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The Avena-Wilson Collection, no. 8 - MAYO in Del Rio (1969)

Richard Avena, Linda Wilson, Rebecca Avena

Silent | 1969

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  •  MAYO Leader Raúl Ruiz 
  •  MAYO Founder José Angel Gutiérrez 
  •  Judge Albert A. Peña 
 
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This home movie captures scenes of a rally and protest organized by the Mexican American Youth Organization (MAYO) in Del Rio, Texas in March of 1969. This event, attended by approximately 3,000 residents of South Texas, occurred in reaction to Governor Preston Smith shutting down the Val Verde County arm of Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA), a volunteer program that created and worked with the Minority Mobilization Program (MMP). MMP provided opportunities for Mexican-Americans to participate in community organizing within their own communities. After VISTA and MMP volunteers supported a school walkout organized by MAYO in Hidalgo County, Governor Smith canceled the program. That incident, coupled with escalating police brutality against Mexican-Americans and a proposed amendment to the Texas Constitution to put a cap on welfare assistance gave cause for MAYO to organize this large demonstration in Del Rio. MAYO produced the Del Rio Manifesto for the rally, an early document of militant Chicano nationalism, and nailed it to the Val Verde County Courthouse door before continuing the march. The Del Rio Manifesto accused Governor Smith and local government officials of shutting down the Val Verde VISTA program because “nervous power-wielders [saw] the growing assertiveness of the poor served by VISTA Mexican Americans as a threat to their traditional supremacy.” MAYO founder José Angel Gutiérrez and San Antonio Judge Albert A. Peña can be seen speaking at the rally.