A Mexican American cultural figure and one of the catalysts of the Chicano movement will be the featured speakers when the Latino Education and Advocacy Days Summit XI convenes at Cal State San Bernardino on Thursday, March 26.
Richard Anthony Marin, better known as Cheech Marin, the honorary chair/padrino de honor, is the morning featured speaker, and Rosalío Muñoz, chiefly remembered as the co-chair of the Chicano Moratorium Committee, an anti-war movement that played a pivotal role in shaping one of Chicana/o history’s defining moments, will deliver the afternoon keynote address.
The theme for the 11th annual summit, free and open to the public, is “Movimiento y Compromiso: 50 Years of Challenges, Possibilities, and the Quest for Educational Equity.” The summit panels and speakers will revisit and commemorate social movements from the last 50 years, including the birth of Chicano-ethnic studies, the school walkouts/blowouts, bilingual education and the Chicano Moratorium.
Registration is currently open and may be done online at the LEAD Summit XI website at https://www.csusb.edu/lead-summit. LEAD Summit XI will take place from 8 a.m. to about 3 p.m. at the university’s Santos Manuel Student Union.
Morning Session Featured Speaker, Cheech Marin
Marin will speak on “The Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art, Culture & Industry” at about 10 a.m.
He is probably best known as half of the comedic “irreverent, satirical, counter-culture no-holds-barred duo of Cheech and Chong,” as his website states. But he also is an actor, director, writer, musician, art collector and humanitarian.
Born in South Central Los Angeles, Marin met Tommy Chong in Vancouver, British Columbia. Once they moved back to Los Angeles, the duo rocketed into fame, with six of their albums going gold, four of them nominated for Grammys, with the album “Los Cochinos” awarded the 1973 Grammy for Best Comedy Recording. They also appeared in eight feature films.
Marin appeared his own work, written and directed by him, “Born in East L.A.” in 1987. He also appeared on TV, including the crime drama “Nash Bridges” with Don Johnson from 1996-2001, as well as the voice of several animated film characters, including Ramone in “Cars” and Banzai in “The Lion King.”
Off screen, Marin is known as a strong advocate for Chicano art, and began developing his collection in the mid-1980s, according to his website bio. “Much of it formed the core of his inaugural exhibition Chicano Visions: American Painters on the Verge, which broke attendance records during its groundbreaking 15‐city tour during 2001‐2007 to major art museums across the United States,” the website says. “He states, ‘Chicano art is American art. My goal is to bring the term “Chicano” to the forefront of the art world.’”
The portions of his collection have toured more than 50 major art museums in the United States and Europe. In the Inland Empire, Marin has entered into “a partnership with the city of Riverside and the Riverside Art Museum to create the Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art, Culture and Industry (aka ‘The Cheech’),” Marin’s website says. “Slated to open in 2021, The Cheech will become the permanent home for his more than 700 works of Chicano art, including paintings, sculptures, and photography; collectively, the most renowned Chicano art collection in the United States.”
Afternoon Session Featured Speaker, Rosalio Muñoz
Muñoz will speak on “Social Justice at Home: the Chicano Moratorium and the Power of Protest” at about 1:25 p.m.
A native of Los Angeles’ Highland Park, Muñoz is a descendant of an accomplished family of educators and Methodist ministers. His father, Dr. Rosalío F. Muñoz, was one of the first Mexican-Americans to receive a U.S. doctoral degree. Traveling to Mexico on a family trip catalyzed the younger Rosalío Muñoz’s political awakening while he was still in his teens.
When he returned to the states, Muñoz was elected student class president at Franklin High School. Later as an undergraduate student at UCLA, Muñoz was elected the first Chicano student body president in 1968. He and his older brother, retired Judge Ricardo Muñoz, were among the first students from East LA to attend the campus in LA’s Westwood. He served as the co-chair of the Chicano Moratorium Committee, an anti-war movement that played a pivotal role in shaping one of Chicana/o history’s defining moments.
On Aug. 29, 1970, nearly 30,000 marchers gathered in Laguna Park, located in East LA, to protest the high death tolls of Mexican-American servicemen in Vietnam. Three demonstrators died that day and countless others were injured. Los Angeles Times columnist and activist Ruben Salazar was among the causalities. While this event had a tragic ending due to police abuse – which was a microcosm of the macro military abuse – that grave injustice spurred a giant political awakening in the U.S. Mexican-American community. A year earlier, in 1969, Muñoz, in collaboration with Ramsés Noreiga, had begun to raise community consciousness by creating the crusade and 12-minute documentary “Chale con el Draft (to Hell with the Draft)” that assisted Chicanos seek deferment or resist the Vietnam War draft. On Mexican Independence Day, Sept. 16, 1970, Muñoz refused induction into the army and was indicted for draft refusal.
In 1972, Muñoz was acquitted of draft evasion. In 1978, Muñoz ran for a seat on the five-member Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors as a representative of the county’s Third District. Although Muñoz did not win, he did ultimately increase Chicano electoral representation in Los Angeles by the mere act of running during an exceedingly thorny time. Muñoz has been a long-time committed member of the Communist Party of USA. He began writing for their newspaper, People’s World, in 1981. From the 1980s-1990s, Muñoz served as an educator in Marxist-Leninism for the Instituto del Pueblo, an East LA-based community action center.
As a community organizer, Muñoz has made invaluable contributions to various causes, some of which include anti-war activism, electoral politics, healthcare, housing, immigration reform and labor unionizing. He has served as the coordinator for Latinos for Peace among other leadership roles. His recent organizing efforts include greatly influencing Latinas and Latinos to vote for Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential election. He continues to educate the youth through activities such as conducting interviews with Young Theatreworks. He still makes guest appearances for public events such as the 40th Anniversary of the Chicano Moratorium at the Plaza Olvera Mexican American Institute in downtown Los Angeles.