This past weekend’s 40th anniversary of the Chicano Moratorium in East Los Angeles saw many people stop by a plaque honoring slain newsman Ruben Salazar, who was killed during the Vietnam War-era demonstration after being hit by a tear gas canister. But some of the people who came to view the plaque on Whittier Boulevard were angered to see that the original marker had been removed and replaced with a new version, reports EGP News. A similar plaque in memory of Angel Gilbert Diaz (pictured below) was also replaced with a new version. The new markers included the names of a Boyle Heights sporting goods store and an East Los Angeles gravestone maker that helped pay for the new plaques. Some activists covered up the sponsors’ names with black tape and confronted the business owners over what they viewed as an insulting commercialization of the plaque. The paper reported:
Concerned residents told EGP they were organizing to demand the original plaque — put up eight years ago after much strife — be returned. The original plaque in large font simply read, “Ruben Salazar, March 3, 1928 – August 29, 1970.”
Chicano activist Axayacatzin “Xihuan” Montalvo said it was his idea to replace the old plaques – which had been vandalized – with new versions. He told EGP News that a new set of plaques with the original wording will be installed within two weeks.
Photo by Aurelio José Barrera