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Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo Leads First Ever Zoot Suit Riots Commemoration in the California Legislature, Marking Their 80th Anniversary

For immediate release:
Wendy Carrillo (AD-52)

SACRAMENTO, CA: On June 12, 2023, Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo (D-Los Angeles) presented Assembly Concurrent Resolution 84, which officially commemorated the 80th Anniversary of the Zoot Suit Riots in the California Legislature. This marked the first time the legislature recognized and memorialized the Zoot Suit Riots as an important part of Los Angeles and California history by educating the public about the violent assault by United States service members on Mexican-Americans, mostly youth, who wore outfits called zoot suits in the 1940s. 

“By commemorating the Zoot Suit Riots, this Legislative body is acknowledging what happened to our community 80 years ago, during an event that highlights the remarkable resilience of the Mexican-American community who persevered in expressing their identity and culture in the face of violent xenophobia,” said Assemblywoman Carrillo. “By recognizing and addressing this injustice, we are not only shedding light on the racism, challenges and adversities endured by the Mexican-American community, but are also acknowledging the Mexican/Chicano civil rights movement and the contributions of the community’s centuries-long presence here in California.”

To celebrate the passing of the resolution, the 50th Chicano Moratorium Committee, the L.A. Lowrider Alliance, the California Lowrider Alliance, and the Sacramento Lowrider Commission joined Assemblywoman Carrillo at a gathering on the Southwest Side of the State Capitol Grounds to celebrate Chicano culture. Participants in zoot-suit attire and classic vehicles were present for photo opportunities in celebration of Chicano culture and perseverance. 

About the Zoot Suit Riots

The Zoot Suit Riots were a series of racially motivated attacks on Mexican-Americans that occurred in Los Angeles, California, during World War II. The riots took place primarily in June of 1943 and involved mass violence perpetrated by predominantly Anglo-American service members against young Mexican American men who were known for their distinctive clothing style called "zoot suits." The attacks involved beatings, strip-searching, and the destruction of zoot suits. Law enforcement failed to intervene adequately, and in many instances joined in the violence. The riots exposed deeply rooted prejudices and discrimination against the Mexican American community, highlighting the need for continued advocacy for social and racial equality. The riots also spurred discussions on civil rights and the treatment of minority groups, contributing to the broader civil rights movement that gained momentum in the following decades. Today, the Zoot Suit symbolizes Chicano identity and defiance against racism.

Assemblywoman Carrillo Introduces ACR 84, commemorating the Zoot Suit Riots in the California State Assembly for the first time.


Assemblymembers welcome advocates to the California State Assembly



Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo was elected to the California State Assembly in December 2017. She represents the 52nd District of California, encompassing East LA, Northeast LA, and parts of Glendale. She has served as the Chair of Budget Sub-Committee #4 on State Administration, and a member of the Appropriations, Health, Housing and Community Development, and Utilities and Energy Committees, as well as Chair of the Select Committee on Latina Inequities.