During his 50-plus years as an educator, Sal Castro inspired thousands of students to continue their education and become active members in their community. Many of these former students and the public will have a chance to record their own personal stories of Castro’s effect on their lives during a public memorial on Sunday, May 19 from 10 a.m. to noon.
The free event, which will be held on the grounds of Sal Castro Middle School, will honor Castro’s life and legacy. Castro died on April 15 at the age of 79.
Dignitaries include Board President Mónica García, Superintendent John Deasy, Instructional Area Superintendent Roberto Martinez and musical group Las Cafeteras will perform.
A variety of activities will be available for the public to share their stories about Castro and to learn about him, too. At one station, people will be able to leave a photo, memento or a message on a memorial wall. At another station, attendees can record their stories on a video camera and in writing. They can decorate a public quilt that is being assembled in honor of Castro, at another station.
Representatives of the newly established Sal Castro Foundation will also be there to share fund raising efforts to continue holding the Chicano Youth Leadership Conferences (CYLC) camp for high school students. Castro organized CYLC since the early 1960s to increase the number of Mexican Americans graduating from high schools and attending college. The camps ended in 2009 due to a cut in funding. The foundation is already planning to hold one camp in the fall of 2014 and another in the spring of 2015.
In 1968, with Castro guiding and inspiring them, students organized a week of walkouts to protest unequal educational conditions at their East Los Angeles high school campuses. The students demanded bilingual education, ethnic studies, and other changes at a time when educators forbade Latino students from speaking Spanish in school. Castro was arrested but ultimately charges were dropped against him for his role in the student walkouts, which drew national attention and are recognized as a significant moment in the civil rights movement for Latinos. In 2006, HBO produced the film “Walkout!” that focused on this historical event.
Sal Castro Middle School is located at 1575 W. 2nd St., Los Angeles, CA 90026. The school, dedicated in 2009, is on the site of Belmont High School, where Castro spent the last 30 years of his career guiding youth.