Somos Primos

116th Online Issue

Editor: Mimi Lozano ©2000-9

Dedicated to Hispanic Heritage and Diversity Issues
Society of Hispanic Historical and Ancestral Research


“Querer es Poder: 50 Examples” 
2009 Gold Medal Award 
Circle of Excellence Awards Program, (CASE). 
for article.

Content Areas

United States 
National Issues
Action Item
Hispanic Heritage Month
Bilingual Education


Anti-Spanish Legends
Military/Law Enforcement 
Patriots, American Revolution
Orange County,CA  
Los Angeles,CA

Southwestern US 

East of Mississippi
East Coast

Family History


Listening to the lessons of history: 

"The budget should be balanced; the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance.  

, 55 BC



  Letters to the Editor : 

You have again outdid yourself!!! Congratulations!!!
 A couple of years ago you wrote a story on the Congressional Medal of Honor recipients (you are continuing this ) this was about Lt. Baldomero López a Tampa, Florida  native and a great friend. Thank you.
Again you mention another great guy, Francisco "Frank" Sánchez another Tampa native and a great statesman and attorney. 
We in Tampa, are very proud of our Spanish heritage. In the last one hundred years we have come from a city of immigrants mostly working in our cigar factories for pennies a day to a city of educated doctors, attorneys, business men, politicians, etc. (this includes many women also).  We have integrated in America but still keep our culture.
Like I like to say, "We've come a long way, baby". 
Thanks for a great magazine.  Continue your excellent work.
José R. Oural, Presidente

HI, Just a note on my niece Eva Longoria Parker. PBS is doing a genealogy piece on her next season. I believe they are going to do a DNA on her. She is very excited about it.
We have a lot of information on our ancestors and if the show finds something new we will be thrilled.  I really appreciate your newsletter!
Always, Irma Nelda Longoria de Cavazos

You may consider this strange content for a letter to the editor.  But it makes sense to me, as possibly a way to reach some "lost" classmates.  The class of 1959 from Incarnate Word High School in San Antonio, Texas will gather in October 2009 for our 50th class reunion.  Some members of our class were boarding students; they came from Texas, Mexico, Venezuela, etc.  On many we have no addresses, so I'm hoping that just maybe some receive Somos Primos and will contact me.  Thank you so much.

Suzanne Brown, IWHS '59
Suzy B. Burt

Msgt. Frank N. Lovato ret. (88), Bataan Death March, Hell Ship, and Japanese POW/slave camp survivor is once again fighting for his life, but this time, in the Albuquerque Veterans Hospital. His popular and acclaimed book, SURVIVOR, has made people all over the world aware of his, and all the courageous men who defended the Philippines, supreme sacrifices and bravery. It is estimated that less than 100 of the original 12,000 plus Americans are still alive.

To send letters to Frank:
Veterans Administration Hospital
Msgt. Frank N. Lovato (ret.)
1501 San Pedro S.E.  4th Floor
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87108



Sent by Francisco L. Lovato

Editor:  I have a copy of SURVIVOR. 
Very powerful and moving . . well written,
intimate details of tragic treatment
 Somos Primos Staff:   .
Mimi Lozano, Editor
Mercy Bautista Olvera
Bill Carmena
Lila Guzman
Luke Holtzman
Granville Hough
John Inclan
Galal Kernahan
J.V. Martinez
Dorinda Moreno
Michael Perez
Rafael Ojeda
Ángel Custodio Rebollo
Tony Santiago
John P. Schmal
Howard Shorr 
Ashley Wolfe
Contributors to August Issue
Dorina Alaniz Thomas, Ph.D. 
Dan Arellano
Armando Ayala, Ph.D.
Lisa Baker
Mercy Bautista Olvera
Suzy Brown Burt
Jaime Cader
Sara Ines Calderon
Bill Carmena
Vivian Carranza
Jack Cowan
Henry Cruz
Mimi Ko Cruz
Sal Del Valle
Joel Escamilla
Jim Estrada
Lori Frain
Arnoldo Garcia
Eddie Garcia
James E. Garcia
Robert Gonzalez
Galen D. Greaser
Luis Griswold
Walter Herbeck
Rita Hernandez, Ph.D.
Sergio Hernandez
Uriel Ingiuez
Ken Kentara
Larry Kirkpatrick
Rick Leal
Jose Antonio Lopez
Irma Longoria de Cavazos
Francisco L. Lovato

Bill Luna
Jean Hodgeson Nauman
Ana M. Malinalcihuatl
Juan Marinez
J.V. Martinez, Ph.D.
J. Molina
Carlos Munoz, Ph.D.
Paul Nauta
R.J. Molina
Dorinda Moreno
Paul Newfield, Jr. III

