USC Center for Diversity & Democracy in Partnership with CASA 0101
WALKING OUT FOR JUSTICE SINCE 1968
Fifty years ago, over 10,000 high school students walked out of their classrooms from five East Los Angeles high schools to protest racial inequalities in public education. At the time, the dropout rates at Roosevelt and Garfield High Schools in East LA were about 50 percent while Westside schools were below 4 percent.
When the Los Angeles School Board ignored student leaders who presented a survey of student needs, students decided to target schools financially. They knew schools received funds based on the number of students in class each day and planned a massive walkout before attendance was taken. Students compiled a series of demands including an end to: school segregation, corporal punishment for speaking Spanish and classroom overcrowding. They also called for increased college opportunities beyond vocational training, community access to decision-making, and the hiring of more Mexican American teachers and administrators.
These demonstrations marked the beginning of the urban uprising known as the Chicano Movement and transformed the politics and culture of the Mexican American community in Los Angeles and beyond.