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The Avena-Wilson Collection, no. 11 - MAYO March for Alfonso Flores (1971)

Richard Avena, Linda Wilson, Rebecca Avena

Silent | 1971

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  •  Police brutality against Mexican Americans “smacks of genocide,” MAYO Executive Director Carlos Guerra told the United Press International, “and we are standing up to make sure that our feelings are understood and that we will not stand for police murders anymore where the shooting of people takes place without justice.” 
  •  Following the quiet rally, protesters also conducted a selective boycott of certain Pharr merchants opposed to MAYO and the farm union. 
 
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This home movie captures a march organized by the Mexican-American Youth Organization (MAYO) and the United Farm Workers Organizing Committee to protest police brutality against Mexican Americans in South Texas. Held in Pharr on March 7, 1971, the event also memorialized Alfonso Laredo Flores, a victim of the Pharr Police Riot. On February 6, 1971, a protest took place outside of Pharr City Hall in response to the persistence of residential and school segregation as well as charges of police brutality against Mexican Americans. Police fired on the protesters after the latter began to throw rocks, and Flores, a 20-year-old bystander, became the only casualty. MAYO Executive Director Carlos Guerra, who organized the march, is seen in this footage speaking from the back of a truck. Following are scenes of peaceful demonstrators wearing black armbands and walking solemnly through the streets of Pharr. According to news reports, the march began at the Shrine of the Virgin of San Juan Catholic Church at San Juan, passed by the Pharr police station, and ended with a funeral mass and quiet rally at the Guadalupe Cemetery. Observers estimated that the somber protest grew to include about 3,000 people.