Maria Angeles O'Donnell Olson
Rafael Ojeda
Gloria Oliver
Felipe de Ortego y Gasco, Ph.D.
Jose R. Oural
Jose M. Pena
Nancy Phillips
Custodio Rebollo
Crispin Rendon
Jose Leon Robles de la Torre
Viola Sadler
Carlos Sanchez
Melinda Sanchez
Tom Sanchez
Richard G. Santos
John P. Schmal 
Edward Serros
Frank Sifuentes
Teresa Sitz
Cynthia A. Smith
Robert Smith
Suzanne Smith
Mira Smithwick
Gil Sperry
ErLinda Torres
Paul Trejo
Jim Tuck
Margarita B. Velez
Sylvia Villarreal Biznar
Jennifer Vo 

SHHAR Board:  Bea Armenta Dever, Gloria Cortinas Oliver, Mimi Lozano Holtzman, Pat Lozano, Michael Perez, Viola Rodriguez Sadler, John P. Schmal, Tomas Saenz, Cathy Tapia Luijt. 



Querer es Poder: 50 Examples
Hispanics Breaking Barriers, Part VIII by Mercy Bautista-Olvera
Tony (The Marine) Santiago received an Unexpected Letter of Appreciation 
Edwardo Pena 2009 Received the National Hispanic Hero Award
The life of Dr. Hector P. Garcia Honored at the 61st Annual Conference
Legacy of Valor Memory Photo at GI Forum Conference
Inspiration of Dr. Hector P. Garcia Life results in AMVETS Post
Astronaut taking Twitter to space en Español

"No man can find a true expression for living 
who is ashamed of himself or his people."
Reporter Ruben Salazar


Querer es Poder
' Photo Exhibit 
Wins Top CASE Award for Best Diversity Program|
June 26, 2009 :: No. 222


Cal State Fullerton’s “Querer es Poder: 50 Examples” photo exhibit of 50 of its successful Latino alumni has won a gold medal in the 2009 Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) Circle of Excellence Awards Program.

Judges said the exhibit was chosen for the national award — the top winner in the Diversity Programs category — because it was the first time Latino alumni had been honored in such a way and because the exhibit helps to educate the public while embracing a culture that may be the majority in California by 2017.

Lft to rgt: Exhibit designer Alexandra Duron 
and project creators Frances Teves and Mimi Ko Cruz. 
Photo by Stephen Weissbart

"We created this exhibit to motivate kids to aspire for a college education by putting accomplished role models on display. It is critical to reach Latino youngsters because studies show that the high school dropout rates are much higher for Latinos than for any other group in the nation. In California, it is expected that the Latino population will be the majority by 2020. So, it is imperative to find ways to enhance higher education outcomes for the state's biggest and fastest-growing ethnic group. Our hope is that young people will identify with the stars of 'Querer es Poder: 50 Examples' and be inspired to emulate them by pursuing a college degree."

Mimi Ko Cruz

The CASE Circle of Excellence Awards Program recognizes superior accomplishments in institutional advancement that have a lasting impact, demonstrate the highest level of professionalism and epitomize the profession’s best practices.

Motivating young people to attain a college education is the aim of “Querer es Poder: 50 Examples.” It was created as part of Cal State Fullerton’s 50th anniversary and opened at Santa Ana City Hall in March 2008. The exhibit traveled to Irvine City Hall and Fullerton City Hall before making its way to Cal State Fullerton’s Pollak Library, where it has been on display since last summer.

Querer es poder is Spanish for “if you have the desire, you can achieve.” As a way of spotlighting the university’s Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) designation, the exhibit features alumni who exemplify the “Querer es Poder” theme. Campus deans and other administrators, plus faculty and staff members submitted nominations, and a 50th anniversary committee made the final selection.

Cal State Fullerton was named an HSI in 2004. The designation is given by the U.S. Department of Education to higher education institutions with at least a 25 percent Hispanic student population. CSUF’s student enrollment is 28 percent Hispanic.

The exhibit’s photographer, Ed Carreón, also is one of the 50 subjects. The other featured alumni are: Santa Ana City Councilwoman Claudia C. Alvarez; Mt. San Antonio Community College District Board President Manuel Baca; Santa Ana City Councilman Carlos Bustamante; Fulbright scholar Andrea C. Cano; California Sen. Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana); John Cruz, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s appointments secretary; restaurateur Rosalina Davis; Diana M. de la Teja Torres, pricing specialist at Boeing; David De Leon, a manager at John Wayne Airport; author Gloria DeLaTorre-Wycoff; John Echeveste, partner in the Valencia, Perez and Echeveste Public Relations firm; Moreno Valley City Manager Robert G. Gutierrez; Newport Heights Elementary School teacher

