New mural pays homage to Lincoln Heights greats – BoulevardSentinel.com
By TA Hendrickson
The new mural in Los Angeles, by the artist Sergio Daniel Robleto, is undoubtedly the most inspiring.
Situated in Albion waterfront park in Lincoln Heights and titled “Champions of Change,” the mural depicts six people from Lincoln Heights who changed the world for the better.
“The Champions for Change mural is about the Eastside and the strength of these six people in uplifting the people around them,” said Gil Cedillo, CD 1 board member. murals that tell us and others about our history. “
From left to right on the mural, the six are:
Sal Castro (1933-2013): A longtime educator in LA schools, Castro was one of the main organizers of the 1968 walkouts in East LA, when thousands of Latino students protested against inequalities in education and called for better schools. A 34-year-old teacher at the time at Lincoln High School, Castro and 12 other organizers were arrested after the walkouts and charged with conspiracy. They were released amid protests calling for their release and ultimately exonerated. The walkouts, with Sal Castro in a leading role, are today recognized as defining events in the political history of Mexican Americans.
Ruth Vivian Acosta, from the 1957 Lincoln High School Class, has become a strong advocate for equity in women’s sport. Her writings on the subject – including the authoritative book “Title IX” – have been cited extensively in legal journals, Congress, and gender equality trials. Acosta has received numerous national awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletic Administrators and the Billie Jean King Award from the Women’s Sports Foundation.
Robert Ernie “Babo” Castillo (1955-2014): Castillo was a third baseman at Lincoln High School before becoming a major league pitcher. From 1977 to 1985, Castillo launched in 173 games for the Dodgers and 77 for the Minnesota Twins for a career ERA of 3.94. His best year was 1980, when he had a 2.75 ERA in 61 relief appearances for the Dodgers. In 1981 he played on the Dodgers World Series Championship team. Castillo also made baseball history as the man who taught Fernando Valenzuela how to throw a screwball.
Leo Santa Cruz: Born in Mexico and raised in Lincoln Heights, Santa Cruz is currently featherweight champion of the World Boxing Association, a title he adds to the world championships in three other weight classes, including bantamweight, super bantamweight and super featherweight. He is also a exemplary of the immigrant experience in Lincoln Heights, where despite family struggles to get by, he and his coaching father never gave up on work, plans and dreams, starting in Santa Cruz’s childhood, to become a boxing champion,
Kenneth S. Washington (1918-1971) A Lincoln High School, Washington star was the first African American to sign with a modern NFL team – the Los Angeles Rams – in 1946. Along the way, Washington attended UCLA, where he played both baseball and football, and, in 1939, became the first Consensus All-American in the history of UCLA’s football program. Lincoln High remembers its star alum every year at the Kenny Washington Memorial Game (which Lincoln won this year to win the Northern League Championship).
Paula crisostomo was a senior at Lincoln High School when she became the student leader of the 1968 walkouts in East LA. Sal Castro was his teacher and mentor. Crisostomo and his comrades initially tried to meet with the school board and other elected officials to change the dire conditions in Lincoln and other schools in the east, but their demands were turned down. Walkouts were a last resort. In a interview in 2018 Crisostomo recalled when the walkout began. “When I got up for the first time I thought, am I the only one leaving? When I turned around, there were students behind me, I opened the door and heard “Get out! And I… thought, ‘Okay, this is really happening.’ Over the next week and a half, more than 20,000 students joined the protests. In addition to his career in nonprofit organizations and college administration, Crisostomo helped found the Sal Castro Foundation, which promotes educational justice and leadership development for Latinx youth.
The Champions of Change mural was commissioned by the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, which invited three artists from its 2020 muralist list to submit designs. Robleto’s design was unanimously selected by a panel of members of the Lincoln Heights community, staff from the Bureau of Engineering, and recreation and parks staff.
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