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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Slain L.A. Times journalist to be featured on national stamp

    A Hispanic journalist killed on the job 37 years ago will be honored with a stamp in his memory, thanks to the hard work of one UA staff member.

    Ruben Salazar was killed in 1970 after a tear gas projectile fired by a deputy sheriff hit him while he was covering the Chicano Anti-Vietnam War Moratorium in East Los Angeles, the largest protest at the time for Mexican-Americans.

    Salazar was only 42 years old.

    More than three decades later, Olga BriseÇño, director of the UA’s Media, Democracy and Policy Initiative, set out to commemorate him. She spent close to two years gathering the required material to get Salazar put on a national stamp.

    “”In February 2006, I mailed out the envelope with everything I could think of that the committee needed to make their decision,”” BriseÇño said. “”It weighed exactly 10 pounds.””

    In addition, BriseÇño met with the Salazar family to get their permission to put Ruben Salazar on the stamp.

    BriseÇño said she collected more than 1,000 signatures from colleagues across the United States, from UA Hispanic alumni and anyone else she could think of.

    “”Even the Salazar family walked their neighborhood collecting signatures,”” she said. “”A lot of people helped to make the stamp possible.””

    Every year the U.S. Postal Service receives thousands of requests proposing stamp designs, and the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee selects designs of national interest for recommendation to the postmaster general, according to the U.S. Postal Service Web site.

    “”I was asked by the Postal Service at a conference who I thought should be put on a stamp, and being a journalist, I thought of Ruben Salazar,”” BriseÇño said.

    Roy Betts, manager of community relations for the United States Postal Service, said Salazar is one of five journalists being honored on a stamp.

    “”Salazar is well deserving of the stamp that will come in a block of five,”” he said, adding that the names of the other four journalists will be announced today.

    The Los Angeles Times, for which Salazar worked as a columnist, will announce the names, BriseÇño said.

    “”I think the stamp is very appropriate because he was a distinguished journalist and a pioneer for Latinos in journalism,”” said Frank Sotomayor, associate director of the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Institute for Justice and Journalism.

    Sotomayor graduated from UA in 1966 and worked at the Times for 35 years. He said he had always aspired to work alongside Salazar but didn’t start at the newspaper until after a month after Salazar died.

    It can take up to three years for a stamp recommendation to be considered by the CSAC for design and production, according to the U.S. Postal Service Web site.

    The 41-cent Salazar stamp will be available to the public next year.

    “”It was a lot of work, but the end result was a product of pride – and not for me, but for his family and the large number of people that this means something to,”” she said.

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