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Activism meets entertainment in North Las Vegas

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Maya Cinemas will bring 14 screens to North Las Vegas.

Moctesuma Esparza, film producer and CEO of Maya Cinemas, poses in the lobby of Maya Cinemas North Las Vegas 14, under construction at 2195 Las Vegas Blvd. North, in North Las Vegas, Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018.

In March 1968, thousands of Mexican-American students flooded the streets of Los Angeles, protesting the subpar public education system that persisted in their classrooms. The outcry became known as the East L.A. walkouts, which made their way into national headlines and helped launch the Chicano movement of the ’60s, an equality endeavor for Mexican-Americans.

Protest organizers, dubbed the Eastside 13, were indicted and faced 66 years in prison. The indictments sparked additional protests on the doorsteps of the Los Angeles Police Department and the Justice Department in Washington, and also compelled the American Civil Liberties Union to support the effort. An appeals court later ruled the 13 were exercising their First Amendment rights, and the charges were dropped.

Moctesuma Esparza, 19 at the time, was one of those organizers. He’s now a seasoned entertainment executive known for supporting films centered around the Latin-American experience, and produced Selena, Gettysburg and the HBO film Walkout, which explores the 1968 protests.

“I didn’t jump from activism to film—I extended myself from activism to film,” Esparza said. “My film career is a part of my activism; this movie [Walkout] is a reflection of that.”

Later expanding from film production to distribution, Esparza noticed that while Latinos were consistently among the highest per-capita patrons of cinema, there were few, if any, theaters located in urban areas with high populations of Mexican-Americans.

Maya and the community

The Maya Cares program offers affordable viewing of new movies to certain demographics. The

Article source: https://lasvegassun.com/news/2018/dec/14/activism-meets-entertainment-in-north-las-vegas/

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