Salazar stamp stirs up bitter memories of police brutality

Ruben Salazar’s “head was shattered by a heavy, torpedo-shaped tear gas projectile fired by a sheriff’s deputy during a riot Salazar was covering in East Los Angeles on Aug. 29, 1970,” as disclosed in an L.A. Times article published today.

Salazar was a “former Los Angeles Times reporter and columnist.” Some Mexican Americans called him la voz de la Raza, the voice of the people, and his often blunt columns spoke to the desires and frustrations of a community.

The year he died, he wrote:

“Chicanos feel cheated. They want to effect change. . . .

“That is why Mexican American activists flaunt the barrio word Chicano — as an act of defiance and a badge of honor. Mexican Americans, though large in numbers, are so politically impotent that in Los Angeles, where the country’s largest single concentration of Spanish-speaking live, they have no one of their own on the City Council.”

Over thirty years later we have an all Latino City Council in Santa Ana, and you would never know it. Time and again this year they have made moves detrimental to their own people. I am not sure we have made any progress…but I digress.

“In honor of trailblazing newsman Ruben Salazar’s relentless efforts to chronicle the complexity of race relations in Los Angeles, the U.S. Postal Service in 2008 will issue a commemorative stamp.”

Have we really made any progress? Can anyone forget the police brutality this year at MacArthur Park, in Los Angeles? Once again reporters were amongst those beaten up by cops.

Just a week or so ago we found out that the Bond Oversight Committee and the Board of Trustees at Rancho Santiago Community College District spent twice what they said they would on the new Carona Sheriff Training Facility. They spent money that should have gone towards a new math/science building at Santa Ana College. Then they took umbrage when I complained about it. And they really got upset when I pointed out the lack of diversity on their boards.

Well, as we commemorate the death of Ruben Salazar, with a postage stamp, let us hope that the rookie cops at the Carona Sheriff Training Facility will learn about Salazar…and about MacArthur Park. And let’s hope that we will one day live in a society where rogue cops don’t beat up and kill innocent protesters..and brave reporters. Over thirty years have passed since Salazar was buried, and we really haven’t come very far, have we?

About Admin

"Admin" is just editors Vern Nelson, Greg Diamond, or Ryan Cantor sharing something that they mostly didn't write themselves, but think you should see. Before December 2010, "Admin" may have been former blog owner Art Pedroza.