The Latinos Who Helped Shape Modern Skateboarding

Story on Latino Rebels

Not that long ago I was a victim of clickbait. As I was scrolling down on my Facebook wall I saw an article on Latino Skateboarders. It read, “10 Latinos who are making a name for themselves in Skateboarding”, or something along those lines. As a curious skater and a Latino, I clicked on the link. The article made it seemed like it was a rarity for a Latino to thrive in this sport. I was disappointed that it didn’t acknowledge that Latinos have shaped the sport since the early days of modern skateboarding.

We might think that Skateboarding is the White America’s action sport. Skateboarding, as we know it, began in the 70’s in Southern California. It was meant to imitate surfing on concrete. During this time a group of kids from Venice and Santa Monica, joined a skateboarding competition team called The Zephyr Boys. Among those kids were Tony Alva and Stacy Peralta, Two Mexican American kids. With innovative spirit and a different look at skateboarding, they helped shape what we know as skateboarding today.


Craig Stecyk

According to Vans: Of the wall: Stories Of Sole From Vans Original, by Doug Palladini, in the days when skateboarding tricks only included downhill racing and flat ground handstands, Alva and Peralta would skate drained backyard pools to imitate surfing waves. Tony Alva did the first aerial trick when he went off the pool walls. Vans’s “off the wall” slogan come from that historic moment. Eventually Alva helped popularize the sport into a world phenomenon.


Craig Stecyk

Stacy Peralta did the first skateboarding TV cameo in pop culture, appearing in an episode of Charlie’s Angels. He went on to co-created the Bones Brigade skate team, which helped introduce famous skaters like Lance Mountain and Tony Hawk.


Craig Stecyk

Peralta also became a filmmaker. The documentary Crips and Bloods: Made in America is among one of the films he has created. The film depicts the origins of two rival African American gangs.


 In the late 70’s there was lack of quality skateboarding materials. Fausto Villeto, an Argentine native, co-founded Independent Trucks Company. Trucks are the pieces that connects the wheels to the skateboard. Vitello’s parents fled Argentina’s Revolucion Libertadora (Liberating Revolution) in 1955 and settled in San Francisco.


Thrasher Magazine

In 1981 Vitello also co-founded the famous Thrasher Magazine. Thrasher Magazine is a skateboarding and music publication. Recently Thrasher partnered with Vice’s TV channel Viceland, to transmit King Of The Road, a Skateboarding competition show. Vitello passed away in 2006.

Mark Gonzales, a native of South Gate, California, was the first person to skate a handrail, thus setting the blue prints for modern street skateboarding. In 1984 he was featured in the cover of Thrasher Magazine. In 2011 according to Thrasher, Gonzales was the “Most Influential Skateboarder of all Time”. Gonzales now resides in New York City with his family and has become a renowned artist.


Thrasher Magazine

These are just some of the Latinos that have shaped this sport. Latinos are part of the history of skateboarding. Skateboarding is not just a White American sport. Skateboarding is also ours. Today, there are many Latino skaters who continue to evolve skateboarding. We are innovative people, we always find ways to make everything exceptional.


Juan Ramirez



Portland Students March Against ‘Build-A-Wall’ Banner

OPS’s web article

Portland Students March Against ‘Build-A-Wall’ Banner
by Juan Ramirez OPB | May 23, 2016 6:47 p.m. | Updated: May 24, 2016 8:17 a.m.

Students from Portland high schools and colleges marched Monday to protest a banner hung in Forest Grove last week. That banner suggested the United States should “build a wall” along the border with Mexico.
Students from Portland high schools and colleges marched Monday to protest a banner hung in Forest Grove last week. That banner suggested the United States should “build a wall” along the border with Mexico.

It echoed a proposal put forward by presumed Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

About 200 students marched from Pioneer Courthouse Square to Portland State University.

Sandra Andrade is with the group Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán and helped organize the demonstration.

“The incident that happened at Forest Grove was the breaking point,” said Andrade. “It is not an isolated issue or one more situation added to the discrimination our community goes through everyday.

“We believe that every person should have a safe space to be included in,” she said. “School administrations are failing at addressing the issues our minority students are facing.”

Students from Washington County held similar demonstrations last week, even after the student who put up the banner made an anonymous post online to apologize.

Protesters said the banner being taken down hasn’t erased anti-immigration sentiment fueled by Trump’s campaign

Editor Ryan Haas contributed to this report.

What Is Life Like In Prison?

OPB’s news article

by , Juan Ramirez, and OPB | July 19, 2015 12:09 p.m. | Updated: July 20, 2015 6:32 a.m.

From left to right: Antonio Carter, Emanuel Washington and Sharon Maxwell

From left to right: Antonio Carter, Emanuel Washington and Sharon Maxwell

Photos by Alan Sylvestre / Art illustration by John Sepulvado

With President Barack Obama calling for reform in the criminal justice system, OPB wanted to get an idea of what life in prison is like.

We spoke with two inmates and the mother of a former inmate to get a picture of what prison life is like.  Antonio Carter, Emanuel Washington and Sharon Maxwell shared their stories