From Boycotts to Buyouts: The Chicano Movement

Hilario Gomez, Reporter

Wednesday, Oct. 6 our Bakersfield College Levan Center hosted a webinar in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, which is commonly recognized as Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 entitled From Boycotts to Buyouts: The Chicano Movement, Coors Beer, & the Battle for the Hispanic Consumer. 

The speaker being highlighted by the event was Dr. Alyson Brantley, an Assistant Professor of History at Laverne University, who is currently working on a book manuscript, titled as of the moment, “Givin’ Up This Beer: The Coors Boycott and the Remaking of Consumer and Corporate Activism in Postwar America”. Her recent publications also include “‘Mexico, At Our Very Door’: Prohibition-Era Brewing in the US-Mexico Borderlands,” in the Journal of the West, and “Borderlands of Work,” a review for the New Labor Forum. 

The webinar did have a slight delay and started with a brief introduction of Dr. Brantley by BC’s very own philosophy professor, Reggie Williams. Brantley spoke confidently, setting the stage for the history of boycotts, specifically those of the very racially tense times of the late 1960s and early 1970s. 

She spoke on how prominent companies such as the Coors Brewing company were boycotted by multiple minority groups with a huge part being played by the Hispanic groups who were involved. Coors and the Coors family were very intertwined with racism and classism activities and imagery shown by the racist remarks of William Coors and their constant union-bashing. Coors specifically was accused multiple times of employment discrimination against those of Hispanic heritage to the point where multiple legal actions were forced to be taken against the Coors Brewing Company. 

Word of Coors and their actions spread like wildfire among minority groups and protests and boycotts became commonplace to the point where boycotts held true up until the 1980s. Brantley concluded by emphasizing how the unity and solidarity of the times stoked the fire and made an impact for these communities and held Coors accountable.