I, too, as did Frank del Olmo, remembered the anniversary of Ruben Salazar's death on Aug. 29. It led me to reflect on where I was that day--running down Whittier Boulevard in East Los Angeles, away from the tear gas and the police sweep that culminated the largest anti-war demonstration held in the Latino community, which had remained silent for so long. I view Salazar not as a martyr for La Causa but another victim of it.
Little change has actually occurred in the barrio. For instance, the level of poverty and unemployment remains the same if not higher, notwithstanding the increase in the number of Spanish-surnamed college graduates or professionals.
While there may be an increase in the number of Chicanos graduating from the still overcrowded high schools, those numbers merely reflect the increase in the student body enrollment. Latinos still have the highest dropout rate, one that dramatically surpasses other minorities.
The fact that conditions are obviously deteriorating is poignantly clear as evidenced in the retrenchment in social services programs and the Justice Department's assault on affirmative action. The war on poverty has become the war on the poor.