LULAC Is Thankful For 90 Years
Washington,DC - The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) on this Thanksgiving Day pays tribute to its members, past and present, along with their families in this year of celebration as America’s longest serving advocacy organization on behalf of millions of Latinos in the United States.
“LULAC is indeed blessed to be here three generations after its founding and it is only because there are still men and women who are willing to take up its proud shield, raise their voice and stand with those who are the most vulnerable and face some of the most difficult of life’s crisis,” says Sindy Benavides, National Chief Executive Officer. “We do well to pause and reflect that LULAC began at a time when social conditions were not too different from today, though on a far different scale of just 1.5 million Latinos in the United States,” she adds.
At that time in 1929, it was barely a decade after World War I and America was experiencing one of the greatest migrations of Mexican immigrants into the United States to meet its need for labor. They were fleeing the aftermath of a revolution in Mexico and sought a better future for themselves and their families along with Mexican Americans already here, some for generations, even before Anglo Americans. Yet, the new arrivals could not have come at a worse time as the first pains of what was to become the Great Depression were beginning to be felt. The outcry against Mexicans “taking the jobs of normal Americans” became a daily drumbeat that led to the denial of basic social services including health care and education as well as incidents of beatings and even lynchings.
“It was at this very moment in our history that courageous men and women came together and formed what was to become the LULAC of today, at a time when just being brown and outspoken was a dangerous combination,” says Domingo Garcia, National President. “We should never forget that back then, as it is still true in some places in the United States, there were people who saw Mexicans, our grandparents, as being the same as animals and even posted signs over the doors of businesses that read, ‘No dogs or Mexicans Allowed’. Never forget they were speaking about our parents and grandparents,” adds Garcia.
Latinos migrated to all corners of their new home from the Southwest to the Midwest and even the Northeast. From Texas, they ventured out and settled in Chicago and New York while others traveled to DC and some even into the distant reaches of the far Northwest. If there was work, no matter how tough the jobs or low their pay, Latinos were willing to work ‘sol a sol’, sunrise to sundown, to sustain their families and themselves. Since the founding of our country, they have been adding to the backbone of America and soon, some would even give their lives as members of the military for the United States.
“Many of our LULAC members today are the sons, daughters and grandchildren of those brave early pioneers who risked all, even their lives for the generations that would follow,” says Benavides. “We must never forget that in the decades since, many more immigrants, including my own family, have arrived in America and seen their own children born in this great land and we continue to add to this great experience that is our home now. It is our time in history to carry on, not because it is easy, but because our fight for justice is as important and vital today. May we bow our heads in gratitude, love and appreciation on this day of Thanksgiving and remember all those who said then, since and still say today, ‘God bless America and may God continue to bless LULAC,” she concluded.
The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is the nation’s largest and oldest civil rights volunteer-based organization that empowers Hispanic Americans and builds strong Latino communities. Headquartered in Washington, DC, with 1,000 councils around the United States and Puerto Rico, LULAC’s programs, services and advocacy address the most important issues for Latinos, meeting critical needs of today and the future. For more information, visit https://lulac.org/