Social Movements

Ricardo Falcón was killed on August 30, 1972, at a gas station along a lonely stretch of highway in southern New Mexico. The twenty-seven–year-old activist was caravanning to El Paso for a convention of the La Raza Unida Party (LRUP). When the group pulled over to cool a broken radiator, Perry Brunson, the white owner of the station, insisted they pay for water. An argument ensued, and Brunson shot Falcón twice. According   to Falcón’s colleagues, locals refused medical help or the use of a telephone (Castro 1972). Brunson, later discovered to belong to the segregationist American Independent Party, was released from jail without bail. In December 1972, he was acquitted of manslaughter (E. Vigil 1999).

Falcón’s death is the sort of event that sometimes sparks a wave of protests  and  launches  a  movement. His didn’t. Activists with LRUP organized press conferences and filed legal motions, but Falcón’s murder went ignored …

This essay may be found on page 200 of the printed volume.

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