The play “Crystal City 1969” tells the story of the historic student strike.

CRYSTAL CITY, Texas – A game “Crystal City 1969″ at the Guadalupe Theater is the story of a historic student strike that played a key role in the Mexican-American civil rights struggle.

Tickets for all five performances, including two matinees, are already sold out.

“People want their story to be reflected on stage,” said David Lozano, co-writer and director.

Lozano and Raul Trevino wrote a play that Kara Mia Theater in Dallas produces.

Lozano said one of Trevino’s relatives was physically punished by students for speaking Spanish.

“One of his uncles spoke Spanish and one of the teachers threw an eraser at him and hit him in the face,” Lozano said.

Not only were others spanked and humiliated, he said girls had to lift their skirts to be spanked.

Lozano said that was the norm for a small town southwest of San Antonio with a population of 10,000, 80% of whom were Mexicans or Mexican-Americans.

“It was systemic racism, a quasi-Jim Crow culture,” Lozano said.

The play is about what led to a months-long student strike in December 1969 led by José Ángel Gutiérrez, an organizer from Crystal City who believed that student mobilization could bring about political change through voter registration.

Lozano said Gutiérrez tried to organize more than 30 other student strikes, but was unsuccessful until Crystal City gained nationwide attention.

The founder of MAYO, a Mexican-American youth organization and La Raza Unida party, is played by actor Eddie Zertuch.

“You may not be Hispanic, but you can watch this show and it should inspire you,” Zertuche said. “Good things come with heart and passion.”

Lozano said the students ended up getting what they wanted.

“Not to be ridiculed, not to be called names, in fact, not to be dehumanized,” Lozano said.

The fact that the play is sold out tells Lozano that “people can’t wait to hear how their story will play out on stage.”

The public is invited to tune in for a “platyca” or conversation with Dr. José Ángel Gutiérrez on facebook live at 17:00 on Sunday.


RENT is playing at Tobin Center this week only

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