Symbols of Resistance
Publisher: The Freedom Archives
A Tribute to the Martyrs of the Chican@ Movement
Year Published: 2017
Resource Type: Film/Video
Cx Number: CX23041
The documentary looks at the history of the Chicano and Chicana Movement in the 1970's; with a focus on Colorado and Northern New Mexico it explores the struggle for land, the student movement and community struggles against police repression. Runtime: 75 min.
The framework of the documentary challenges the criminalization of immigration by emphasizing the history of the U.S. expansion and occupation of northern Mexico during the Mexican-American War (184648) when "the border crossed people." The film explains that, in the same era that saw the growth and development of the civil rights movement for African Americans, reassertion of Native American land rights, and demands for an end to U.S. colonialism in Puerto Rico, the Chican@ movement rose up to challenge racial discrimination and exploitation, and to strongly oppose the war in Viet Nam and the disproportionate assignment of people of color to the front lines while not accepting them as full citizens once they returned.
The film represents an important component of the Chican@ struggle that is often not well understood -that the movement was not limited to organizing agricultural workers. It shows how conflicts with government included resisting unprovoked police violence in urban areas, and many protests against systemic language discrimination, judicial discrimination, disproportionate imprisonment, and the lack of educational and employment opportunities. These rising community and student movements were targeted by the infamous COINTELPRO (Counter intelligence program) of the FBI, working in tandem with other local, state, and federal agencies.
Rather than limiting the distribution of Symbols of Resistance solely to the normal documentary festival circuit, we will use it to stimulate learning about the Chican@ movement and its roots in human rights history. It recognizes young people who organized for the first time, and who, in some cases, sacrificed their lives for their commitment to liberation. As an organizing tool, the documentary will deepen people's understanding of the roots of struggle and highlight how this history can inform and strengthen current organizing efforts and movement building. We will also create a curriculum to accompany and extend the impact of the film. The curriculum will highlight the relevance of the history documented in the film to present-day struggles for justice - for immigrant rights, and against the ongoing repression of ICE raids, detention, and mass deportations.