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Chicano/a Movement in Washington


Movimiento from 1960-1985

by Oscar Rosales Castañeda
Year Local  National
1962 United Farm Workers Organizing Committee, led by Cesar Chavez is initiated as an independent organization in Delano, California.
1963 The Political Association of Spanish-speaking Organizations (PASO) unites to take over the city council for 2 years in Crystal City, Texas.
Oct. 8, 1963: La Alianza Federal de los Mercedes is incorporated by Reies Lopez Tijerina in New Mexico.
1964 President Lyndon B. Johnson declares the 'War on Poverty' and proposes the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, which lays the ground for projects through the Office of Economic Opportunity.
1965 The Yakima Valley Council for Community Action(YVCCA) is organized to coordinate the War on Poverty efforts in the Valley. Late Nov.-Dec. 1965: The United Farm Workers Organizing Committee initiates a national table grape boycott.
1966 Two students from Yakima Valley College, Tomas Villanueva and Guadalupe Gamboa travel to California to  meet Cesar Chavez. The meeting serves to spawn organizational efforts to unionize farm workers in Central Washington. Rodolfo Acuña starts teaching the first Mexican American history class in Los Angeles, California.
Mar. 17-Apr. 11, 1966: Cesar Chavez and the National Farm Workers Association march from Delano to the California state Capitol in Sacramento.
Apr. 29, 1966: Rodolfo "Corky" Gonzalez is fired from the Neighborhood Youth Corps Directorship. Soon after, he founds the Crusade for Justice in Denver, Colorado.
May, 1966: High school students in East Los Angeles form the Young Citizens for Community Action(YCCA).
Oct. 15, 1966: Tijerina and 350 members of La Alianza occupy Kit Carson National Forest Camp Echo Amphitheatre on behalf of the "Pueblo de San Joaquin de Chama," in New Mexico.
1967 The Cursillo Movement within the Catholic Church emerges in the Yakima Valley. The purpose is to engage in social action and encourage participation in church life. The Mexican American Youth Organization(MAYO) is formed on college campuses in Texas after the first chapter is born at St. Mary's College in San Antonio.
1967: Tomas Villanueva co-founds the United Farm worker Co-operative in Toppenish Washington. The Co-op would serve as a place for organizing and as a cultural center. The UFW Co-op is credited as being the first Activist Chicano organization in the State of Washington. Mar. 13, 1967: 250 students representing seven Los Angeles colleges and universities meet to form the United Mexican American Students(UMAS).
1967: The Mexican American Federation is organized in Yakima, Washington, to advocate for community development and political empowerment in the Yakima Valley. Jun. 5, 1967: Reies Lopez Tijerina conducts an armed raid in Tierra Amarilla on the Rio Arriba County Courthouse.
Aug. 19, 1967: The Alianza Federal de Las Mercedes changes its name to the Alianza Federal de Pueblos Libres.
Dec., 1967: David Sanchez takes control of the Young Citizens for Community Action and restructures it into the Young Chicanos for Community Action. The group, which was often harassed by the L.A. County Sheriffs, takes a more militant stance against discrimination and police brutality, evolving into the Brown Berets by early 1968. The Brown Berets would become one of the largest non-student organizations in the country, having chapters as far north as Seattle, Washington,  Eugene, Oregon,  Denver, Colorado,  Detroit, Michigan and Minneapolis, Minnesota.
1968 La Sociedad Mutualista is founded in Granger, Washington. The group focuses on self-help for its members and sponsorship of social and cultural events.  Feb. 15, 1968: Response to violent repression on Farm workers leads Cesar Chavez to begin a 25-day fast to keep the farm worker movement non-violent.
1968: Yakima County Commissioners take control of the YVCCA, effectively neutralizing any potential for the creation of any real changes in the economic situation of Chicanos in the Yakima Valley through the use of this program. Mar. 3, 1968: More than 1000 students peacefully walk out of Abraham Lincoln High School in L.A. with Lincoln High Teacher, Sal Castro, joining the group of students, in protest of school conditions. The student strike known as the L.A. Blowouts, would later have over 10,000 high school students walk out by the end of the week. To this day, the event still remains the largest student strike at the high school level in the history of the United States. 
Mar., 1968: On request of the United Farm Workers, the American Civil Liberties Union(ACLU) of Washington goes to the Yakima Valley to help organize a legal assistance program. The report that emerges after the end of the project underlines the societal conditions present that maintained Chicanos in a state of subjugation.  Mar. 10-11, 1968: Cesar Chavez breaks his fast at a mass at a park in Delano. 
May 20, 1968: The UW Black Student Union occupies the administration building, demanding the implementation of recruitment programming and the establishment of black studies courses.   May 27, 1968: A grand jury indicts the L.A.13 for conspiracy to disrupt the peace in organizing the East L.A. school walkouts.
