CRYSTAL CITY 1969, a play written by David Lozano & Raul Treviño, commemorates the 40th Anniversary of the historic student walkout in Crystal City, Texas. The project is based on the true story of Mexican American students who walked out of school and into Chicano civil rights history.

Students demanded that they be treated equally without prejudice. They wanted what many teenage students in 1969 wanted - an opportunity to become a cheerleader, the homecoming queen, a varsity athlete, or the school's most popular, most handsome, or other high school honors. However, these recognitions were almost exclusively reserved for non-Hispanic students.

Crystal City High School was like many schools in Texas and the Southwest during the 1960's. Spanish was prohibited anywhere on campus including the hallways and cafeteria and punishment was often severe. Students were spanked, slapped, and humiliated for speaking their maternal language.

Mexican and Chicano children were also discouraged from aspiring to attend university and have careers uncommon for Hispanics at the time. When a Chicana child told a high-school counselor that she wished to be a doctor, she was often told that she should aspire to be a nurse instead. When a Chicano said he wished to be a lawyer, he was told he should plan on being a farm-worker or a janitor. These students were rarely encouraged to be business owners, landowners or educated professionals such as lawyers and doctors. In 1969, as it was for decades, the Crystal City educational system perpetuated a society in which Mexicans and Chicanos were trained to be the serving class.

On December 9, 1969, student leaders Severita Lara, Diana Serna, and Mario Treviño led a walkout that drastically changed Crystal City's future. With the guidance of a 23-year old political mastermind from Crystal City, José Angel Gutiérrez, the walkout gained national attention as people from around the United States arrived at this small Texas town to support the effort. Meanwhile, the three high school teenagers tactfully negotiated with the local School Board for three weeks until their demands for better treatment were met.

The immediate gains from the walkout were modest at first but the experience inspired a town in which 85% of the population was Mexican and Chicano. In the spring of 1970, 16 posts on the city council and the school board were up for election and Chicanos were voted to 15 of the positions. Crystal City became an example of American democracy at its best.

STAGE

Director: David Lozano
Assistant Director: Frida Espinosa Müller
Written by: David Lozano & Raul Treviño

Set Design: Kenneth Verdugo
Costume Design: Marianne Newsom
Lighting Design: Heath Gage
Masks & Puppetry: Frida Espinosa Müller

Company: Cara Mia Theater Company

SCREEN

Steadicam: Fabián Aguirre
Camera: Adolfo Cantú-Villarreal
DIT: Ricky Espinosa
Sound: Ivan Cantú-Villarreal

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