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Leader of Mexican-American student protest to speak
Campus celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month

Sept. 25, 2007
By Eva Simeone

In March 1968, then-17-year-old Paula Crisostomo led the largest high school student protest in the nation's history. Next Tuesday, she will visit Ohio University campus to discuss it and much, much more. 

Paula Crisostomos photo courtesy of the Lavin Agency.Crisostomo will speak at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 2, in the Baker University Center Theatre. Her speech, "Walkout: The Struggle for Equality in Education," is the keynote address in Ohio University's celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month. 

Crisostomo is recognized as one of the leaders of the East Los Angeles Chicano high school walkout, which inspired the 2006 HBO movie, "Walkout." The movie was directed by Oscar-nominated actor Edward James Olmos.

The walkout took place in March 1968 and involved Mexican-American students from five East Los Angeles high schools who walked out of their classes to protest the substandard quality of their education. Within two weeks, more than 20,000 high school students in the city walked out of their high schools in support of the protesters. It was the first major mass protest against racism by Mexican-Americans.

"Paula's message will encourage students to act when they observe injustice in their everyday lives," said Ohio University Director of Multicultural Programs Linda Daniels. 

In addition to sharing her story in speaking engagements around the country, Crisostomo serves as director of government and community relations at Occidental College in Los Angeles.

"The goal of the Latino Student Union is to be a proactive organization speaking about culture and education, and the keynote address will do exactly that," said Ashley Diaz, president of Ohio University's Latino Student Union, a sponsor of Hispanic Month activities. "Ms. Crisostomo is here to educate us and bring her cultural experience to people on campus."

National Hispanic Heritage Month is held each year from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, a period that includes the independence days of numerous Latin American countries. It became a nationally recognized month in 1988 and is intended to draw attention to the achievements and contributions of Hispanic Americans.

Other Ohio University Hispanic Heritage Month activities include a showing of "Walkout" and "A Taste of Latin Culture," an event offering samples of Latino foods.

"Walkout" will be shown at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 26, in Baker University Center 240. "A Taste of Latin Culture" will take place from 5 to 7 p.m., Monday, Oct. 15, in Baker University Center's Multicultural Center. Both events are free and open to the public. 

National Hispanic Heritage Month kicked off with a Sept. 17 concert and reception featuring Yumbambe Sextet, a Latino salsa and jazz band. 

Sponsors for the observance's events include the Latino Student Union, the Office of Multicultural Programs, the Multicultural Center and the Black Student Cultural Programming Board.

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Published: Jul 20, 2006 3:50:00 PM
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