Summer, 1968: The BSU at the UW travels to the Yakima Valley and recruits the first major group of Chicanos to the University of Washington. Nov. 4, 1968: The United Mexican American Students(UMAS) and the Black Student Union(BSU) unite, and Rosalio Munoz is voted in, becoming the first Chicano elected as the University of California at Los Angeles' Student Body President.
Oct. 1, 1968: Chicano students at the University of Washington found a chapter of the United Mexican American Students(UMAS) which is modeled after the UMAS at the University of Southern California. The UW UMAS Chapter was the first in the Pacific Northwest as well as the first Chicano organization at the UW.  1968: The Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund(MALDEF) is organized in San Antonio, TX. It is modeled after the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. 
1968-9: The Brown Berets, a more militant group is formed simultaneously with the student organizations, creating two chapters, one in Yakima and the other at the University of Washington in Seattle. 1968: Soledad Alatorre and Bert Corona set up the Center for Autonomous Social Action(CASA). The group is one of the first to spearhead a move toward organizing both legal and undocumented workers under the banner of 'sin fronteras' or 'without borders.' 
1969 Active Mexicano is established in Seattle. The organization works toward providing individuals social services including job placement and legal assistance.  Jan. 1969: Modeling their actions after students at San Francisco State, the Third World Liberation Front(TWILF) organizes a major strike at UC Berkeley that lasts until April
1969: "La Escuelita" is founded in Granger through the efforts of students and UW faculty. Mar. 1969: The strike at San Francisco State College ends. Organized by the Third World Liberation Front, the strike marked by confrontations between students and police, yield the creation of Black, Asian, and Raza Studies Departments housed under the umbrella of a proposed College of Ethnic Studies.
1969: UW UMAS organizes a Chicano student conference in Toppenish. The ultimate goal is to go into the community and establish student organizations at the high school level. Mar. 27-31 1969: The first National Chicano Youth Liberation Conference is sponsored by Crusade for Justice in Denver, CO.
1969: The Granger School Board refuses to allow use of a gym for a presentation by Cesar Chavez. Apr. 1969: A three day conference is organized at Santa Barbara by the Chicano Coordinating Council of Higher Education to create a plan for curricular changes and provide service to Chicano students. The conference also yields the formation of El Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan(MEChA), which the various participating organizations change their name to.
Jan. 29, 1969: About 100 people begin picketing the Husky Union Building(HUB) at the University of Washington. The goal is to convince the university to stop selling non-union grapes. The grape boycott committee that emerges is chaired by UMAS and supported by the Black Student Union(BSU), Students for a Democratic Society(SDS), individual members of the ASUW Board of Control, and the Young Socialist Alliance(YSA), to name a few.  May 13, 1969: The Brown Berets begin publication of a monthly paper called 'La Causa' which soon becomes a medium for recruitment. Following the lead of the Black Panthers, they also institute programming that deals with food, housing, unemployment, and education within the barrios. 
Feb., 1969: Following the lead of UW UMAS, Chicano students organize themselves to form a chapter of the Mexican American Student Association(MASA) at Yakima Valley College. 
Feb. 17, 1969: The UW Grape Boycott Committee is victorious as the HUB officially halts the sale of grapes. The boycott makes the University of Washington the first campus in the United States to remove grapes entirely from its eating facilities. 
1969: The first MASA chapter is formed by Chicano students at Washington State University.
Sep. 16, 1969: The first 'Chicano Liberation Day' is organized by Corky Gonzalez and the Crusade for Justice.
Spring, 1969: Eloy Apodaca, A Chicano student at the University of Washington, is elected to the ASUW Board of Control.
May 5, 1969: UW UMAS submits a proposal to the Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences for the creation of a Chicano Educational Development Project which would be a precursor to El Centro De Estudios Chicanos at UW
Summer, 1969: Thousands of teenagers converge on the 'AVE' in Seattle's University District and battle with Seattle Police during two nights of rioting and looting. The disturbance subsides only after SPD retreats.  Nov. 1969: A young law Student at Loyola University forms Catolicos Por La Raza in California.
Fall, 1969: UW UMAS changes its name to Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan.
1970 El Teatro del Piojo is formed at the University of Washington. This group is modeled after El Teatro Campesino in California and is the first activist theatre group of its kind in the Pacific Northwest.  Apr. 1970: La Raza Unida Party emerges out of Texas and dominates the local elections in Crystal City, TX.
1970: The Seattle and Yakima Brown Beret Chapters attract over 200 members.
1970: The Farm Workers Family Health Center is founded in Toppenish through the acquisition of federal funding by the UFW Co-op. 