David A. Hernandez; optometrist and Assemblyman Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina); John C. Hernandez, Santiago Canyon College vice president of student services; Long Beach City Clerk Larry G. Herrera; Lawrence R. Labrado, Rancho Santiago Community College District trustee; Carlos Leija, chief development officer for Orangewood Children’s Foundation; filmmaker Alejandro P. Lopez; M. Alexander Lopez, senior territory manager for Allergan Inc.; Maria Sanchez Macias, retired teacher and mother of Congresswomen Linda and Loretta Sanchez; E. Michael Madrid, Chapman University’s education director; Angela Mannen, anthropology professor at El Camino College; Santa Ana City Councilwoman Michele Martinez; dentist Daniel Mendoza; Henry Mendoza, managing partner of Mendoza, Berger & Co.; radio and television sports commentator José Mota; NASA engineer Robert Navarro; Fernando D. Ortiz, chair of Santa Ana College’s Ethnic Studies Department; Santa Ana Mayor Miguel A. Pulido; Fullerton City Councilwoman Sharon Quirk; attorney Ralph C. Quiroz; Imelda Ramirez, account manager for Applied Industrial Technologies; Manuel J. Ramirez, president of Ramirez International; retired Los Angeles Times staff writer H.G. Reza; Philip C. Rodriguez, director of student affairs at Cerritos College; forensic interviewer Adriana Patricia SanRoman; Lucy Santana, executive director of Girls Inc.; engineer Judith Segura, director of program development for Global Imprints LLC.; Genevieve Barrios Southgate, assistant director of education at Bowers Museum; Lilia Margarita Tanakeyowma, Santa Ana College’s dean of student affairs; social worker Rocio Valencia; Francisco J. Valle, president of Valle Consulting; Vikki Vargas, Orange County bureau chief for NBC/4-TV; artist Emigdio Vasquez; Juan Vázquez, president of Santiago Canyon College; Yesenia Velez, director of diversity for Orange County United Way; Sharone Carmona Williams, doctoral candidate at Claremont Graduate University; and Edgar Zazueta, legislative advocate for the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Biographies of the subjects, as well as video of the Santa Ana exhibit opening and the Fullerton City Hall opening, are available.

The exhibit’s creators are Fullerton resident Mimi Ko Cruz, CSUF communications specialist, and Huntington Beach resident Frances Teves, director of state relations and advocacy for Cal State Fullerton. Santa Ana resident Alexandra Duron, a CSUF graduate art major, designed the exhibit.

The project was produced and sponsored by the offices of Public Affairs, Government Relations and Student Affairs and funded by a CSUF 50th anniversary Golden Idea grant.  The photo exhibit — now on permanent display in Cal State Fullerton’s Pollak Library — is located on the first floor, adjacent to the Chicana and Chicano Resource Center.  For more information about the exhibit, contact the project’s coordinators: Ko Cruz, 657-278-7586; Teves, 657-278-5188; or Silas H. Abrego, associate vice president for student affairs, 657-278-3221.

Photos: Available online at
Sent by Mimi Ko Cruz  mkocruz@Exchange.FULLERTON.EDU





Mercy Bautista-Olvera


In the coming months this series “Hispanics Breaking Barriers” will present the   contributions of Hispanics in United States government and leadership. Their contributions have improved not only the local community but the country as well.   Sadly, they have not always received their due recognition. Their struggles, stories, and accomplishments will by example, illustrate to our youth and to future generations that everything and anything is possible.  

John U. Sepúlveda:  Assistant Secretary for Human Resources and Administration for the Department of Veterans Affairs (Confirmed)  

Kathleen “Kathy” Martinez :
Disability Management Consultant in the Labor Department (Confirmed)

Luis de Baca:
Ambassador-At-Large and Director of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, State Department (Confirmed)

Peter S. Silva:
Assistant Administrator for Water Programs in Environmental Protection Agency (Confirmed)  

Mercedes Marquez:
Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development in Department of Housing and Urban Development (Confirmed)


John U. Sepulveda

 John U. Sepúlveda   

John U. Sepúlveda Senior Vice President for Operations in the National Association of Mortgage Brokers has been confirmed by the Senate to serve as Department Assistant Secretary for Human Resources for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in the Obama’s administration. He served on the Obama Presidential Transition Team as an advisor to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) agency review team.  

John U. Sepúlveda was born in New York, of Puerto Rican descent he is married to Awilda Rodriguez-Sepúlveda.  

In 1977, Sepúlveda earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Hunter College and a Masters of Philosophy from Yale University .  

In 1993, Sepúlveda held various local and state executive and appointed positions in Connecticut.  Early in his career, he taught Political Science at  Hunter   College and Yale University .  

Sepúlveda successfully managed a $5 billion portfolio of federally insured hospital mortgages at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. He also led efforts to restructure and reengineer several major programs within the Federal Housing Administration.    

From 1996-1997, Sepúlveda served at the White House in the Office of Presidential Personnel, he was instrumental in promoting greater diversity throughout the U.S. government. Sepulveda successfully managed a $5 billion portfolio of federally insured hospital mortgages.    

