MINUTES CONFERENCE CITIZENS' COMMITTEE FOR THE DEFENSE OF
MEXICAN-AMERICAN YOUTH HELD MARCH 14, 1943, BELMONT STUDIOS
122½ South Vermont, Los Angeles
The meeting was opened by our chairman, Mr. Clore Warne who explained that due to the interference of Prosecutor Shoemaker
of the D A's office, the meeting place was changed to the Belmont Studios.
Delegate John Bright moved that a resolution of protest be adopted and that a committee be elected to protest this action,
to the D A and the Mayor. Motion passed.
Mr. Warne was elected permanent chairman for the conference.
The chairman read a telegram from Orson Welles expressing his regret at not being present and explaining that the announcement
was an error inasmuch as he had two broadcasts scheduled for the day. He also expressed his sympathy with the cause of the
17 boys and expressed his willingness to assist in any way possible.
A telegram was read from the Spanish-Speaking Section of the I W O assuring the conference of its sympathy and co-operation.
A letter from the Pan American Committee in New York also expressed its sympathy for the caus e of the 17 boys.
Both Mexican Consuls in this city were introduced to the audience, Consul Calais and Consul Aguillar who addressed the conference.
In discussing the "Good Neighbor Policy", Mr. Aguillar said, "The good neighbor policy calls not only for expression of good
wishes of the governments, but in order to achieve real results from the good neighbor policy, it is necessary that the people
themselves practice it. There are now 26 nations fighting for democracy, for freedom, for liberty. It is necessary for us
on the home front to fight for these things as well." He indicated that discrimination and segregation lead to humiliation
and resentment and do not carry out the "Good Neighbor Policy" in fact.
Ignazio Lopez, representing the office of the Co-ordinator of Inter-American Affairs was introduced. He said he had come as
an interested observer to learn the facts in the case.
Cary McWilliams, attorney, denounced the action of the D A's office and said "If Shoemaker were satisfied that there had been
a fair trial, would he have gone to the trouble to suppress this meeting? On the contrary, he would have been glad to have
this meeting and tried to get the floor to explain his position. Instead of that, he tried to suppress the meeting behind
Mr. McWilliams stressed the point that like the "Hate the Japanese" campaign that was being started, so the campaign against
the zoot suiters was an effort on the part of reactionary forces to divide the population in order to futther fascist ends.
R. Bently Strather spoke for the Negro Victory Committee and the Civil Liberties Committee. He urged all minorities to get
together and work in unison.
George Shibley, attorney for the boys gave a very graphic report on the case of the 17 boys, proving to all within his hearing
that they had had no part whatsoever in the killing of Jose Diaz. He indicated however that by marking Mexicans as Zoot-Suiters
and killers, as the press was doing, was playing directly into the hands of those forces that are aiding the Axis by dividing
Robert S. Morris, Treasurer of the Committee reviewed the work of the Committee since its inception, crediting LaRue McCormick
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as its originator. In a very well organized talk, he summarized the work of the Committee to date which included selecting
George Shibley as attorney, assuring the parents that there was a group interested in their boys, meeting with the boys and
giving them succor, organizing victory youth groups. He ended his report with the recommendation that the Committee be expanded
in order that the appeal may be prosecuted with effective vigor. In order to make a successful appeal, Mr. Morris pointed
out that it would be necessary to carry on a broad educational program and to raise funds.
The conference then broke up into the following panels:
1. Trade Union, 2. Church, University and Civic organizations, 3. Youth.
When the conference reconvened, 45 minutes later, the following reports were made:
- Set up Speakers Committee
- C I O Radio
- Union papers - CIO and AFofL
(special edition on case for May 5th)
- Change tone of daily press
- Committee to visit publishers
- Develop city support for campaign
- Visit Daily News on D A's action on Unitarian Church
- Committee to visit D A
- Solicit OWI co-operation
Collection of $93.50 taken for work of Committee.
CIVIC AND CHURCH PANEL - RECOMMENDATIONS
We recommend a larger committee, and that committee be added from the delegates.
We recommend that mass meetings be held under the supervision of the central committee
That at these mass meetings representatives from all organizations be invited to attend. At these meetings the case of the
17 boys shall be discussed in detail and tie up with other cases of discrimination.
At these meetings collections shall be taken and turned over to the central body.
That the papers in the city be given the story of the mass meetings and their purpose.
Albert K. Gans
1238½ Cloverdale Avenue
40th A D Democratic Club
WHEREAS we feel that the conviction of the 17 boys was unjust; and
WHEREAS we feel that this conviction if allowed to stand will have serious effects on our war effort,
THEREFORE, we plan the calling of a county-wide youth conference to:
- Free the 17 boys
- Build unity between national groups.
- Plan educational discussions on these problems.
The recommendations from the three panels were accepted by the conference.
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The Credentials Committee brought in a report of 54 organizations. There were 20 unions represented and 34 church, fraternal
and youth groups, 112 delegates in all.
On the suggestion from the secretary, LaRue McCormick that each group select one person to represent it on the new committee,
such names were submitted to form the basis of the new committee.
A Resolutions protesting the interference with our meeting place by the D A's office was submitted and passed.
The Trade Union panel presented a resolution condemning the methods used in obtaining convictions of the 17 youths. Also passed.
A resolution was submitted urging all democratic organizations to unite to demand immediate correction of this unjustice and
by their concerted efforts guarantee permanent freedom from persecution of all Spanish-speaking people in the Southwest. This
resolution was also passed.
The collection in total amounted to $__________.
On motion, the conference meeting was adjourned at 6 P M.