Huge And Historic! LULAC Wins For U.S. Military Service Members

Nation’s Oldest and Largest Latino Civil Rights Organization’s Victories In National Defense Authorization Act Will Change the U.S. Military

Washington, DC - The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) issued the following statement Thursday concerning the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) now awaiting the signature of President Biden. LULAC is elated that elements of both the Vanessa Guillen Act and The Brandon Act which it championed have won passage in both the U.S. House and Senate. This landmark victory, with bipartisan support, begins the most significant transformation within the U.S. military in LULAC’s 92-year history.

Domingo Garcia - LULAC National President
“Some people say you can’t fight city hall or the military but this victory is proof they’re wrong! LULAC salutes the members of Congress who believed in our cause when we first went to Capitol Hill and the Pentagon after the murder of Vanessa Guillen. Gloria Guillen, Vanessa’s mother, and the Guillen family, never wavered in their fight for justice. Also, LULAC honors the courage of Patrick and Teri Caserta, whose son in the U.S. Navy died by suicide after suffering chronic bullying. Rather, than allow their painful loss to overcome them, Patrick and Teri crafted what became The Brandon Act and kept pushing for its passage these past three years. Also worthy of our appreciation is the LULAC military committee of volunteers who worked tirelessly for months to achieve victory. Generations of service men and women will be safer because of their work on behalf of the Vanessa Guillen Act and The Brandon Act. This is what LULAC does.”

Mark Kelly. - U.S. Senator, (D-AZ)
“For months, I worked with Republicans and Democrats to get the language of the Brandon Act in the defense bill. Today, our hard work has paid off. Thanks to the tireless advocacy of Teri and Patrick Caserta, and bipartisan support in Congress, our efforts will help us confront military suicide head on and save the lives of other young servicemembers.”

Seth Moulton - U.S. Representative, (D-Mass)
“America’s service members shouldn’t have to settle for a broken system that’s incapable of providing them with the mental health support they need, and today’s vote means they no longer have to. This bill is an important piece of Brandon’s legacy—one that will save the lives of so many great American heroes. I’m proud of his parents for fighting to make sure that families of other service members never have to share their experience, and I look forward to continuing to do this work alongside them.”

Teri and Patrick Caserta - Parents of Brandon Caserta
“We cannot be happier that The Brandon Act is in the NDAA. The Brandon Act will save military servicemember’s lives and it will give them the mental health care they rightfully deserve without retaliation. We would also like to thank Senator Mark Kelly and his staff, all of the cosponsors who support The Brandon Act, LULAC, NAMI, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and all of the organizations who supported us and The Brandon Act. The tragic and untimely death of Brandon Caserta brought awareness to the suicide rates in our military. We cannot bring Brandon back, but The Brandon Act will honor our son in the way he would want. This is a military service member victory!”

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About LULAC
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/

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