Since 2004, Sepúlveda has served on a special panel advising the Director of National Intelligence and various intelligence agencies on human capital and diversity policy issues.  

Sepúlveda served on the White House Inter-Agency Task Force on Asian American and Pacific Islanders, the President's Council for Y2K Conversion, and the President's Council on Integrity and Efficiency.  

"I am grateful to again have the opportunity to serve my country as a member of the Obama Administration," Sepulveda said. "I am also honored to be on Secretary Shinseki's team focused on how to better serve those who have sacrificed so much for us: our Veterans and their families," said Sepúlveda at his confirmation. 

Sepúlveda serves as principal advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Defense General Eric Shinseki’s, his executive staff, and the department’s human resources managers and practitioners on matters pertaining to human resources; labor-management relations; diversity management and equal employment opportunity; resolution management; employee health and safety; workers’ compensation; and VA Central Office administration.   

Sepúlveda brings over 25 years of experience as an innovative leader in the public and private sectors.  As Deputy Director of the Office of Personnel Management, Sepúlveda led various initiatives to promote greater diversity throughout the U.S. Government, including increasing the representation of Latinos within the Federal workforce. 


 Kathleen “Kathy” Martinez

Kathleen “Kathy” Martinez Supervisor of the national Technical Assistance Center for Latinos with disabilities, as well as the International Disability Exchanges and Studies (IDEAS) has been confirmed by the Senate to serve as a Disability Management Consultant in the Labor Department for Obama Administration. Kathy has been blind since birth, but she breaks the barriers of myth and stereotype by educating customers with disabilities, using humor and practical approaches toward working with customers with disabilities.   

Kathy Martinez was raised in Oakland , CA ; her formative experiences were as a student in one of California 's earliest integrated public school programs. She comes from a family of six children.  As a teenager, she was involved in both the women's movement and the farm workers movement, but without feeling completely "included." “Organizers of those movements found it difficult to get past my blindness and make use of my skills”. Therefore, in April of 1977 when handed a Braille flyer about a civil rights protest by disabled people being held in San Francisco , bringing together hundreds of people with every imaginable disability, and their allies, was the critical development that landed me in the midst of the emerging disability rights movement, led in Berkeley . “As a Latina , I was so impressed to see such a varied mix of ethnicities, ages, races and disability types, as well as support from the broader civil rights community”,   said Martinez .  

Martinez served as the director of blind services for the Center for Independent Living (CIL) in Berkeley , which taught her to work on a daily basis with people with other types of disabilities. Since the concepts of "accommodations" and "personal assistance" were still more on paper than available in the workplace, employees created their own symbiotic support systems, such as blind people carrying out physical tasks, while physically disabled workers served as readers or guides.  

In 1997, Martinez served in the International Labor Organization to carry out a leadership development project with disabled women in Namibia . She led the Leadership Forum for Women with disabilities.   

In the 1999, Martinez served in the International Summit on Independent Living. These projects and other international leadership development grants administered by World Institute on Disability have given her the opportunity to work closely with U.S. and international leaders.     

"As a Latina who is blind, I have first-person experience with the low expectations and assumptions of the majority culture," Martinez says. "I have seen many disabled Latinos live down to these diminished expectations. They become overwhelmed by isolation, are disconnected from the service-delivery system and do not have disabled Latino professionals to look up to or network with. Unfortunately, even those who do access resources often are not receiving appropriate service,” she said.

In 2002, President George W. Bush appointed Martinez as one of 15 members of the National Council on Disability, and independent federal agency advising the president and Congress on disability policy.  

In 2005, Martinez directed "Proyecto Visión" (Vision Project). She has served in the World Institute on disabilities based in Oakland , California . Martinez specializes in employment, asset building, independent living, international development, and diversity and gender issues.    


Luis C. de Baca

Luis C. de Baca Counsel in the House Judiciary Committee has been confirmed by the Senate to serve as Ambassador-At-Large and Director of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons State Department in Obama’s Administration in the State Department. “It is a debasement of our common humanity whenever we see something like that taking place,” de Baca said at his 2009 confirmation.

Luis C. de Baca was born in 1967 in New Mexico and raised on a cattle farm in Huxley , Iowa .

In 1990, Luis C. de Baca earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Iowa State University and then moved to Ann Arbor , where he attended Michigan Law School , earning a Jurist Degree from the University of Michigan Law School, here he led the Hispanic Law Students Association and was an editor of the Michigan Law Review.    

Luis C. de Baca served as Counsel to the U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary, from the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, including National Security, intelligence, immigration, civil rights and modern slavery issues.  

Since 1993, de Baca joined the Justice Department during the Clinton Administration he served as involuntary servitude and slavery coordinator. He developed the country’s victim-centered approach to combating modern slavery with hands-on approach to the problem, investigating and prosecuting cases farm labor, domestic service and indentured factory work, de Baca successfully took on a Mexican ring that forced thousands of deaf Mexican workers into servitude selling trinkets in U.S. subways and on the streets. He has convicted more than 100 traffickers, rescued and rehabilitated over 500 former slaves.  

