Chicano and Chicana students from the Los Angeles Unified School district. Sal Castro led Latino students to fight for themselves to prove to misjudging teachers that Latino students were not incapable of succeeding and that they should not be prohibited to speak their native language at school. Sal Castro and the Chicano Youth Leadership brought a group of high school students together to show them how Latino students at the time were last on the list based on education, and appeared to be the ethnicity with highest drop out rates. The purpose of Sal Castro and the Chicano Youth Leadership conference was to encourage Latino Students to earn a higher education and to make something of themselves in order to put Latino students in a better place. It is thanks to Sal Castro that Latino students from East LA high schools made a change, a change that ‘til this very day still makes a difference in lives of many current Latino students. Forty-five years later Sal Castro passes away, leaving his honor to many Latino students. He will always be known as a hero to Latino students and will be remembered as the teacher who led his students to success, the teacher who helped his students earn respect from foul teachers who misjudged Latino students. Sal Castro will be remembered through out history as a brave teacher who legitimately cared for his students and the education system, Thank you Sal Castro, thank you for helping students like myself have an interest in earning a higher education.  Castro always said, “Go to school pendejo!”

 

Living in Liverpool: My Memories by Thania Delgado

in The Word is Text by

It was the summer of August 1998, and I had just turned eight. I remember the cracked concrete sidewalks of Liverpool, and I remember the way the store clerk looked at me every time I said “Hola.”  What I remember the most, however, were my mother’s words.

No vamos a comer hora. Juega con tus amigos,” she’d say to me, then hug me and let me go.

I didn’t understand what she meant every time she’d say this. All I knew was that playing with friends was better than eating. We’re oblivious to a lot of things in our childhood, and I was no different. I never looked into my parent’s eyes and saw the hardships they faced.

The year 1998 marked the twelve years my parents had been living in Liverpool. The opportunity that once shined in the sun was now a faded dream. Work dominated their life. The clothing factory they worked in was a building of hazards with security guards at every corner.

“I worked with packaging and machinery. You’re mom sewed pants, jeans and blankets all day. Workers were separated by race. The Irish and Scottish in the first rows, Mexicans in the middle and blacks in the back row and so on…” recalls my father.

According to my parents, work shifts were about 12 hours. If a person could not work those twelve hours, they would be fired. On some days, workers would be paid 3 pounds (about $5 in the United States) or they weren’t paid anything at all. Talking and going to the bathroom would be forbidden. Female workers had to take a pregnancy test, and if they tested positive, they would be fired on the spot.

Despite the long hours and limitations, it was the hazards of the workplace that took a toll on my mother, my father and the rest of the workers. “We could take the long hours and the demands of what we couldn’t do, but the hazards scared me and your dad, the workers, everyone.”

There was no air conditioning in the factory, so it was very hot. One bottle of water wasn’t enough to sustain a sweating human being. Dust covered the air day and night, and the workers breathed it in. My mother recalled a time when she came out of work with her hair white or blue or whatever the color of the pants and shirts they were working on. “That day we could only smell the dye of the clothing when we left work,” recalled my mother. “Everyone breathed as if they’d just been saved from drowning.”

Every day the workers faced conditions that took a toll on their health. For them, it was a daily routine where they sacrificed their well-being in order to obtain the essentials—money, food, and clothing. Although all of them came from different countries, it was their shared experience that brought them together.

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