Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Olmos Directs "Walkout"

On a recent hot Sunday afternoon, a thousand people swarmed the steps of Los Angeles City Hall, chanting "Chicano power!" and carrying hand-lettered signs reading "Viva la raza" and "Viva la causa." Among them were militant Black Panthers and Brown Berets.

They were re-enacting a piece of Los Angeles history - one that, at the time, news accounts underreported and now school texts barely acknowledge - for director Edward James Olmos' HBO film Walkout.

The film, airing next year, aims to capture the frustration, the anger and, ultimately, the burst of brown power that gave rise to and followed the 1968 Chicano student walkouts. And while it looks at the past, it may draw attention to the present and future regarding the continuing high dropout rate and other problems plaguing Latino students today.

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