Quality schooling is critical, and Latinos have always strived to gain this equality in order to meet their cultural desires. Latinos have fought for distinct education rights and opportunities by advocating through means of protest, social organizations, and more.Latinos faced intense prejudices, prejudices they shouldn’t have gone through, but these prejudices were ultimately critical to push-start their stance in fighting for equality.
The discrimination Latinos endured during their fight to end segregation within the public school system was profound. The Lemon Grove Incident was an immense kick-start to this remarkable journey that was the fight for equity, and therefore showcased the first sparks of discrimination within Latinos in public schooling. The Lemon Grove Incident was the United States’ primarily recognized court-ordered school desegregation case. The school board had attempted to separate and force Mexican-American children into segregated schools. The Lemon Grove parents were enraged, and knew they had to take a stand and took their efforts to the Mexican consulate. Legal struggles were defiant, and involved many children of Mexican descent who were forced to attend a segregated school.
Continuing on into the 20th century came the Mendez v Westminster case, a case where 9-year-old Sylvia Mendez and her 2 brothers were denied enrollment in the "white elementary" because they were dark-skinned, as opposed to their cousins, who were light-skinned. Such discrimination pushed Sylvia's parents and others into suing the school district. Their main claim behind such action was that they believed their children were victims of unconstitutional discrimination. Furthermore, this lawsuit became successful in putting an end to de jure segregation in California schools. Mendez v Westminster turned out to be one of those noteworthy, widely-known civil rights case that assisted in outlawing almost 100 years of segregation in California.
In 1954, the Hernandez v Texas court case ruled that the Fourteenth Amendment guaranteed equal protection to all racial groups, not just Blacks and Whites. Although students were now technically protected from de jure discrimination by the government, they still experienced de facto discrimination in the practicing of racism and prejudice from their administrators and peers. They also lacked proper educational rights for their necessities. Their necessities included an expanded curriculum, more culture-relevant courses, more Latino/a teachers, removing the ban on Spanish-speaking in school, and more. In result, students didn't want to be discouraged and discriminated anymore. Such frustration sparked a grand Chicano Movement amongst the youth, mainly high school and college students. The oppressive conditions in which they resided in brought upon the aspirations to join other activists and become voices in their community. They decided that making their demands public would further assist in pressuring the school board to acknowledge their pleads. In 1968, the walkouts or "blowouts" began. In March, more than 1,000 high school students in East Los Angeles marched out of their classrooms and into the streets with hopes in igniting a movement that would alter their unequal treatment in public schooling forever. The various protests, whether successful or not, demonstrated the high standard in which public education was held amongst Mexican-Americans. They strived for quality education, and they were willing to challenge those with dominance in order to get what they deserved. Each of these cases may have stood at local levels, most of the time, but were still significant in depicting the push for national exposure, and the beginning of a civil rights movement in the fight for equity.
-- Lupita Villareal