Map of California

In what is referred to as the Los Angeles Blowouts, thousands of Chicano High School students walk out of their classrooms in protest of poor school conditions.

A Chicano moratorium is held in Los Angeles to protest the disproportionate amount of Latino casualties in the Vietnam War. Approximately 25,000 demonstrators participate. Three Chicanos, including well-known Mexican American journalist Ruben Salazar, are killed when the police break up the demonstration.

Five Latinos serving in the state legislature establish the Chicano Legislative Caucus to foster the political empowerment of Latinos in California by developing legislative priorities that protect their rights.

A group of Chicana/Latina women establish the Mujeres Activas En Letras Y Cambio Social (MALCS) organization at the University of California Davis campus. The organization aims to support and promote education about the issues of Chicana/Latina and Native American women. Congress passes the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA). The act establishes a process for undocumented migrants who have been in the United States since January 1, 1982, to become legal citizens. Latinos living in California are able to take advantage of this legislation by establishing legal residency.

California voters pass Proposition 63, declaring English the official language of California.

On June 15, 400 janitors, many of whom are Latino migrants, go on strike for improved wages and benefits in the Century City area of Los Angeles. They are attacked by the Los Angeles Police Department during a peaceful demonstration, and 24 janitors are injured. This event leads to the establishment of Justice for Janitors Day, organized by Justice for Janitors, a section of the Service Employees International Union.

The census reveals that Latinos make up over 25 percent of the Californian population.

Activist Cesar Chavez dies. His funeral becomes the most widely attended Mexican American political demonstration.

On November 8, Proposition 187 is passed. The proposition bans undocumented migrants from receiving public education and public benefits and makes it a felony to sell, distribute, or use false citizenship or residence documents. It also requires teachers, doctors, and state officials to report suspected undocumented migrants to the INS. The U.S. District Court rules the proposition unconstitutional in September 1999.

In October, Operation Gatekeeper, a border enforcement strategy aimed at deterring illegal migration around the San Diego-Tijuana border, is enacted. As security is reinforced through an increase in border patrol agents, modern technology, and the building of reinforced fences, undocumented migrants are forced to cross through more desolate areas, increasing risk of death.

The University of California Regents vote to end affirmative action, affecting the lives of thousands of Latinos in higher education. California voters pass Proposition 209, an initiative that bans preferential treatment based on race or gender in all state and local public programs.

Proposition 227 is passed by California voters.


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