During President George W. Busch administration, de Baca served as Involuntary Servitude and Slavery Coordinator for the Department of Justice.  

In 2000, de Baca served as Chief Counsel of the Civil Rights Division’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit. He tried several landmark cases, including United States v Kil Soo Lee, which freed over 200 Vietnamese and Chinese workers trapped in a garment factory in American Samoa . It was the largest slavery prosecution in U.S. history.   

De Baca received the Directors’ Award from the Executive Office of United States attorneys for his work on the New York “Deaf Mexican” trinket peddling slavery case, awarded the Department’s highest litigation honor- the Attorney General John Marshall Award – for his work as lead counsel in path-breaking prostitution slavery case in Florida . John de Baca was awarded with the Freedom Network’s Pay & Sheila Wellstone Award, and has been named the Michigan Law School ’s Distinguished Latino Alumnus.  

In 2007-2009, de Baca served as Counsel in the House Judiciary Committee. He has convicted more than 100 traffickers, and has helped rescue and rehabilitate over 600 former slaves.

Peter S. Silva

Peter S. Silva Senior Policy Advisor for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California has been confirmed by the Senate to serve as Assistant Administrator for Water Programs in Environmental Protection Agency in Obama’s Administration. Silva would be in charge of the agency's programs implementing the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Peter S. Silva was born in Brawley California in Imperial Valley, his parents were Mexican immigrants, his father was a farm worker who came to United States and worked under the Bracero Act in the 1940’s.

Peter S. Silva graduated from California Polytechnic University in Pomona ,   studying Water Resources. He is married to Ana Bertha Silva.

President Clinton appointed Silva to Board of the Border Environment Cooperation Commission as Deputy General Manager based in Ciudad Juarez Mexico , a joint U.S. – Mexican organization that helps implement the boundary and water treaties of the two countries. He also served four years in charge of the San Diego office of the International Boundary & Water Commission, and five years with the California Regional Water Quality Board in San Diego .  

Silva served Vice Chairman for Metropolitan Water Department on the California Water Resources Control Board on the Democrat and Republican Governors Gray Davis and Arnold Schwarzenegger.     

Silva is a register civil engineer for the state of California , with 32 years of experience; he is currently serves as a policy advisor to the Metropolitan Water district of Southern California, who specializes in Colorado River issues.  

 “While we have made great progress (in water issues), Silva said that we are seeing great challenge’s in nonpoint pollution, emerging pollutants, noting that the water sector is seeing a merging of issues from the drinking water and wastewater side. “There is a growing nexus in the way we supply water and how we face environmental impacts,” He pointed out the increased use of water recycling. The desalination in the response to drought and increased water demands as well. Even potable reuse is being considered,” Silva said.  


 Mercedes Marquez

Mercedes Marquez General Manager of the City of Los Angeles Housing Department has been confirmed by the Senate to serve as Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Marquez will lead HUD's Office of Community Planning and Development, designed to stimulate community development, affordable housing, and a variety of special needs assistance programs. “I commit to bring a disciplined focus to Community Planning and Development and will work to insure accountability, transparency, expertise and flexibility that support the efforts of local government.” Marquez said.  

Mercedes Marquez grew up in San Francisco , Calif. She earned her Bachelors from the University of Southern California and her Jurist Degree and Master of Laws (LL.M) from Georgetown University .  

Marquez and her partner Mirta Ocaña live in California .  

In 1992, Martinez joined the law firm Litt & Stormer; she specialized in complex public-interest litigation including fair-housing lawsuits and poor quality housing.  

Marquez served as General Council, Department of Housing and Urban Development (1997 to 2001). In 1997, Marquez joined the Clinton administration as the Senior Counsel to then-HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo.  She advised on civil-rights policy, fair-housing enforcement and housing-discrimination cases. She also led efforts to improve housing in rural areas, Native American reservations and in “colonias” (towns), along the U.S.-Mexico border.  

From 2001-2004, Marquez served as Vice President for McCormack Baron Salazar, Inc., later she served as General Manager for Los Angeles Department of Housing Department; here she helped fund new affordable housing. She developed strategies for incentivizing the building of low-income housing and helped shepherd the city through the subprime mortgage crisis.    

Marquez helped to develop a strategy to address the massive foreclosure rate in California . Marquez has already dealt directly with almost all of the HUD programs she will be overseeing in her former roles as general counsel and head of Los Angeles ’ Housing Department. One of her biggest victories was successfully lobbying for regulations that limit the size of remodeled homes.  

In 2007, Marquez lobbied for the reauthorization of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, it funded homeless support programs. She will be responsible for overseeing the measure’s implementation. “Most of the housing and services dollars that come to Los Angeles are not specifically tailored to combat homelessness.” Marquez said.  

