Remembering Ruben Salazar

ruben_salazar.jpg El M·s ChingÛn, a Chicano writer in Austin, posted a short summary of the life and career of journalist Ruben Salazar and the feeling you get when you realize that you should have known your history.

You learn Salazar was born in Cuidad Juarez, Chihuahua, (where your grandfather was born), and he and his family grew up in El Paso where he also got his B.A. in Journalism from UTEP and became one of the very first Mexican-American investigative reporters at the El Paso Herald Post, where he worked hard writing about the police mistreatment of Mexicanos and the racist brutality that many Chicanos faced in Texas prisons.

You learn the man later moved to Santa Rosa, California where he worked for the San Francisco News and later became a staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, where he persuaded his editors to allow him to write a column that gave a voice to eastside Chicanos and the same campesinos that Cesar Chavez fought hard to support. He wrote an award-winning series of articles on the L.A. Latino community that gained him the respect and love of the Mexican-American people as well as Chavez himself.

You learn that at the time that Salazar was writing these columns and helping his community, he was the first Mexican-American writer to hold a staff position at a major American publication. What Salazar did was utilize his love for writing and his career for a social cause. He worked for his gente.

Then you watch in disbelief as your told by the narrator that on August 29, 1970, during a Mexican-American moratorium against the use of Mexican-Americans in Vietnam, Ruben Salazar was unjustly murdered by a Los Angeles County Deputy Tom Wilson. Wilson shot a 10-inch projectile at Salazarís head as he sat at the Silver Dollar cafÈ having lunch. Wilson was never charged although a coronerís panel ruled Salazarís death a homicide.

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5 Replies to “Remembering Ruben Salazar”

  1. American Chicano artist Frank Romero completed a painting in 1986 entitled, “The Death of Ruben Salizar.” It is part of the Smithsonian American Art Museum Collection. When the collection was on tour it was exhibited at the Palm Springs Art Museum and Mr. Romero came to see his painting again. More info on Romero and the painting…

    http://www.otis.edu/alumni/da/romero.htm

  2. John,
    Thanks a lot for that link. I’ve seen prints of those paintings but could not remember the name of the artist and didn’t have my Chicano Art: Resistance and Affirmation (CARA) exhibit book with me to check it out.

  3. Ed Begly, Jr. (St. Elsewhere, Six Feet Under) wrote a play by the name of Cesar & Ruben that opened in Austin last week. Itís the second time this project has been launched (the last time was in L.A. in front of Cesarís family) and itís actually at the university I work at. The Austin Chronicle wrote a feature called The Austin Chronicle wrote a feature called “Keeping Cesar Alive” on the production a few weeks ago. Iím hoping to catch it.

  4. Does anyone have contact information for Romero. I saw his painting of the death of Salazar in the Cheech Marin “Chicano” exhibit. It was awesome.

    Has anyone heard about the effort to get a postage stamp of Salazar? Want more information?

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