Santa Cruz Indymedia :
Santa Cruz Indymedia

LOCAL News :: Education & Youth

Brown Beret Chapter to start in Santa Cruz

The Brown Berets are an imortant part of the historical struggle for civil rights and the Chicano Movement in the United States. Founded in 1967 by young students and community members in the barrios of East Los Angeles, this group orgnanized against police brutality, racial injustice and the lack of ethnic education in public schools. Much of this groups influence came from organizations such as the Black Panthers, the American Indian Movement and the Young Lords. The Brown Berets were instrumental in organizing the East Los Angelos High School Walkouts of 1968 that forced Los Angeles Schools to revise their hiring policies and include ethnic studies. The Brown Berets also organized the Chicano Moratorium march which called for an end to the Vietnam War and the recruitment of Latinos in the military. This organization was vital in making the public aware of the disparities and struggles affecting the Chicano community.
IN 1994, students in Watsonville took the initiative to create their own chapter after the tragic deaths of Jessica Cortes (age 9) and George Cortez (age 16) who were gunned down in a gang retribution. The organizers were tired of violence affecting their community and decided to do something about it. They belived the effective method was to teach young people about their history and culture and how our social struggles are common with the struggles of all oppressed people around the world. In utilizing the "each one teach one method" these students were able to capture the minds and attention of many young people who had been marginalized. The Brown Berets of Watsonville have been involved in many local issues such as the preventing the redistricting of local schools, reduction of police brutality, local elections and miltary counter recruitment. Influenced by this groups work, students from Santa Cruz are organizing their own local chapter of the Brown Berets. Their first meeting will be this Wednesday April 13 at 7pm at the Santa Cruz Resource Center for Nonviolence located at 515 Broadway. Their first meeting will be focused on Brown Beret History and creating goals and solidarity with existing progressive organizations. In conjunction with Free Radio Santa Cruz, the Santa Cruz Brown Berets plan to rent office space at the Resource Center for Nonviolence to create their own media and liberation school. Meetings are open to anyone interested in the battle for social justice. Hasta La Victoria Siempre!!

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