Celebrating 90 Years of Service
The year was 1929, and for more than a decade and a half, Americans of Mexican -American heritage living in Texas at the end of La Revolucion had endured their properties pillaged and stolen, their rights as citizens denied, their women raped and men shot in cold blood, others lynched from the nearest árbol de mesquite by brutal Texas Rangers. Daytime meetings of Mexican-American veteranos returning from serving in WWI were banned so they gathered at night in remote jacalitos, hidden in the desolate brush, lit only by kerosene lamps. It was in these settings that the League of United Latin American Citizens, (LULAC) was born. Born to fight back against injustice and defend the downtrodden.
On this day, 90-years later, LULAC stills stands as the oldest and largest Latino civil rights organization in the United States and Puerto Rico. Yet, many of the battles remain unchanged: fighting the “No Dogs and No Mexicans Allowed” mentality now evidenced by cries of a national emergency to keep the brown people out. In years past, it was poll taxes, whites-only election primaries and voter suppression attempts, even now being seen in Dodge City, Kansas and Austin, Texas.
Today, as never before, we see the destructive effects on our community of institutional discrimination including massive delays delivering aid to hurricane victims in Puerto Rico, stripping ethnic studies in California and Arizona, falsely connecting Latino churches in Illinois to human trafficking and creating barriers to basic medical attention for undocumented immigrants while extracting taxes from their wages while they fear taking their U.S. born children to the doctor.
LULAC is proud of its legacy and our organization is growing larger and stronger every day. We are challenging injustice against nuestra gente and standing up for the civil rights of 60 million Latinos from border to border, sea to sea --- Veterans, Seniors, working class familias , college students, and our youth .
My familia de LULAC, wherever you are on this day --- I salute you and am honored to serve as your National President during these turbulent and historic times. In decades to come, our children and their children will look back upon our work and know we upheld the mission of our founders: “All for One and One for All”.
May we remember those brave men and women who on Feb.17 ,1929 risked all to give birth to LULAC to ensure that Latinos could also enjoy their God-given rights in the United States guaranteed under our Constitution --- Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. Here is to LULAC para adelantar 90 años más!
Hasta La Victoria,
LULAC National President