1970: The UFW Co-op organizes an official union organizing committee in response to  wildcat strikes in the hop fields of Central Washington. Despite the efforts, the union remains unrecognized until it becomes the United Farm Workers of Washington State in 1986. July 29, 1970: The National Grape Boycott organized by the UFWOC yields contracts with most California growers.
1970: The UW Brown Berets mobilize to garner support throughout the state for their 'Food for Peace' campaign which distributes food, clothing and money to needy families in the Yakima Valley. They also attempt to develop a legal defense fund on behalf of activists. Aug. 29, 1970: The third Moratorium Protest against the Viet-Nam War takes place in Laguna Park in L.A., attracting over 10,000-30,000 people. Police breakup the peaceful gathering and use force against the demonstrators. Ruben Salazar, a writer for the L.A. Times is killed when he is hit in the head by a tear-gas canister shot by the L.A.P.D.
1968-70: Brown Berets in the Yakima Valley organized marches to protest the racist and insensitive practices of staff at the welfare office in Yakima.
1970: 'El Año del Mexicano' is formed through several organizations interested in the political development of the Chicano Community. 
1970: Whatcom Chicano Concilio is founded in Lynden, Washington. 
1970: Women form 'Chicanas de Aztlan' at WSU.
1970: The University of Washington implements a Chicano Studies Program.
1970: A subgroup within MEChA, 'Las Chicanas' forms at UW 
1970: Hop Strikes spread throughout the Yakima Valley
1970: The Brown Beret Chapter in the in the Yakima Valley becomes inactive after a key leader loses credibility in the Chicano Community. Despite severing ties to the former leader, the group loses credibility because of past association and disbands.
1970: Chicano students at the University of Washington create the Chicano Graduate and Professional Student Association.
May 5, 1970: Thousands of Students at the University of Washington take to the streets a day after the Kent State shootings. They then move on Interstate-5 and march to downtown Seattle, making the demonstration the first ever highway march in the United States.
1971 YVCC MASA changes its name to MEChA The FBI Counter Intelligence Program infiltrates and provokes Chicano Organizations. COINTELPRO is unveiled as files are retreived from an FBI office. 
1971: The 'Aztlan' mural is painted at the University of Washington's Ethnic Cultural Center complex by UW Chicano art student, Emilio Aguayo. Upon completion, it is one of the first murals to emerge out of the Chicano Muralist Movement in the Pacific Northwest.
Nov. 1971: YVCC Approves first Chicano Studies courses. May 5, 1971: La Marcha de la Reconquista, a march from Calexico to Sacramento, begins with Rosalio Munoz, David Sanchez and the Brown Berets.
1972 The Ethnic Cultural Center and Theatre opens its doors at the University of Washington. When it opens, the ECC/T is the first center of its kind in the nation, making it the first building owned by a university to serve primarily people of color and one of the first to be a hub for cross-cultural exchange. Feb. 9, 1972: Ramsey Muniz announces bid for Texas Governor under the Raza Unida Party Banner
1972: The Brown Berets coordinate La Raza Unida Party efforts in the Yakima Valley and in Seattle.
1972: The Bailadores de Bronze are formed at the University of Washington. The purpose of the organization is to share cultural dance, music and Mexican traditions with communities all over the Northwest.
Mar. 1972: Students organize a moratorium to stress the importance of hiring Chicano/a Faculty at the UW. Aug. 28-Sep. 26, 1972: In a move inspired by the American Indian Movement's(AIM) takeover of Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay, the Brown Berets initiate 'Project Tecolote' and invade Catalina Island
Apr. 28-30, 1972: Students organize the first statewide MEChA Conference in Washington at Yakima Valley College. The outcome of the conference then results in the creation of a statewide board authorized to inform all MEChA Chapters in Washington about activities at the state level
May 2, 1972: Over 40 UW MEChA Members attend a reception by the Rainier Brewing company and read a statement declaring a boycott or Rainier Beer products and its subsidiaries for labor violations.
Oct. 11, 1972: El Centro de La Raza is founded in Seattle by activists and Beacon Hill community members who occupy an abandoned school. The participants refuse to leave the building until the Seattle School District leases them the space for the creation of a multi-purpose, progressive community organization. Sep. 1-4, 1972: La Raza Unida Party holds its national convention. Gutierrez beats Gonzalez for the national chair in a  campaign that leads to the division of LRUP into 2 camps
1973 The National Chicano Health Organization forms within MEChA at the UW. CASA's ideology takes a turn farther toward the left in the early 1970's, making it the first Marxist-Leninist Organization based inside the Chicano Community. 
