Brown Berets marching to protest Coors Brewing Company
Digital copy of a film negative taken by photographer Juan Espinosa, documenting the Brown Berets marching in Denver during the 1973 boycott against Coors Brewing Company's unfair hiring practices against Chicano workers. The Brown Berets were founded in Los Angeles in 1967 in response to police brutality against Mexican Americans and saw themselves as a self-defense force for Chicanos. Members wore military-style uniforms symbolizing Chicano rights and power and provided security at walkouts, strikes and other protests.
Juan Espinosa was a journalism student at the University of Colorado in Boulder when he took this photograph. He won his first camera in a poker game at Da Nang Air Force Base in Vietnam while serving with the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War and, after his discharge in 1969, learned journalistic photography and darkroom techniques at Mesa State College in Grand Junction, Colorado. Espinosa enrolled at CU Boulder in 1971, joined the United Mexican Student Association (UMAS), and worked as a stringer for the Colorado Daily newspaper and as a photographer for UMAS Publications, which published Somos Aztlan magazine and newspaper by the same name. In the summer of 1972, Espinosa founded the El Diario student newspaper during the summer of 1972, which primarily covered the Chicano civil rights movement and UMAS activities on the CU Boulder campus. Between 1971-1974, Espinosa photographed the events and people of the Chicano civil rights movement in Colorado, Arizona, Texas, and California. In 1975, he and his wife Deborah moved to Pueblo, Colo., where they founded and published La Cucaracha, a community newspaper, from 1976-1984. Espinosa later worked as a reporter and photographer for the Pueblo Chieftain newspaper for 22 years.