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A demonstrator of the brown berets (L) (1968); a young woman demonstrates in favor of tougher laws on gun control (2018)
A demonstrator of the brown berets (L) (1968); a young woman demonstrates in favor of tougher laws on gun control (2018)

From the Brown Berets to the #NeverAgain Movement

The student force that can change the destiny of an entire country.

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Fifty years ago, a student revolution changed the future of the Mexican community in the United States. Today, thousands of teenagers expect to do the same with the entire nation.

Although in half a century the conditions of the United States have radically changed, the seed of social activism remains underlying in the collective consciousness, which knows very well the power of a single voice united in protest.

During the sunny afternoon of a Tuesday, March 5, 1968, a new Mexican Revolution began in East Los Angeles, when hundreds of students decided to leave their classrooms and go out to demonstrate against segregation, exclusion and lack of opportunities in schools and for Hispanic American students in the United States.

Although the Mexican community had previously been involved in the wave of civil rights movements throughout the country, this new turmoil was the first massive demonstration by the Chicano community in Southern California.

Names such as Moctesuma Esparza, Vickie Castro, and David Sánchez went down in history for the organization of groups such as the Young Chicanos For Community Action and the Boinas Cafés (Brown Berets), but especially for having started a movement that opened the doors of new professional opportunities to the Hispanic community.

A new revolution

After the mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland (Florida) on February 14, something similar has happened: hundreds of students have decided to take to the streets and new media platforms to confront the government and its representatives, requesting a radical change in the arms control legislation.

Emma Gonzalez, Jaclyn Corin and David Hogg, students and survivors of the shooting in Florida, have challenged the status quo of current American society, which seems to have forgotten that the real strength of civil movements lies in their perseverance.

With the #NeverAgain movement and the organization of a national march this March 24, these students have contemporized the concept of the "Walkout" using a much more powerful weapon: social media.

In just one week, these teenagers managed to sit down and discuss with their legal representatives, organize their community and local groups in other states, and mobilize the conscience of an entire nation that will join them on the #MarchForOurLives demonstration.

Moreover, these young people have warned of the power they will have when they turn 18 and be able to vote, thus achieving that a president as stubborn as Donald Trump, could consider progressive measures regarding the bearing of arms.

A foretold battle

Many of us dared to warn - from the trenches of history - that a presidency like Trump's would bring a civil awakening that would concatenate the strength of movements like the Black Lives Matter with the true American spirit, that which cries out for inclusion and heterogeneity in a country founded and built by immigrants.

It didn’t take many months to see our predictions come true.

And, as Amnesty International well explained in its annual report of the Observatory of Human Rights, the most important achievement of this Administration has been to bring out the civil force that is still latent in our country.

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