Brown Berets National Gathering held in Sacramento
Sacramento, CA — On June 24 La Mesa Nacional de Brown Berets held the annual Brown Berets National Gathering in Sacramento, California. Around 150 community members, organizers and Brown Berets from across the country attended the gathering.
La Mesa Brown Berets is a broad coalition of Brown Berets chapters building a united front of Brown Berets to fight for Chicano self-determination. The event took place at Southside Park, one of the places striking farmworkers marched to during the historic 1965 Delano grape strike and boycott.
A variety of organizations tabled at the event, including the Partido Nacional La Raza Unida, Auburn Hip Hop Congress, the Poor People’s Campaign, the Center for Workers Rights, the Silicon Valley Unemployed Committee, Freedom Road Socialist Organization, and more. There were also food trucks, arts activities for families and children, and merchandise vendors.
Michael Ramirez, a descendant of the Konkow Maidu, Wintun, Miwok, Yurok, Hupa, and Nisenan peoples, kicked off the program by acknowledging the park as the ancestral homeland of the Nisenan people. Next came cultural musical and dance performances, followed by Brown Berets speakers from different chapters across the country, from Fresno to Denver to Chicago and Texas.
The speakers called for unity between different national liberation struggles, emphasized the need to protect and uplift Chicana women, and spoke to the importance of developing strong political movements independent of the Democrat and Republican parties.
Carlos Montes, a leader of Freedom Road Socialist Organization and one of the original founders of the Brown Berets, spoke about how the Brown Berets built a mass movement by fighting against police brutality, defending public education by organizing high school walkouts, and protesting the U.S. imperialist war in Vietnam. Montes also emphasized the right of the Chicano nation to self-determination, stating, “Organizing is the key to Chicano power.” He urged people to organize in their neighborhoods, communities, schools and workplaces.
Xochimilco Corona, a member of the Colorado Autonomous Brown Berets, discussed the importance of the Chicano moratorium and how it informed the Brown Berets’ understanding of U.S. imperialism. She also talked about how the Brown Berets were aware of the interconnectedness of all injustices, saying, “We stand up for our communities in numerous ways, anywhere from feeding the homeless, to protesting police brutality, to standing up for labor rights, migrants’ rights, immigration, and all of those things that affect our community.”
Juan Rafael Avita, a member of the Fresno Brown Berets Autonomous Chapter and Chair of La Mesa Brown Berets, highlighted the Brown Berets’ belief in militancy and the right to self-determination. He emphasized how, in addition to this, today’s Brown Berets are developing “a political line that addresses the economic and class struggle that we need to fight,” stating the importance of engaging in class struggle.
Today the Brown Berets carry on the legacy of their predecessors by fighting in many different struggles across the country. They also continue to struggle for unity across social movements, such as by building the 2nd Rainbow Coalition, and as a whole are open to revolutionary socialism.