August 29th is celebrated as Chicano Memorial Day.
It is the anniversary of the National Chicano Moratorium against the Vietnam War day of action, August 29th, 1970. Held in East Los Angeles, it was a march and rally against the Vietnam War, and the disproportionate amount of death of Amerikan troops in that war being Chicanos. At over 25,000 participants, it was one of the largest rallies against the imperialist Vietnam War, and the largest organized by non-white people.
The Los Angeles police violently attacked the march. It left several injured and three dead. Two were Brown Berets, Lyn Ward and Angel Diaz. The other was Ruben Salazar, a journalist who was not directly involved in the movement but brought Chicano issues into the mainstream through his position.
The film Requiem 29 is a film that shows raw footage, with no commentary, of several events around this period. It shows the march, the police tactics and brutality used to disperse the march, the city inquest into the death of Ruben Salazar, and interviews with Raul Ruiz, a reporter and editor with La Raza Magazine. One should but see it as a recording of this important time in history.
It begins with beautiful images from the march. Different groups including Brown Berets, signs from MAYO (Mexican American Youth Organization), signs proclaiming brown pride, nationalism, anti-imperialism. One banner with Che Guevara.
What this day represented was the realization of the Chicano nation, the beginning of a protracted national liberation struggle. The main reason it had to be crushed.
The inquest was more about slandering the Chicano Movement than getting to the bottom of Salazar’s death. One scene has the inquest ask Raul Ruiz about a protest sign mentioning Viva Che, clearly meant to redbait the movement.
This film should be viewed by all Chican@s and those who are on the side of national liberation of all oppressed people. Viewings should be planned on or around every August 29th.