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RIP Sal Castro, Educator & Chicano Civil Rights Leader

Educator and civil rights leader Salvador B. Castro passed away at his home in Los Angeles, California, on April 15 due to complications with thyroid cancer. He was 79 years old.

Castro, who was born in the Boyle Heights section of Los Angeles in 1933, lived a storied life. His work shaped California history and touched the lives of thousands.

Soon after he was born, Castro’s father was forcefully returned to Mexico as part of the United States’ Mexican Repatriation Program. He would attend his first years of school in Mazatlán, Sinaloa.

Upon returning in the second grade, Castro faced racial discrimination at the hands of teachers who ridiculed him for not speaking English.

“I started thinking, these teachers … should be able to understand me,” he said in a 1988 interview with the LA Times. “I didn’t think I was dumb — I thought they were dumb.”

As a child, Mr. Castro witnessed the Zoot Suit Riots of 1943, an event he often mentioned in speeches.

Castro single-handedly transformed the lives of thousands, founding the Chicano Youth Leadership Conference in 1963 and spearheading the East LA Blowouts of 1968.

Sal Castro’s legacy as an educator and activist will live on for generations. And deservedly so. ¡Viva Sal Castro!

A funeral mass has been scheduled for 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, April 25, at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. For more information, visit the CLYLP.

Image via the Sal Castro Facebook page.

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