Marquez experience has given her a clear understanding of how the federal government can best help cities. Marquez supports earmarking funds for permanent housing for people with disabilities and coordination with the low-income housing tax-credit program which provides credits to developers who set aside at least 20 percent of their housing for low-income.





Tony (The Marine) Santiago
Who received an
Unexpected Letter of Appreciation 


Mimi, I want to share with you the following, sometimes the best things happen when you least expect them and from people that you have never met. Like the time that the Puerto Rican Government presented me with the Resolution in recognition of my written work. Two days ago I received a package. To my surprise, the Chief of the Maintenance Management, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (Fwd.) United States Marine Corps, Cpl . R.P. Lemiszki, sent me a letter, in which he recognizes my ongoing contributions to the military community. Now get this, he also sent an American Flag which was flown over the 2nd Marine Aircraft (Fwd) Headquarters, Marine Air Base, Al Asad, Iraq during Operation Iraqui Freedom. This was really an unexpected honor, don't you think? I'm sending you a copy of the USMC letter and some pictures which I want to share with you and our readers.  


                              Tony (The Marine) Santiago and granddaughters (l.-R.)                            Isabel Santiago and Nina Skrdla-Santiago with the Flag 

Cpl. Robert Lemiszki poses with the Flag 
before sending to me.





Edwardo Pena 2009 Received the National Hispanic Hero Award

Presented by the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute



Editor:  There is a wonderful video of Edwardo Pena sharing highlights in his life that shaped his commitment to the Hispanic community. 

Eduardo Pena received the 2009 National Hispanic Hero Award on March 20, 2009in Chicago, which included a video tribute.  The award was presented by the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute (USHLI) during the organization's 27th annual conference, which was attended by over 6,000 past, present and future leaders representing 40 states.Eduardo Pena joins Cesar Chavez, Hank Lacayo, Dr. Antonia Pantoja, Dr. Hector Garcia, Dr. Antonia Novello, Willie Velasquez, Raul Yzaguirre and Dolores Huerta among other National Hispanic Heroes whose lives and careers have made America a better and stronger nation and improved the quality of life and opportunities for the Hispanic community. 

Sponsorship opportunities information for the 2010 National Hispanic Hero Award video tribute can be obtained by contacting Dr. Juan Andrade at: 312-427-8683
 Rocket Productions is a full service video production company with creative and media buying services located in downtown Chicago.  Founded by former NBC producer Hector Perez, Rocket has produced hundreds of broadcast quality programs.  Rocket works in both the English and Spanish markets. Hector can be reached at  
or at 312-431-1040. Rocket Productions is a member of the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Rocket is located at 800 S. Wells, Suite 521, Chicago, IL 60607. Rocket's website site: 


A presentation on the life of one of the nation’s great civil rights leaders:

 Dr. Hector P. Garcia 

Hosted at the 61st Annual State Conference of the American G.I. Forum


WACO, Texas – A presentation on the life of one of the nation’s great civil rights leaders was hosted by Baylor University as part of the 61st Annual State Conference of the American G.I. Forum, on June 5th at Baylor University.

Dr. Thomas Kreneck, associate director for special collections and archives at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi presented “The Dr. Hector P. Garcia Story” at 3:30 p.m., Friday, June 5, in the Hankamer School of Business’ Kayser Auditorium in the Cashion Academic Center.

Garcia founded the American G.I. Forum in 1948 initially to improve veteran benefits and enhance medical attention. But it soon expanded to address educational and vocational training, housing, public education, poll taxation, voter registration, hospitalization and employment. Today the American G. I. Forum has nearly 160,000 members in more than 500 chapters across the U.S.

At the time of his death in 1996, Garcia’s papers were conveyed to Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, and the collection is considered a centerpiece of the holdings of the university’s Mary and Jeff Bell Library. Garcia's papers contain his voluminous archives dealing with the American G.I. Forum and cover the major issues faced by Mexican Americans during his career as a champion of civil rights, Kreneck said.

“Garcia’s papers comprise one of the most valuable resources in existence on the Mexican-American experience during the last half of the 20th century,” Kreneck said. “By his death in 1996, he was the elder statesman of Hispanic civil rights in this country.” 

Following the lecture, Baylor will hosted a reception for American G.I. Forum conference participants along with a tour of the Baylor campus. The events at Baylor were part of the three-day state conference that also featured presentations by Edwin A. “Buddy” Grantham, director of the Office of Veterans’ Affairs for the City of Houston; Texas Sen. Leticia Van de Putte of San Antonio; and a “Vets and Friends Salute” to Texas Rep. Chet Edwards for his work as chairman of the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee in the Texas Legislature. 

