The Forgotten Occupation of Catalina Island

In August 1972, a Chicano-rights group called the Brown Berets camped out on Catalina Island for three weeks, demanding that its almost 42,000 acres of undeveloped land be turned into housing. I grew up on Catalina, but only recently learned about this slice of history.

Who are the Brown Berets? According to Carlos Montes, one of the co-founders of the Brown Berets, states that they are a group of young Chicano revolutionaries from the barrios of the Southwest fighting for the self-determination of our people.

The Chicano movement emerged during the civil rights era with three goals: restoration of land, rights for farmworkers, and education reforms. But before the 1960s, Latinos largely lacked influence in national politics. That changed when the Mexican American Political Association worked to elect John F. Kennedy as president in 1960, establishing Latinos as a significant voting bloc.

There are photographs of crowds of people carrying protests signs, determined speakers holding megaphones, streams of people marching down streets of Los Angeles, facing down barricades. Images of bodies covered in bruises from police near portraits of children and families, moments captured of everyday life, of music and joy.

The Brown Berets in Minnesota were a chapter of a national Chicano organization founded in Los Angeles in 1968. They emerged from the Mexican American barrio of Westside St. Paul and came together in 1969. Members took pride in their ethnic and racial identities as Chicanos while focusing on outreach to prevent Mexican American youth from engaging in criminalized activities.

Chicano, feminine form Chicana, identifier for people of Mexican descent born in the United States. The term came into popular use by Mexican Americans as a symbol of pride during the Chicano Movement of the 1960s.

Miguel E. Gallardo
Miguel E. Gallardo is associate professor of psychology at Pepperdine University's Graduate School of Education and Psychology. His contributions to SAGE publications' Culturally Adaptive...

From: 2018-07-18
A Chicano renaissance? A new Mexican-American generation embraces the term
“If you take pride in being Chicano, you stand up,” said a young Mexican-American. “We’re here.”

Freedom of Religion, Speech, Press, Assembly, and Petition

Passed by Congress September 25, 1789. Ratified December 15, 1791. The first 10 amendments form the Bill of Rights

The First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution prevents the government from making laws which regulate an establishment of religion, or that would prohibit the free exercise of religion, or abridge the freedom of speech, the freedom of the press, the freedom of assembly, or the right to petition the government for redress of grievances. It was adopted on December 15, 1791, as one of the ten amendments that constitute the Bill of Rights.

Several hundred marchers and dozens of tricked-out cars converged on an East Los Angeles park Saturday to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Chicano Moratorium, a peace march to protest racial injustice and the disproportionate death toll of Mexican American soldiers in the Vietnam War.

Brown Berets salute Mexican American journalist Ruben Salazar during a gathering at the site of the old Silver Dollar Bar in East Los Angeles.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Rafael Avitia, co-chair of La Mesa Brown Berets, said the term “Chicano” encompasses all Indigenous people.

“We’re going to march and reassert who we are: la gente de Aztlan [the people of Aztlan],” Avitia said. “How the hell can we be illegal? We are Indigenous on this land.”

Brown Berets join hundreds of people gathered at Ruben Salazar Park in East Los Angeles on Saturday to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Chicano Moratorium march.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Note: I know these sisters!

Chicano Moratorium:
Loyola-Marymount film student Tom Myrdahl shot this documentary, capturing the events that unfolded as law enforcement and protesters clashed in and around Laguna Park. This film has not been seen in nearly 40 years.

On August 29, 1970, a “Chicano Moratorium” against the war in Vietnam was held in East L.A.

Brown Beret women and men during the August 29, 1970 anti-Vietnam War “Chicano Moratorium” march in East Los Angeles.


To support this server and the OMN project