By the age of 21, Oscar Gomez of Baldwin Park had already gained a widespread following as an activist and host of a radio show on the UC Davis college radio station. He gave voice to the frustrations of the Chicano community, and he was an imposing presence at student protests throughout the state.
Gomez's voice and influence was tragically cut short on a November night in 1994, when he was found dead at the base of a steep cliff after a protest in Santa Barbara. The circumstances surrounding his mysterious death were never determined.
But his life and story continue to inspire, and after a campaign by his friends and admirers, UC Davis agreed to grant him a posthumous degree in in Chicano studies and behavioral science. His parents will be at the university's commencement ceremonies this spring to hear their son's name included in the roll call of graduates.