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Student movements, Chicano/a, 1960s–2000s

Alexandro José Gradilla


Chicana and Chicano student social movements from the 1960s through the early twenty-first century share many common themes, techniques, and strategies. Key goals have been gaining recognition or acknowledgment, and redefining or self-naming their identity. Chicana and Chicano youth for over forty years have been fighting for social justice in the daily spheres of their lives: schools and communities. These student movements have attempted to bridge both institutional spaces. A significant backdrop is the persistent negative conditions in education–high drop-out (push-out) rates and lack of access to higher education. Mexican American politics and political organizing began with key political moments in the 1920s through the post-World War II era which coincided with the rise of the civil rights movement. The primary orientation of these activists followed the spirit of the times which was marked by fears of being labeled “communist” or “subversive.” Major Mexican American youth and student organizations were mainly church-based Christian organizations such as neighborhood chapters of the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) and the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO). Assisted by the members of the YMCA, young Mexican Americans created the Mexican American Movement, a student organization which maintained its church-based affiliation. Hence the organizers and groups aspired to ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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