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Based on a true story, student activist and Mexican-American Paula Crisostomo (Vega), tired of being treated unequally, decides to take action and stage a walkout at five East Los Angeles high schools in 1968, to protest educational conditions and complain of anti-Mexican educational bias along with some 10,000 students. Paula Crisostomo (now Romo) is not Mexican- American--she is Filipina-American. She and her husband, then boyfriend were roommates of mine in college. We are very good friends and I see her often. Written by
"Walkout" tells the story of the students in Los Angeles high schools in 1968, who stage a boycott of their schools in order to improve the quality of education for Chicanos. The film was skillfully directed by Edward James Olmos, who presents the story in a simple, direct way. There was an especially frank portrayal of the unacceptable educational standards in the schools attended by the young Chicano students.
The focal point of the story is the character Paula Crisostomo, an exceptional student, who risked her graduation to participate in the Lincoln High School walkout. A dedicated high school history teacher, Sal Castro, was instrumental in instilling idealism in his students, which resulted in their united efforts for a peaceful protest.
The film captured the passion of Paula in an emotionally-charged relationship with her parents, who strongly resist, but slowly come to understand, their daughter's activism. The entire cast, especially the young performers playing the students, was convincing as an effective ensemble in this fine film.
"Walkout" is another outstanding HBO project that tackles an important subject and provides an exceptionally high-caliber film. From 1968 to 1969, there was a substantial increase in enrollments of Chicano students in American universities, and this change was due to the consciousness raised by people like Paula Crisostomo and her teacher Sal Castro. In this film, Olmos and a superb cast deliver an important reminder about how a small group of young, passionate individuals have the potential to truly make a difference in their world.
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