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Celebrated journalist Ruben Salazar was shockingly and mysteriously killed by a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputy in 1970. Salazar’s transformation from a mainstream, middle-of-the-road reporter to a supporter and primary chronicler of the radical Chicano movement mirrored the era’s larger social upheaval, which paved the way for today’s diverse Los Angeles. His death was one of the most bizarre and controversial fatal shootings of the mid-twentieth century. Join us for the pre-screening of PBS’s Ruben Salazar: Man in the Middle, a documentary by USC Annenberg Visiting Fellow Phillip Rodriguez. Part political exposé, part narrative deconstruction, part poetic meditation, the film is the first independent and thorough investigation of Salazar’s life and death.
Following the screening, a panel featuring Rodriguez, MALDEF present and General Counsel Thomas A Saenz and USC professor of American studies and ethnicity and history George J. Sanchez will explore the producers’ investigative process and the quest for the release of records from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. The conversation will also focus on Salazar’s controversial and mysterious death—an important but little understood moment in Los Angeles political history.
About the Panelists:
Phillip Rodriguez is a filmmaker and visiting fellow at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Rodriguez’s documentaries include Race 2012, which used the 2012 presidential election as a lens to explore America’s changing racial landscape; Latinos ’08, which examined the 2008 presidential election through the prism of ethnic politics; and Brown Is the New Green: George Lopez and the American Dream. Rodriguez’s work has been screened internationally at venues and festivals including Centre Georges Pompidou, the Guadalajara International Book Fair, the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Harvard Film Archive, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, Anthology Film Archives, the AFI International Festival, the Hawaii International Film Festival and the Smithsonian National Gallery. In 2006, Rodriguez received the first annual United States Artists Broad Fellow Award.
Thomas A. Saenz is the President and General Counsel of MALDEF, where he leads the civil rights organization's five offices in pursuing litigation, policy advocacy, and community education to promote the civil rights of Latinos living in the United States. Saenz re-joined MALDEF in August 2009, after spending four years on Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's executive team as Counsel to the Mayor. He previously spent 12 years at MALDEF practicing civil rights law as a staff attorney, regional counsel, and vice president of litigation. He served as MALDEF's lead counsel in successfully challenging California's anti-immigrant Proposition 187. Saenz graduated from Yale College and Yale Law School, and he clerked for two federal judges before initially joining MALDEF in 1993.
Ruben Salazar Project on the USC Annenberg website.
Organized by the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Co-sponsored by the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. Ruben Salazar: Man in the Middle was made possible by the Public Broadcasting Service, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Latino Public Broadcasting, the California Council for the Humanities and the California Community Foundation. Airfare was provided by Southwest Airlines.