Fight Back! News

News and Views from the People's Struggle

centro cso

By Victor Rodriguez

Los Angeles event commemorates Chicano resistance during Zoot Suit Riots.  | Staff/Fight Back! News

Los Angeles, CA – On June 2, Mariachi Plaza in Boyle Heights was alive with vibrant culture and history as hundreds of Chicanos gathered for the Zoot Suit Cruise, an event commemorating the infamous Zoot Suit Riots of June 1943. Over 100 classic cars, affectionately known as “Bombas,” lined the streets, their glossy, bright paint jobs reflecting the pride and resilience of the Chicano community.

Chicanos, dressed in their finest zoot suits, danced the night away to the energetic rhythms of Pachuco Jose Y Los Diamantés, a band known for their Chicano rock. The atmosphere was electric with celebration, yet charged with a somber remembrance of the violent history that necessitates such gatherings.

The Zoot Suit Riots were a dark chapter in Los Angeles' history, marked by a week-long series of brutal attacks. On June 3,1943, mobs of U.S. servicemen, off-duty police officers and civilians targeted young Chicanos and other oppressed nationality youth. These violent assaults, which eyewitnesses described as mass lynchings, were sparked by racial tensions, targeting those wearing the distinctive zoot suit popular among many young Chicanos.

For a week, U.S. Navy sailors, police officers and other white men roamed the barrios, attacking indiscriminately based on clothing and skin color. Chicana women were beaten and some raped by servicemen, while Chicano men faced beatings and imprisonment. The violence, which spread from downtown Los Angeles to East Los Angeles and Watts, was only quelled when military personnel were confined to their barracks. By then, the attacks had wrongfully imprisoned many and left an indelible scar on the community.

Decades later, the City of Los Angeles issued a formal apology, acknowledging the horrific events and the city's role in them. However, the apology was seen by many as half-hearted. For Chato Ranflas, one of the cruise's organizers, events like the Zoot Suit Cruise are crucial for cultural remembrance and community strength. “It's very important to have these types of cultural Chicano events in the neighborhood. Aquí estamos y no nos vamos,” Ranflas declared, emphasizing the enduring presence and resilience of the Chicano community.

Centro CSO members were present at the event, enjoying the festivities and documenting the community's vibrant celebration of culture and history. The Zoot Suit Cruise stands as a testament to the strength and unity of the Chicano community, a poignant reminder of their enduring spirit.

#LosAngelesCA #OppressedNationalities #ChicanoLatino #Zoot #CentroCSO

By Marisol Márquez

Students at Mendez High School walk out of classes demanding rehiring of the school principal.  | Fight Back! News/staff

Los Angeles, CA – On the morning of May 28, over 100 Chicano students at Mendez High School walked out of their classes. Students were demanding that their school principal Mauro Bautista be brought back after mysteriously being removed for more than a month now from the school.

Starting at 9 a.m., the students walked out of their classes and marched along the front of the school, holding a banner that read, “Free Jefe!” After the march and coming back to school premises, the students refused to return to classes and staged a sit-in, where organizers read their demands and made speeches.

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By Henry Cornejo

Chicanos rally in East Los Angeles in solidarity with Palestine.  | Fight Back! News/staff

Los Angeles, CA – On May 17, Chicanos from the Boyle Heights neighborhood in Los Angeles, California held a rally for the 76th anniversary of the Nakba. Chants like “Desde el río hasta el mar, Palestina va ganar!” rang through the Cesar E. Chavez and Soto intersection. The rally was organized by members of Centro CSO, a Chicano-led grassroots organization, fighting for oppressed people in Boyle Heights and East Los Angeles.

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By Carlos Montes

UTLA and SEIU 99 rally in front of LAUSD Headquarters May 7.  | Photo: Sukhbir Gill

Los Angeles, CA – Thousands of spirited Los Angles Unified School District (LAUSD) workers rallied on May 7 to protest proposed cutbacks and layoffs by Superintendent Alberto Carvalho.

In front of LAUSD headquarters, the educator’s union, United Teachers of Los Angles (UTLA) and SEIU 99 school workers voiced a united strong message of “no cutbacks and no layoffs” that will hurt students.

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By staff

International Workers Day march Santa Ana, California.  | Fight Back! News/staff

Santa Ana, CA – On Wednesday, May 1, over 100 people gathered to rally and march for International Workers Day at El Centro Cultural de Mexico. The event brought forth demands such as legalization for all of the undocumented, community control of the police, solidarity with Palestine, permanent rent control, and more.

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By Luis Sifuentes

Pro-Palestine protest at USC. | Fight Back! News/Luis Sifuentes

Los Angeles, CA – On April 24, thousands of student activists and community members occupied Alumni Park in the middle of the University of Southern California (USC) to protest the ongoing genocide in Gaza. Student activists demanded that the university divest from corporations that sell weapons and technology to Israel, a complete academic boycott of Israel, and an end to its silence on the genocide of Palestine.

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By staff

Los Angeles protest demands justice for Christian Escobedo. | Fight Back! News/staff

Los Angeles, CA – On April 11, the family of Christian Escobedo continued their fight for justice as they pursue accountability for his tragic murder on January 14, 2018 by LAPD Officer Edward Artiaga from the Hollenbeck Division.

Six years after Escobedo’s murder, there are court hearings for his family’s civil lawsuit against Officer Artiaga, a display of the unwavering determination of his loved ones.

In 2018, Escobedo, a 22-year-old Chicano, was walking home at 6:30 a.m. with a friend when they stopped to rest on the sidewalk for a moment. LAPD arrived and shot him four times without provocation. With the support of Centro CSO, a community organization that fights against police crimes in East LA and Boyle Heights, Escobedo's family began organizing to demand accountability.

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By staff

A young person wearing a black hoodie holds up a sign that says "Fuck the banditos" and a drawing of a skeleton wearing a sombrero and holding a gun.

East Los Angeles, CA – On March 23, 50 people gathered at the East LA Sheriff Station to demand justice for David Ordaz Jr. and commemorate his three-year angelversary. On March 14, 2021, Los Angeles Sheriff's deputies killed Ordaz outside his family home after his family called 911 to request support for him while he was experiencing a mental health crisis.

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By Victor Rodriguez

International Women's Day celebration in Los Angeles. | Fight Back! News/staff

Los Angeles, CA – On March 9, over 50 people gathered at Salazar Park in East Los Angeles to participate in Centro CSO's 7th annual International Women's Day. The event was rally-style and free to the public.

Chants included, “Hey, hey, ho ho! Patriarchy has got to go!” and “¡Porque vivas nos queremos, tú machismo venceremos!” and the event featured music, poetry, food and a healing table.

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By Sol Márquez

Protesters hold signs saying "From the river to the sea Palestine will be free" and "End US Aid to Israel" while a lead protester chants on a bullhorn.

Hollywood, CA — A protest of 60 people gathered, March 10, near the Oscars to disrupt, chanting, “From the sea to the river, Palestine will live forever!”

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