Our Hero Has Transcended: We are Heartbroken

Bobby Verdugo Presente and Thank You for blessing us with your warrior spirit and love 💕 

Bobby Verdugo shared many of his stories of the 1968 Walkouts and lessons learned as an advocate for education and justice from a very young age. His ongoing advocacy and social justice journey has always been an inspiration for many who have been blessed by his friendship, and leadership, let’s stay true to his legacy and re-ignite that feeling of sadness, grief, and love for him with new energy to write the next chapter of this movement. 

Let’s challenge ourselves, alumni of many camps and movements to work to dream and arm our collective vision and love for just the world for all. 

We know more than ever how much harder we need to organize and also need to check in with younger generations about what it will take to bring this down. We need to download the lessons to the younger generations like Tata Bobby and Tata Sal did.

Our elders are transitioning and making moves to lead the way and spark in us more fire 🔥 otra vez.. ya se..no somos chamaquitos pero podemos armar más mitote 😜

As only Tio Bobby would do…he still leaves a reflection and challenge for us to follow and lead with. 

How are we going to use all these things we know and promises we made to ourselves and younger brothers and sisters in all those CYLC camps?

Se llevará con él las palabras y promesas? 

Those are all the memories and messages I reflected on, after I hanged up the phone with Mita Cuaron ✨ so I decided to share it more with all, not just a picture of him, and sad news but also tell you a little about who this great man is to many of us CYLC alumni and colegas.

Today Tio Bobby takes a vow, of course on this historic May Day 2020 for his last battle on earth 🌍 took place on May Day! 

What a day to stand and say Si se Pudo y ahora les toca a otros!

It’s also a day of regeneration and planting the seeds on the Mayan calendar.. What are those seeds he plants in us today? 

Thank you Uncle Bobby, you are now transcending and on your way to Mitlan with the big giants!

Hmmm, perhaps all these injustices and recent events were too much for your heart to witness and know Tío Bobby .. “he was like I’ll be a Ancestor and organize with the rest from el más allá because, we need warriors on all fronts” 😔✨✨✨

Descanse en paz, let us take it from here .. Prayers and blessings to his family and colleagues who are also feeling this moment with his lovely wife Yoli Rios and rest of the family.

In 1968 Bobby was only 17-years-old. A senior at Lincoln High School, a period in our history, where there was a lot going on just like today. Not only here in California or even in the United States but all around the world. 

There were a lot of movements, a lot of struggle for economic, educational, and social justice. It was the height of the Civil Rights Movement.

Some words from Tio Bobby himself 

“Naturally, as a kid, I had other things on my mind: just being a teenager, wanting to have fun, wanting to grow up, and have a good life. But at the same time, I was realizing that there was something missing in my life in terms of education. I always thought that I was a failure, because I wasn’t doing well as a senior. I thought I was going to get kicked out, and one of the other options was that I was going to drop out because my grades were really poor. I didn’t have a lot of confidence in myself, and I thought it was me as an individual and as a failure, but it was at that point that I realized that there were many others like me.

At my school, there was a fifty percent drop-out rate. So it couldn’t be just one individual or just a bunch of individuals. There has to be something wrong with the system. There had to be other things going on. And that’s when I realized it wasn’t me only that was failing, because I do take responsibility for my actions, but I also realized it was a school that was failing me. This problem wasn’t just at my school, it was happening at many of the schools on the EastSide of Los Angeles: Garfield High School; Roosevelt High School; Wilson High school; Belmont High School; and Lincoln High School. That’s what sparked my interest and that’s what got me involved as one of the organizers at Lincoln High School to meet and organize with other schools to try to make some change. We didn’t know exactly what we were going to do at that point, but we knew we had to stand up and walk out! “

Bobby Verdugo presente! 

You and Sal Castro can plot from the other side again. Me lo saluda y adelante del otro lado!

Descanse en paz!

 CYLC alumni 1991

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Maria Villamil

Maria Villamil

Maria Villamil is a Xicana Indigenous first generation daughter of Mexican and Zapotec parents. She is a single mother of two sons and daughter. She lives in San Gabriel Valley and attended LAUSD schools. In her most recent tenure at CADRE- Community Asset Development Re Defining Education-Maria served as the Director of Organizing & Practice, She co-led the development and practice of CADRE’s core parent organizing and transformational leadership development. She was responsible for the management of CADRE’S organizing team and core parent leaders. She also led with her organizing team in a daily collaborative practice and day-to-day implementation of curriculum development, appreciative inquiry, facilitation, self-reflection, and popular education in training and developing parent leaders. She has been involved in community transformation and organizing since her early years in high school. She has had the opportunity to work closely in community transformation and human development with many community leaders and organizations over the last two decades. Her personal experience in training on issues from school reform to race relations, community building across difference, organizing with marginalized youth and indigenous families does not compare to the living, breathing, and development of human transformation through her own personal practice and community relationships with others. Her belief in transformative leadership and social change in action is why she is passionate about working with parents, leaders, and community organizing. She is part of our team because one of her greatest passions is to organize intergenerational healing, Community wellness, and Education Justice in underrepresented communities. Maria believes that through community organizing, human advocacy, and transformational strategies, we can all transform and heal African American, Latino, and indigenous relationships to build better relationships and change in schools and Education Reform across Los angeles and State. Previous to her work at CADRE, She was one of the co-founding parents and organizers of Anahuacalmecac and Xinaxcalmecac, the first International Baccalaureate World Schools to be authorized in the City of Los Angeles. She was pivotal in leading a community-based group of parents and responsible for designing the parent engagement, leadership training, and organizing strategy plans for three charter school renewals in collective participation of teachers and community support. In her 15-year tenure and leadership at Semillas Sociedad Civil Schools, She was a Community Organizer, Strategist, Parent and Family Literacy Coordinator, Director of Development and Manager and lastly Chief of Staff for the two schools. Maria balances her rigor and passion for community organizing as a practitioner of healing arts in traditional medicine and Reiki. When she is not organizing in schools or practicing self-care she co-creates and facilitates wellness workshops with Florecimiento Ancestral, Mujeres de Maiz, and Wetskistle Theater. She currently holds a BA in Chicano Studies and History from the University of California State Northridge. Certification in healing arts and wellness studies, She has over 650 hours herbal, folk, indigenous medicine, and massage therapy training from National Holistic Institute and Ancestral Apothecary School.

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