Las Brown Berets (2012, 2nd Ed)

Melanie Cervantes
20″ x 26″
3 – Color, Hand made Screenprint, Mohawk Archival Paper, Printed in Oakland, 2012
Second Edition

Two generations (1990s and 2000s) of Ch/Xicana members of the Watsonville Brown Berets are depicted as well as a central portrait of Hilda Reyes a member of the East L.A. chapter of the Berets (early 1970s). I created this piece because the leadership and contribution women make to radical organizations and movements is often eclipsed by male figures. This piece honors these amazing women.

Brown Berets are a barrio defense committee that emerged in the late 1960s. The Brown Berets focus on community organizing against police brutality and advocate for educational equity. The Brown Berets organized the National Chicano Moratorium in which close to 20,000 Chicanos marched and protested the high casualty rate of Chicanos in Vietnam and the military draft. This peaceful protest became chaotic when the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department decided to end the event by attacking attendees. Four Chicano activists were killed (two of them Brown Berets), Gustav Montag, Lyn Ward, José Diaz including journalist Rubén Salazar.