In the early 1990’s, hateful anti-immigrant political rhetoric roused California’s Chicano student rights movement, and UC Davis student Oscar Gomez was one of its most prominent voices. In three short years he rose through the ranks of the movimiento, traveling to protests and galvanizing his listeners as the host of the KDVS’ radio show, “La Onda Chicana.” Some thought he was going to be the next Cesar Chavez.
But on November 17, 1994, Oscar was found dead on the Santa Barbara shore. Police concluded that he died from blunt force trauma to the head, but couldn’t determine his manner of death.
“Imperfect Paradise: The Forgotten Revolutionary” is hosted by reporter Adolfo Guzman-Lopez, who ran in the same Chicano student activist circles as Oscar. In the early 1990s, Adolfo was a recently documented Mexican-American, finding his own footing as a journalist. The eight-episode narrative series follows Adolfo as he investigates Oscar’s death and recovers his own Chicano voice and past.
The show also introduces listeners to a forgotten generation of activists who fought to center their identities in the face of one of California’s most xenophobic eras, and makes the case that they were the connective tissue between the civil rights movement of the 60s and the intersectional antiracism resistance of today.