ABILENE, Texas (KRBC)-Hispanic leaders are marching from the Abilene ISD administration building to Everman Park on Saturday, October 26th in order to commemorate the Chicano protests that took place in Abilene in late October of 1969.
The Abilene community was rocked 50 years ago after a group of Mexican American students led a civil rights movement that sought change throughout Abilene ISD.
Isaac Munoz and his sister-in-law Leticia Alvarado were both middle school students when the walkout took place. Both had siblings who were in high school. Both said their siblings did not tell them of the protest; the two were surprised when hundreds of Chicano high school students flooded the hallways of their respective middle schools.
“And [the protestors] said ‘They did a walkout at Abilene High and now–‘ and I said ‘No. I’ll get in trouble.'” “And they said ‘well your brother’s the one that’s behind it,'” said Alvarado.
“And she’s says ‘Come on! come on!’ And so, I got up, and the teacher goes, ‘Where are you going?’ I said, ‘My sister’s in the hall’, and I walked out,” said Munoz.
“We would congregate here at Sears for the next about eight to ten days, and you know, instead of school we came here,” said Munoz.
Eleven grievances were written and sent to AISD including: seeking the right to speak Spanish without punishment, an increase in Mexican American representation in faculty and student government and a ban of derogatory comments made by teachers toward multi-cultural students.
Both Munoz and Alvarado said not all of these grievances were ever addressed, but they believe the march did create meaningful change.
“Our younger generation needs to know that because of certain people’s sacrifices that they made, their lives have gotten better,” said Alvarado. “Their lives have gotten a lot better.”