Our network

North Las Vegas shows movie about East L.A. High School student civil rights movement |

Title (Max 100 Characters)

North Las Vegas shows movie about East L.A. High School student civil rights movement

8 News NOW is celebrating Hispanic Heritage month to recognize the contributions of Hispanic and Latino Americans in the Las Vegas valley.

The City of North Las Vegas says it will host a screening of "Walkout, which is based on first-hand accounts of the 1968 East L.A. High School student civil rights movement. The screening is being held at City Hall.

The film's producer is also building the "Maya Entertainment Center" in North Las Vegas which will be located on Las Vegas Boulevard near Carey Avenue.

"The Aztecs called themselves Mexicas, and when you take that word Mexicas, and you drop off the weak first syllable Mexica becomes Xicano," said Moctesuma Esparza, Maya Cinemas CEO.

Esparza says the word Chicano is a way to say I'm an American.

"Back then Chicano students, Latino students weren't encouraged to go to college; they weren't encouraged or told that they could be professionals or that they can achieve anything in life besides being a worker," said Esparza.

The film portrays the March 5, 1968 protest lead by East L.A. students who were demanding equality, education, and change.

"Unfortunately the response of the school district back then was to send the police to beat us up, arrest us, call us criminals when what we wanted was an education," Esparza said.

Esparza was one of the students arrested during the demonstration. He faced 45 years in prison, all because he wanted to take action.

"There's been progress, but there's a lot more work to do," said Esparza.

Work that Esparza is bringing to the Latino community in North Las Vegas, a much-needed movie theater with a 70-foot screen and luxury seating.

"I'm here to bring jobs to promote education to promote art films, Latino films, Spanish language films, foreign films, the blockbuster Hollywood films; we are going to bring culture," Esparza said.

Culture that he believes will bring change to this neighborhood.

"I committed my life to education and to opportunities for everybody and in particular Latinos," Esparza said. "Our commitment is you have a future, you have rights; you can achieve and do in life what you set yourself out to do."

The 14 screen movie theater is expected to open around Christmas and will be the sixth location for Maya Cinemas North America, Inc. The other theaters are located in California.