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LULAC Mourns the Passing of a Brave Latina Mother Who Fought for Justice

Nation's Oldest and Largest Latino Civil Rights Organization Pays Tribute to Bessie Rodriguez, Mother of Santos Rodriguez, Whose Life Was Tragically Cut Short in 1973 at the Hands of Dallas PD at the Tender Age of 12

December 1, 2023
Contact David Cruz - (818) 689-9991

Washington, DC - In a solemn moment of reflection, the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) extends its heartfelt condolences and pays tribute to the late Bessie Rodriguez, a resilient Latina mother who, with unwavering determination, sought justice for her son Santos Rodriguez, killed on July 24, 1973.

Domingo Garcia, LULAC National President, expressed the organization's deep sorrow, stating, "LULAC grieves the passing of Bessie Rodriguez, who stood up and cried out for justice after the killing of her son at the hands of a police officer in a heinous act of Russian roulette with the life of a child."

Fifty years ago, Santos and his brother David were abruptly taken from their beds by Dallas police officers Darrell Cain and Roy Arnold. Placed in a squad car, the young boys were subjected to interrogation in an attempt to coerce a confession for a crime they did not commit. In a shocking turn of events, Cain resorted to Russian roulette, placing the gun in Santos' face, a cruel and unnecessary act that resulted in tragedy.

Domingo Garcia, reflecting on his personal connection with Bessie Rodriguez, stated, "I had the privilege and honor of knowing Bessie, and can say without equivocation that she never gave up believing her son's death could serve a greater purpose only if we as a Latino community fought so that others would not have to suffer the pain and loss she had endured."

Despite the injustice and heartbreak, Bessie Rodriguez never wavered in her belief that her son's death could spark change. LULAC pledges to honor her legacy by continuing the fight for justice and the defense of every Latino man, woman, and child in our country. In the words of Domingo Garcia, "We pledge to her that LULAC will never stop fighting for justice." Bessie, may you rest in peace, and may your legacy continue to rest in power."


The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is the nation's largest and oldest Hispanic 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 the critical needs of today and the future. For more information, visit