Activist Carlos Montes, a familiar face in the 1960s Chicano Movement, moved to Alhambra 20 years ago because he saw it as a peaceful enclave that was close to his homebase of East Los Angeles. He had a rude awakening on May 17 when the FBI and deputies from the Los Angeles Sheriff’s department executed a search warrant on his home. He was arrested after the search turned up a firearm. Montes speaks to The Alhambra Source on his history with activism, and what he alleges is the FBI’s agenda of targeting activists like him.
You were a co-founder of the Brown Berets. How did it begin?
It started as a civic youth group. It became the Young Chicanos for Community Action, and then it got more involved in direct grassroots organizing. Then it became the Brown Berets, and we dealt with the issues of education and police brutality. It started small, but once it took on a broader view of the political situation it grew really fast. It became part of the movement of the 60s. I grew up in East LA, so I saw the police mistreating the youth. We’d cruise down Whittier Boulevard with the music on in the car and we would be harassed by the sheriffs. And in the schools the students were mistreated and the classes were overcrowded. Continue reading