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Rosalio Muñoz papers, 1938-2012
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Rosalío Muñoz is a Chicano journalist and activist who has been a longtime member of the Communist Party. As a student activist, Muñoz developed his leadership through serving as Student Class President of Franklin high school and later as UCLA’s first Chicano Student Body President. He is mostly remembered for spearheading the 1970 Chicano Moratorium Committee as Co-Chair. This collection covers his participation in the Communist Party, USA from the 1970s to present through materials such as self-authored People’s World articles, newsletters, notebooks, notes, and ephemera. The remaining collection historicizes various community organizing efforts from the 1960s-present such as Human Services Coalition, Justice for Janitors, and Latinos for Peace through photographs, correspondence, research materials, clippings, notes, and ephemera.
Born in Los Angeles, CA, Rosalío Muñoz is a Highland Park native and descendant of an accomplished family of educators and Methodist ministers. His father, Dr. Rosalío F. Muñoz, was one of the first Mexican-Americans to receive a U.S. doctoral degree. Traveling to Mexico on a family trip catalyzed Rosalío Muñoz’s political awakening while he was still in his teens. When he returned to the states, Muñoz was elected Student Class President at Franklin High School. Later as an undergraduate student, Muñoz was elected the first Chicano Student Body President in 1968. He and his older brother, retired Judge Ricardo Muñoz, were among the first students from East LA to attend UCLA. Muñoz is chiefly remembered as the Co-Chair of the Chicano Moratorium Committee, an anti-war movement which played a pivotal role in shaping one of Chicana/o history’s defining moments. On August 29, 1970, nearly 30,000 marchers gathered in Laguna Park, located in East L.A., to protest the high death tolls of Mexican-American servicemen in Vietnam. Three demonstrators died that day and countless others were injured. LA Times columnist and activist Ruben Salazar was among the causalities. While this event had a tragic ending due to police abuse—which was a microcosm of the macro military abuse—that grave injustice spurred a giant political awakening in the U.S. Mexican-American community. During the previous year, 1969, Muñoz, in collaboration with Ramsés Noreiga, had begun to raise community consciousness by creating the crusade and twelve-minute documentary “Chale con el Draft (to Hell with the Draft)” that assisted Chicanos seek deferment or resist the Vietnam War draft. On Mexican Independence Day, September 16, 1970, Muñoz refused induction into the army and was indicted for draft refusal. In 1972, Muñoz was acquitted of draft evasion. In 1978, Muñoz ran for the exclusive five-member L.A. Board of Supervisors as a representative of the Third District. The Board of Supervisors governs the sprawling metropolis. Although Muñoz did not win, he did ultimately increase Chicano electoral representation in Los Angeles by the mere act of running during an exceedingly thorny time. Muñoz has been a long time committed member of the Communist Party of USA. He began writing for their newspaper, People’s World, in 1981. From the 1980s-1990s, Muñoz served as an educator in Marxist-Leninism for the Instituto del Pueblo, an East L.A.-based community action center. As a community organizer, Muñoz has made invaluable contributions to various causes, some of which include anti-war activism, electoral politics, healthcare, housing, immigration reform, and labor unionizing. He has served as the Coordinator for Latinos for Peace among other leadership roles. His recent organizing efforts include greatly influencing Latinas and Latinos to vote for Obama during the 2008 presidential election. He continues to educate the youth through activities such as conducting interviews with Young Theatreworks. He still makes guest appearances for public events such as the 40th Anniversary of the Chicano Moratorium at the Plaza Olvera Mexican American Institute in downtown Los Angeles.
27.6 linear ft. (68 document boxes and 1 flat box)
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