The National Chicano Moratorium Committee Against the Vietnam War was a movement that began in 1969 and initiated a series of rallies and marches to bring awareness to the disproportionate numbers of Chicano martyrs in the Vietnam war; despite making up only ten percent of the American population, Chicanxs accounted for twenty percent of casualties in the Vietnam War. The Chicano National Moratorium held on August 29, 1970 in East Los Angeles is the event that most folks refer to as the “Chicano Moratorium” as it was the largest congregation of Mexican-Americans at that time with approximately 25,000 people in attendance.

The event is infamous however, for the deaths of four civilians including nationally syndicated journalist Ruben Salazar, due to violence that was escalated by the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department and the Los Angeles Police Department. The rally was disrupted by poluce officers who launched tear gas into the crowds; hundreds of community members were injured and nearly a hundred fifty protestors were arrested. The events that transpired on that fateful day ignited a generation of Chicanx leaders and artists, emboldened the anti-war effort and reminded folks that their battle against state-sanctioned violence was as much international as it was local.

The aim of this exhibition is two-fold; to serve as a commemoration for the lives risked and the souls lost in the struggle for self-determination at the hands of state police and to guide the current activists who continue the work of nuestros antepasados to make the world we live in a more just place.

This summer I had the privilege of being selected for the Getty Marrow Undergraduate Internship, a program that began in 1993 through the Getty Foundation to provide full-time summer work opportunities for college undergraduates from cultural backgrounds that have traditionally been underrepresented in the arts.

I am grateful to have served as one of the Getty Marrow Undergraduate Interns for the Chicano Studies Research Center and for the opportunity to curate an exhibition commemorating 50 years since the Chicano Moratorium utilizing digitized versions of photos from the La Raza Magazine photograph collection. I am very grateful for the femtorship I received from my two supervisors Xaviera Flores and Doug Johnson and the experiences that have been afforded to me by Getty Staff. I had a wonderful time getting to know my fellow interns at the CSRC and in my Getty Learning Community and am inspired to know that are so many up-and-coming scholars and agents of change committed to ensuring that our museums, libraries and universities hold anti-racist approaches to scholarship. 

I hope that you enjoy this exhibit and that it serves as an acessible educational resource for those who were unaware of the Chicano Moratorium and the events that transpired on August 29, 1970; may it help our society radically reimagine ways to protect our communities without the threat of state sactioned violence.

Amado Castillo, Class of 2021

University of California, Los Angeles