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White, Don (1937-2008) | Special Collections & Archives

Name: White, Don (1937-2008)

Historical Note:

Don White was born and raised in Mount Vernon, Washington on April 18, 1937. He attended the College of the Pacific with a degree in Political Science, and attended post graduate classes at American University.

White moved to Los Angeles in 1963, where he taught history at Irving Junior High School until his retirement in 1997. He was heavily involved in activism for educational and international causes, including the United Teachers of Los Angeles, the National Lawyers Guild Legal Observers, and the Southern California Fair Trade Network. He became interested in Central American causes in 1976, when he traveled to Guatemala for a month to perform relief work in the wake of a devastating earthquake. This was the first of many trips to Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and El Salvador, where he participated in fact-finding missions and delivering material aid where needed.

White joined the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES) shortly after its founding in 1980, leading the Echo Park Chapter and serving as an organizer and Board Member of the Los Angeles Subregion. In these roles White coordinated and participated in protests, rallies, and other civil disobedience actions in addition to raising money and material aid for those affected by the conflicts in Central America. He was heavily involved in the sanctuary movement to provide refuge to undocumented migrants from Central America, establishing fair trade with Central American countries, and supporting peace efforts for all countries.

CISPES is a national grassroots solidarity organization, founded in 1980 by conventions in Los Angeles and Washington, DC to oppose U.S. government intervention and aid in the Salvadoran Civil War and to support the revolutionary forces of the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN). CISPES worked to achieve this goal through campaigns and protests aimed at raising public awareness in America of the civil war in El Salvador, pressuring Congress to end military aid, raising funds to send material aid to people in El Salvador, and promoting Salvadoran worker's rights. CISPES continues today in their mission, through promoting the economic rights of underdeveloped countries around the world.

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