Fight Back! News

News and Views from the People's Struggle

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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 staff

Dallas, TX – La Frontera Nos Cruzo held a vigil, May 10, at the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge to honor mothers who have lost their lives at the border. The event's host, Lesly Torres Guerrero, began the night by singing a rendition of Cielito Lindo before leading a moment of silent prayer for those affected by border violence. An altar of names and faces was decorated with flowers and candles, which passersby stopped to give their respects to.

A guest speaker from the Eagle Pass Border coalition, Amerika Grewal, spoke on the topic, “There is a time for mourning, then there is action!”

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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 staff

FRSO Central Committee member  Carlos Montes speaks in Denver, Colorado.  | Fight Back! News/staff

Denver, CO – On May 26, Carlos Montes, a lifelong organizer and a member of the Central Committee of Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO), came to Denver to speak about socialism and the struggle for Chicano liberation. Colorado has a long history of radical Chicano organizing, most famous being the Crusade for Justice of the 1960s.

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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 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 David Pulido

FPD body cam footage from the night they murdered Alejandro Campos Rios.

Fullerton, CA – On March 6, Fullerton Police Department (FPD) killed Alejandro Campos Rios with bean bag projectiles and a taser. Age 50 and homeless, Rios was dancing and apparently under the influence but not posing any threat. One officer fired a taser while another shot five bean bag shotgun rounds at Rios, who collapsed bleeding and clutching his body. Rios was pronounced dead after arriving at a hospital.

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By staff

Neighborhood posters declaring victory over gentrification in Boyle Heights. | Fight Back! News/staff

Los Angeles, CA – On March 13, organized tenants from El Apetito-Finessa Colectivo, neighborhood council members, and concerned residents appeared before a hearing at Ramona Hall Community Center in Highland Park. They were supporting an appeal against a major corporate development in Boyle Heights.

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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 Carlos Montes

Los Lobos performs at Garfield High School in East Los Angeles. | Fight Back! News/staff

Los Angeles, CA – A full auditorium at East LA Garfield High School (GHS) greeted Los Lobos for their 50th anniversary concert celebration. The legendary East LA band gave a tremendous concert to the packed auditorium in the new auditorium. Band members include David Hidalgo on accordion and lead guitar, Cesar Rosas vocals and guitar, Louie Perez guitar and Conrado Terrazas on bass. Los Lobos are GHS alumni.

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