A Chicano’s Point of View on the Summer of Love, 1967 – Part Three


My updated notes on the original article . . .

So here we are friends, almost half a century later, summer of 2012.  There are hordes of Latinos of all stripes living in the good old USA now, many prospering and benefiting from the struggles of those who preceded them.  Yes, I said prospering and benefiting–and I will posit here that many if not most don’t have a clue about how it is that now they are enjoying so many “derechos y beneficios” in business, education and government.  Not their fault.  That history is just not that accessible and now it is even being suppressed in places like Arizona.

I will postulate something here–if Romney wins the Presidency, we are going to experience a wave of racism that will be akin to the racist norm that was in force before the Summer of Love, 1967.  The waves of racism that were experienced after Brewer signed off on SB1070 should give us an idea about how racists act in public when they feel law and government is on their side.

A Chicano’s Point of View on the Summer of Love, 1967 (continued)

Warriors for Peace

Tijerina may have awed and galvanized us with his fiery rhetoric and confrontational tactics but we had other leaders, leaders who were taking on broader, national issues. They were leaders who in their own right were also warriors, but whose philosophies and methods were more in the tradition of nonviolence.  Right alongside Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta was Denver-based Chicano civil rights leader, Rudolfo “Corky” Gonzales who criticized the Viet Nam war with eloquence in 1966, a couple of years before Dr. King spoke against the war.

Rudolfo “Corky” Gonzales

Two years after the Summer of Love, Corky’s organization, the Crusade for Justice hosted the national Chicano youth conference I already cited.  It was an event of historical importance.  Activist Latino youth, including Brown Berets and Young Lords, from all over the country attended.  For many youth including this writer, it was a heady initiation into real militant activism.

I recall participating in a demonstration against racism and the Vietnam War during the conference.  The march went through downtown Denver and the city civic center.  My homeboys spotted a flagpole flying the American flag.  Without any deliberation, they ran past the Crusade for Justice security, and before anybody could do anything, they were tearing down the flag.  The media was there and took pictures that were published in newspapers and aired nationwide.  The taking down of that flag was an act of raw, youthful anger and defiance, the stuff of counterculture – but it was Chicano and so it was colored as treasonous disrespect for the national emblem. (continued in part four)