Compañero Raul Ruiz – ¡Presente!

A recently published article of mine focuses on the rise of the Chicana/o movement press and includes brief descriptions of the contributions of Arnulfo Casillas, Magdalena Mora, and Raul Ruiz. I shared a draft version of the article with Raul, and was waiting for his feedback when I heard of his passing on June 13th. This is the section about compa Raul Ruiz (The full article is linked above.):

One of the original hombres orquestra (‘One-man band’) of the movement, Raul Ruiz was a student activist who became a movimiento photographer, political leader, scholar, and one of the most influential figures in Chicana/o movement journalism (Garcia, 2015). While he was a student at California State University Los Angeles, Raul was initiated into the Chicano Movement off campus, in the barrios of East LA, where he played a key role in the founding of several key community publications. In 1967 and 1968 Ruiz co-founded Inside Eastside and Chicano Student Movement, two of the earliest publications of the Chicana/o Press, and both central to the high school student walkouts of 1968. He was also editor of another important Los Angeles publication, La Raza magazine, and was among the original founders of the Chicano Press Association. Some of the most compelling images of the movimiento were collected by Raul Ruiz, particularly his photographs that documented the police violence that was unleashed against the August 29, 1970 Chicano Moratorium march in East Los Angeles. As a Chicana/o Journalism professor at CSU Northridge, Ruiz helped establish El Popo in 1970…

Each of these movimiento journalists [Casillas, Mora, Ruiz] left their mark on future generations of activists. Arnulfo Casillas and Magdalena Mora passed away very young, although by the time of their deaths they had already won the admiration of many of the most recognised public figures of the Chicana/o movement. Decades later, Raul Ruiz was asked to reflect on his life’s work, including his experiences as a movimiento journalist (Garcia, 2015: 110):

‘As I look back on the movement, I recognize its contributions and its drawbacks. For me, as a movement journalist, one of the biggest contributions was the movement newspapers. They… helped create a new consciousness among Chicanos, as well as provide attention to a group that the mainstream media had mostly ignored… What the Chicano newspapers did was to legitimate the movement… and to link the movement in different regions together. Through the movement papers, activists imagined a community. These newspapers are still important because they contain the history of the movement… They serve as an invaluable tool for historians. It’s a shame that they don’t seem to be utilized very much.’

Raul was a friend and someone I admired for many years. I was introduced to Raul Ruiz by another person I considered a compa, mentor, and friend, Ernesto Bustillos. In fact, Raul and Neto were distant relatives, in addition to being friends and movimiento collaborators.

Compañero Raul Ruiz – ¡Presente!

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