In 1968, thousands of students participated in a series of protests that helped spark the Chicano Movement, it’s historically known as the East L.A. Walkouts (or Blowouts).

Bobby Verdugo and Yoli Ríos were both seniors at Lincoln High School in Lincoln Heights, one of Los Angeles’ oldest and heavily Mexican-American neighborhoods. Together, they experienced educational injustices that were common in many of the Eastside public schools at the time, like corporal punishment and a high dropout rate—close to 40 percent at Lincoln High. Students knew it was time for a change, and they knew they had to do something big.

With the help of a history teacher and college students, the Eastside high school students organized walkouts, or student protests, throughout their neighborhoods. Meanwhile, Bobby and Yoli were hitting new milestones in their relationship that would mark the beginning of a 50-year love story.

Images courtesy of Bobby Verdugo and Yoli Ríos. 

Thee Midniters music courtesy of Jimmy Espinoza.

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