Raul Ruiz, Presente!

The CSRC mourns the passing of Dr. Raul Ruiz, educator, photojournalist, and lifelong Chicano activist. A professor at Cal State Northridge who received degrees from Cal State LA and Harvard, Raul’s intelligence and fierce championing of justice is evident in the 1971 documentary short Requiem-29, which captures his court testimony regarding the police violence against marchers in the Chicano Moratorium.  Here, Raul speaks truth to power in a way that exposed the biases of the justice system and the press. Today, this footage presents a necessary role model for our own troubled times.  In 2012, Raul gave an impassioned lecture at the CSRC concerning the killing of Los Angeles Times journalist Ruben Salazar—an event Raul witnessed, documented, and protested.  It can be viewed on CSRC YouTube in three parts: part one, part two, and part three.

In the past seven years, the CSRC came to know Raul well. He was an editor and one of the dedicated photographers of the community-based La Raza newspaper and later magazine (1967-77). Over 25,000 images from La Raza have now been digitized by the CSRC, thanks to Raul and the other photographers who worked for the publication. The images became the basis of the exhibition La Raza at the Autry Museum--an exhibition of which Raúl was extremely proud. He had been working closely with CSRC on final edits for his catalog essay when he passed away.  His loss is a profound one for us. Raul’s generation challenged the inequities and discrimination facing the Mexican-descent population. CSRC would not be here today without their efforts. Their stories give us insight into that history, but they also offer guidance as we continue their work.     

Raul Ruiz, presente!

Image: Raul Ruiz carries protest sign outside Mejian Chevrolet, December, 1971. Copyright La Raza Staff Photographers