“Viva La Causa” was designed by the Department of History and Museo Urbano in honor of UTEP’s Centennial Celebration. The exhibit highlights local student involvement in the context of the national Chicano Movement through the use of historical photographs and newspaper articles, original artwork, and firsthand accounts of a pivotal movement in student activism on campus.
On December 3, 1971, students at the University of Texas at El Paso changed the face of the campus by taking over the administration building, demanding educational equality for Mexican American students. In the 1960s and 1970s, high school and college students across the country embraced the Chicano Movement, often lovingly called “La Causa” (the cause).
The Chicano Movement was part of a long legacy of Mexican-origin people in the United States fighting for justice. From the mutual aid societies of the 1890s through the founding of LULAC (the League of United Latin American Citizens) in 1929 to a series of significant court cases over the succeeding decades, Mexican Americans struggled for equality in education, civil and political rights, and employment.
Maribel Villalva is the executive director of UTEP's Centennial Celebration and the director of its Centennial Museum and Chihuahuan Desert Gardens.