President Barack Obama recently awarded the Medal of Freedom to farm labor activist Dolores Huerta, who pioneered the United Farmworkers Movement with Cesar Chavez. Long before it was a campaign slogan, “Yes We Can” or “Si Se Puede” was a rallying cry for California’s embattled migrant laborers, who struggled for generations for dignity and rights on the job.
Their short film on Gilbert “Magu” Luján (recently deceased) looks at the urban side of activism in the Mexican American experience. Luján’s transportation installations have colored the cityscape with a fusion of American icons and indigenous folk visions. His borderless low-rider is truly “cultural vehicle”–classic So Cal.
Artist Wayne Healy, founder of the East Los Streetscapers public art studio, was part of the first generation of Chicano street muralists, bringing bold images of Latino life to the streets of East Los Angeles:
Whether they were marching, cruising, or painting in the streets, California was the birthplace of a cultural front, and their words and images moved history forward all the way to Washington.
These videos were directed by Pedro Pablo Celedón and produced by Barefoot Productions.