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Whittier Blvd. 8/29/70

march in the street

Fists pump
signs into the air

Batons club back
protesting arms

Hands hurl bottles
and stones at official prejudice

Tear gas canisters
explode in bar windows

We can see it
all on TV

My father says
he has to go there

We cry we love him
as he opens the door

Because he wears the brown
Sheriff’s jump suit

We wonder if we will
ever hold him alive again

But his name is not Ruben Salazar
so he lives to see an undeclared war end

About Ruben Salazar:

Ruben Salazar
Ruben Salazar

Ruben Salazar was a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, the first Mexican-American journalist from mainstream media to cover the Chicano community.

Salazar died during the National Chicano Moratorium March against the Vietnam War on August 29, 1970, in East Los Angeles, California. An investigation determined that his death was accidental, after Salazar was struck by a tear-gas projectile fired by a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputy. No criminal charge was filed, but Salazar’s family reached an out-of- court financial settlement with the county.

About The Author:

Don Kingfisher Campbell, MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University Los Angeles, has been a coach and judge for California Poetry Out Loud, a performing poet/teacher for Red Hen Press Youth Writing Workshops, Los Angeles Area Coordinator and Board Member of California Poets In The Schools, poetry editor of the Angel City Review, publisher of Spectrum and the San Gabriel Valley Poetry Quarterly, leader of the Emerging Urban Poets writing and Deep Critique workshops, organizer of the San Gabriel Valley Poetry Festival, and host of the Saturday Afternoon Poetry reading series in Pasadena, California. For awards, features, and publication credits, please go to: http://dkc1031.blogspot.com

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Published inPoetry


  1. Russell MacClaren Russell MacClaren

    Poem starts out very nicely, but it has a strange way of backing into the death of Ruben Salazar since the man was never mentioned before the last couplet.

  2. Jamie Jamie

    I’m not very familiar with these protests but from similar reasoned protests in other areas, I’m sure it was a horrifying site. Many lives lost during that time, no doubt.

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