Here you will find interviews conducted with people associated with the CSO:
Fred Ross Sr., who pioneered the grassroots approach to organizing that became the foundation of CSO, began his work in Southern California's citrus belt in the 1940s. While working for the American Council on Race Relations, Ross became an adviser to a group of Mexican Americans who sued the Orange County city of Westminster so that their children could receive an equal education.
They won the landmark desegregation case, Westminster v. Mendez, which actually predates the far more famous Brown v. Board of Education. As would be true in later years, the civil rights struggles of the West were overshadowed by those of the South.
In this video, Hector Tarango, who initiated the suit, describes how the case unfolded, its importance to his community, and the anger and repercussions that ensued after the victory. Tarango was honored for his work in 2006 by the National Council of La Raza.
In addition to making law and empowering the community, the case helped shape CSO as well. Ross often said that he learned a valuable lesson from the battles of Westminster: Next time, he said, he would meet with the District Attorney and the Bishop first.
Download a transcript of the complete interview - Part one - Word Document