About Dr. Hector P. Garcia

A descendant of Spanish land grantees, Garcia was born in the city of Llera, Tamaulipas, Mexico. His family fled the violence of the Mexican Revolution in 1917, legally immigrating to Mercedes, Texas. His parents instilled a love and respect for education in all of their 10 children, six of whom become medical doctors.

In 1929, Garcia joined the Citizens Military Training Corps, a peacetime branch of the United20States Army. He graduated from high school in 1932, and in the same year earned a commission from the CMTC with a rank equivalent to a second lieutenant in the U.S. infantry. He began attending Edinburg Junior College, and later entered the University of Texas at Austin, graduating with a degree in zoology among the top ten of his class. He went on to study at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, earning his medical degree in 1940. He completed his medical residency program at St. Joseph's Hospital at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb.

Upon completing his residency in 1942, Garcia volunteered for combat in the army, where he was placed in command of a company of infantry. Later, he commanded a company of combat engineers before being transferred to the medical corps. He was stationed in Europe, where he rose to the rank of major and earned the Bronze Star and six battle stars. While in Italy, he met and fell in love with Wanda Fusillo of Naples. The couple married in 1945 and had four children.

In 1946, with the war over, Garcia returned to South Texas, settling in Corpus Christi, where the League of United Latin American Citizens had been formed to defend the rights of Hispanic Americans seven years earlier. He opened a private medical practice with his brother Jose, where he treated all patients regardless of their ability to pay. In 1947, he was elected president of the local chapter of LULAC. In the same year he was hospitalized with life-threatening acute nephritis. While recuperating, he heard the local superintendent of schools bragging about the segregation in his district. At that moment, he made a private oath that if he recovered he would dedicate his life to the equality of his people.

After being discharged from the hospital, he began helping other Mexican American veterans file claims with the Veterans Administration. On March 26, 1948, he called a meeting to address the concerns of Mexican American veterans. This meeting developed into the American G.I. Forum, which soon had chapters in 40 Texas cities and became the primary vehicle by which Mexican American veterans asserted their right to equality and expressed their discontent with that period’s discriminatory policies against them. The name was chosen to emphasize the fact that the Forum's participants were American citizens entitled to their Constitutional rights. 

The burial of a veteran killed in action helped launch the Forum as a full civil rights organization. In 1945, a Japanese sniper killed Mexican American Pvt. Felix Longoria in the Philippines. His body was returned to Texas in 1949, where his widow's request of the use of the funeral chapel in Three Rivers was denied, the funeral director claiming that "the whites won't like it.” Garcia and the American G.I. Forum intervened, petitioning then-senator Lyndon B. Johnson for redress. Johnson secured the hero's burial in Arlington National Cemetery, making Longoria the first Mexican American to be awarded the honor. The issue garnered national attention after being published in20the New York Times, and propelled the G.I. Forum to the forefront of the movement for civil rights. 

The American G.I. Forum became a recognized voice for Mexican Americans in the post-World War II era. Besides providing veterans a social and political network, the forum also raised funds to pay the then-required poll taxes of the indigent and campaigned against the Bracero Program, infamous for exploiting migrant laborers. Garcia testified before the National Advisory Committee on Farm Labor, asserting that "T= he migrant problem is not only a national emergency, it has become a national shame on the American conscience." In 1953, the G.I. Forum published its own study on farm labor in South Texas, as well as having Lyndon Johnson speak at their statewide convention. 

In 1954, attorneys funded by the G.I. Forum and LULAC argued and won Hernandez v. Texas in the Supreme Court of the United States. The decision, one of the Warren court's first, threw out the plaintiff's murder conviction on the grounds that he had not had a jury of his peers. Court records showed that no one with a Spanish surname had served on a jury in the county where the original trial was held for 25 years. The desegregating decision in Brown v. the Board of Education was handed down the next year, with its extension to integrated education for Mexican American citizens being pursued by LULAC and the G.I. Forum in the Texas Supreme Court cases against several South Texas school districts.

In 1960, Garcia became national coordinator of the Viva Kennedy clubs organized to elect John Kennedy president. He is credited with delivering 85 percent of the Hispanic vote to the Democratic party in that close election. The civil rights agenda of the Forum, however, was not at the forefront of the Kennedy administration's platform, and Garcia and his supporters were forced to content themselves wi th his perfunctory appointment as representative of the United States in mutual defense treaty talks with the Federation of West Indies Islands in 1962. The talks were successful, and the appointment was notable as the first instance that a Mexican American had represented an American president. 

In 1966, through the efforts of the Forum and other groups, the Texas poll tax was repealed. The forum also undertook a march on the Texas state capital to protest the low wages of Mexican agricultural laborers. In 1967, President Johnson appointed Garcia alternate ambassador to the United Nations, tasked with the improvement of relations with Latin American nations. He made history when, on Oct. 26, he became the first United States representative to speak before the U.N. in a language other than English. Starting in 1968, Garcia and the other members of the G.I. Forum began accompanying families of fallen soldiers to the airport to collect the bodies when they returned from Vietnam. He would often eulogize the soldier, and never refused a request to speak at any funeral.

