Sal Castro, Eastside educator and Chicano activist was 79 *

SalCastrolausd.jpgCity News Service reports that Sal Castro, a high school social studies teacher who gained legend status on the Eastside for his mentoring of Chicano students, has reportedly died. City Councilman Jose Huizar posted on Twitter that Castro, a former teacher at both Belmont High and Lincoln High, "was an education warrior who fought for equal access & (opportunity) 4 Latino students – an honor 2 know him.” City Council candidate Gil Cedillo tweeted, "Today we lost a giant in the Chicano movement.” A middle school on the Belmont High campus was named after Castro in 2010.

From CNS:

Castro worked at various inner-city schools before landing a teaching job at Belmont High School, where he taught social studies. But his activism with Spanish-speaking students led to him being transferred to Lincoln High School in East Los Angeles.

He was part of a committee that made recommendations to the county about ways of improving education for Latino students, and began working with students whose meetings became the Chicano Youth Leadership Conferences, which trained Latino student activists and leaders.

Castro became increasingly active in his criticism of inequalities between East Los Angeles schools and other campuses. Unrest among activists and students led to walkouts – which were later dubbed “Blowouts” – that began in March 1968 with one school, then grew to include five campuses, including Lincoln, and Latino college students. The demonstrations eventually led to clashes between students and police.

Castro was arrested and charged with disrupting schools, although the charges were later dropped....

Castro’s work on behalf of inner-city schools and participation in the student marches was documented in the HBO film “Walkout,” directed by Edward James Olmos.

Added at 5:40 p.m.: Also on an OC Weekly blog: "The Chicano community lost a historic figure in the struggle for education rights today as Sal Castro died this morning at the age of 79."

* Statement from Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa:

Sal Castro was a courageous leader during the Los Angeles Chicano civil rights movement. He will always be remembered for his zeal and commitment to improving educational opportunities for everyone, regardless of race.

Today, we mourn the loss of a man who helped shape a part of the Los Angeles history. My thoughts and prayers are with his family at this difficult time.

Photo of Castro: LAUSD

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