Jan. 23, 1973: African American and Chicano students occupy a building and present a list of demands to Yakima Valley College. Demands include the establishment of an Ethnic Studies program and the hiring of Black and Chicano counselors. Sep 11, 1973: A CIA-backed coup succeeds in overthrowing the democratically elected Marxist government in Chile. This marks the start of U.S.-backed Gen. Augusto Pinochet's 17 year stint as the head of Chile, which is notoriously known for massive human rights violations.
1974 May 2, 1974: 40 students, led by UW MEChA, occupy the Office of the Psychology Department’s Chair. The sit-in was in response to inaction by the Psychology Department in providing equal representation of Chicanos at the administrative, faculty, staff and graduate student levels.  Jun 1974: A group of students from Los Angeles and Orange County form El Comite Estudiantil del Pueblo. The group, made up primarily of Chicano Marxists, seeks "anti-imperialist solidarity with national and international student struggles, university reform, self-determination against the 'imperial system,' and student-worker unity." The group later merges with CASA.
May 13, 1974: The office of the Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences at UW is occupied by 75-100 students. The protest was a result of the college's failure to hire Dr. Carlos Munoz as a new professor at UW and the university's inability to recruit Chicano faculty. 1974: Farah signs a contract with the Amalgamated Clothing Workers Union of America, ending a nationwide boycott which lasted two years. By 1976, Farah moves its operations south of the border.
1975 1975: The Concilio for the Spanish Speaking is established in Seattle. The purpose is in uniting organizations and groups that serve Spanish speaking communities and are organized for charitable, health and welfare purposes. 
January, 1975: Proyecto Saber is implemented within the Seattle School District. The program adds cultural and curriculum aspects that were not found in the schools and aids with the desegregation efforts and in opening lines of communication between the Chicano/Latino Community and Seattle Schools.  1975: The Voting Rights Act of 1965 is extended to 'Hispanic Americans'
Jan. 1975: El Teatro Quetzalcoatl is formed at the University of Washington. 
May 6, 1975: The UW fires two Chicano administrators for their participation in activities protesting the UW’s hiring practices. As the week progresses, Chicano Staff and Faculty resign in solidarity, leaving the future of the Chicano Studies Program with an uncertain future.
May 13. 1975: Nearly 2000 students converge on the administration building at the University of Washington. UW MEChA and the ASUW called for a two-day boycott of classes to protest the hiring practices of the University’s affirmative action program. 
May 21, 1975: The Department of Health, Education and Welfare notifies the UW that it will investigate racial discrimination charges brought against the institution with the dissolvement of Chicano Studies and Chicano EOP.
1977 A Chicano group is established at Eastern Washington University. It later aligns itself with other MEChA chapters and changes its name in 1978. Jose Angel Gutierrez and the Raza Unida Party hold a conference in San Antonio attracting over 2000 activists. The gathering is in response to Jimmy Carter's immigration reform legislation which ignores labor and human rights violations at the hands of employers and the INS.
1977: After much controversy, a mural painted by world renowned Irish Mexican Muralist, Pablo O’Higgins, is installed in the second floor of Kane Hall at the University of Washington, upon suggestion of El Centro de La Raza and UW MEChA. Originally painted in 1945 by O’Higgins for the Union Hall of the Shipscalers, Dry-dock and Miscellaneous Boatyard Workers Union, Local 541 in Seattle, the painting is removed after the Union Hall is razed in 1955 and would remain in storage at the UW until its restoration two decades later. 
1978 SEA MAR Community Health Center is founded by Chicano community leaders and health activists in the Southpark neighborhood south of downtown Seattle. Jun 28, 1978: The Supreme Court upholds the decision in favor of Bakke v. the UC Board of Regents by a vote of 5-4.
1978: UW MEChA occupies the Chicano Division of the Educational Opportunity Program and organizes a ‘sick-out’ with counselors to protest the reorganization of the EOP program at UW.
1978: Consejo a private, not for profit organization, is founded in Seattle to provide culturally competent mental health and family support services that target the Chicano/Latino community in Western Washington.
1979 RADIO KDNA is established as a Spanish language, public radio station in Granger. The station works to provide music, information and other radio based initiatives and has long been recognized nationally for its progressive programming. 
1980 May 21, 1980: 20 Asian and Chicano EOP students occupy the offices of EOP Vice-President Herman Lujan, demanding an end to the new admissions program and his resignation.  The Reagan Administration comes to power, accelerating the dismantling of most social programs initiated in the 1960's.
1981 1980's: US. Latin American Policy under the Reagan administration intensifies "low intensity" proxy warfare against leftist movements in Latin America. The civil wars that result from U.S. backing of counter-insurgency militaries lead to an increased migration of Central American political refugees to the United States.
1983 El Centro de La Raza sends a delegation and a crew from KING-TV on a fact-finding mission to Nicaragua. The Sandinista government hosts the delegation for a week as the group talks to people in the towns affected by attacks by counterrevolutionary groups.