The East Los Angeles Walkouts or Chicano Blowouts were a series of 1968 protests against unequal conditions in Los Angeles Unified School District high schools. While the students who organized and carried out the protests were primarily concerned with the quality of their education, they were also motivated by the high minority death toll in the Vietnam War and the ongoing civil rights campaigns of the Chicano Movement. The Chicano Student Movement was the part of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement that focused on educational equality. Chicano students believed that "Education is not a privilege, it's a right.".
East Los Angeles had been home to Mexicans since the establishment of Mission San Gabriel Arcángel in 1781. With the dawn of the American era, they found themselves restricted to the East side, and other non-Anglo ethnicities were segregated here as well. As a result, East Los Angelinos never received the same level of government services as did their wealthier, whiter West-side counterparts. While there were other issues of injustice facing the Chicano, the student walkouts in East Los Angeles specifically addressed educational inequality. These walkouts were started by students who simply wanted an education. Students in the East Los Angeles area began to realize that there were schools in other areas that were given more resources (the books were in better conditions, the restrooms kept open during the school hours, students weren't given information about to universities they could apply to.
In the late 1960s opportunities in higher education for young people of Mexican descent were minimal. Spanish-surnamed enrollments in colleges and universities nationwide made up only 1.6 percent in 1968; in 1972 numbers had risen slightly to 2.3 percent with the majority in two-year community colleges. In the University of California (UC) system in 1968 "Mexican or Spanish American" students made up only 1.