In the same year, President Johnson appointed him to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. In 1972, Garcia joined a sit-in= protest of the de facto segregation in the Corpus Christi school district and was arrested with other protesters. He consulted with President Jimmy Carter several times during the 1970s. In 1987, he became involved in the struggle against the campaign to name English the official language of the United States. His final project was to improve the standard of living in the colonias in the Rio Grande Valley along the United States–Mexico border.

As one of the early pioneers of Hispanic civil rights, Garcia's activities foreshadowed much of the struggle of the Chicano Movement. His life’s work has had an impact at all levels of society, from the poor barrios that he fought to improve, to the highest echelons of government. His work affected popular culture as well. In 1950, Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Edna Ferber interviewed Garcia to get a sense of the Mexican American experience in Texas for her 1952 novel Giant, basing some of the incidents in the work on her interview. The book was later turned into a 1956 film starring James Dean, Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson and Dennis Hopper. 

Garcia was awarded the Distinguished Service Award from the National Office of Civil Rights in 1980 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1984. In 1988, the main branch of the Corpus Christi post office was renamed in his honor. In 1996, a nine-foot statue of him was dedicated at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi campus, and in 1999, his image was placed on the U.S. Treasury's $75 I Bond series honoring great Americans. Today, the Hector P. Garcia Middle School educates more than 800 students in grades 6-8 in Dallas, and Garcia’s commitment to education as= the foundation of American democracy lives on in the American G.I. Forum motto: "Education is our freedom, and freedom should be everybody's business."

Manuel Sustaita, 254-756-5785 or 254-716-1815,  
Jill Scoggins, 254-710-1964 or 254-652-9765, jill_scoggins@bay

Sent by Daughter, Wanda Garcia



Legacy of Valor Ten-year old Photo at GI Forum Conference

About ten years ago, during the national GI Forum conference, two distinguished looking gentlemen came by the booth.  At that time, I did now know who they were.  They took their time looking at the exhibit. Afterwards, they introduced themselves and congratulated me for the fine exhibition.  They asked if  they could take a picture with me.  
I said, "Yes, Sir."

We were all three ready to have our picture taken . . when one of them said, "Wait, we don't want to take our picture without our G.I. Forum caps on.  They both agree . . . no picture without an American G.I. Forum cap on.  I walked out to the main lobby and stopped two men. I  told them I needed their caps.  They thought I was crazy, but they followed me back to the booth. 

I introduced them to the two gentlemen and they said.  You don't have to introduce them to us.  We know who they are.  They are both giants within our community.  

                                                   Left to right: Honorable Virgilio Roel, Retired Judge, Texas
                                           Rick Leal, and Honorable Harold Valderas, Retired Judge, Texas

I learned quickly that these gentleman were indeed giants and involved in several big cases having to do with Dr. Garcia and the American G.I. Forum.  As each man took his cap off and handed it to the one of  the two gentlemen, with great respect, they said in Spanish, "Con mucho gusto, es un honor,"  The picture was taken.

The gentlemen were: Superior Court Judge Virgilio Roel (Retired), age, 84 and Appellate Court Judge Harold Valderas (Retired) age, 86.  They were members of the G.I. Forum for many, many years involved with many cases relating to the struggle of our people.

We lost Judge Valderas. He passed away March 2008.
Yesterday, June 24, I finally made contact with his son Harold Valderas, Jr. who lives in Austin, Texas.  He manages his own company and is doing very well.



Inspiration of Dr. Hector P. Garcia results in AmVets Post

Left to right at podium: Louis Rodriguez, Illinois State Commander, AGIF; 
Al Galvan, Former Illinois State Commander, AGIF, and Bill Luna, Commander and Founder of the Dr. Hector P. Garcia AMVETS Post 326, Little Village area of Chicago..


AMVETS Post #326
June 20, 2009

Dear Wanda:

I was a member of the American GI Forum for many years. I began to feel that many in the GI Forum were not fully aware of what your Dad had actually accomplished.  I felt it had strayed away from being a veterans' organization to a social club.  I found out about the AMVETS organization from a friend of mine.  

This is when I decided to start an AMVETS post in your Dad's name. I wrote a letter to your Mom asking permission to do so. After getting  permission I gathered 12 of my friends (who were all veterans) and started the Post. 

On June 28, 2004 we officially were chartered in Chicago, Illinois as the Dr. Hector P. Garcia Post 326. I chose the numbers 326 to reflect the founding of the American GI Forum on March 26, 1948. It is also the birthdate of my son William Thomas Luna. Currently, we have an Annual Cinco de Mayo Banquet (where we honor veterans), we award 8 AMVETS medals to outstanding JROTC cadets and 2 laptop computers (one donated by the UNO organization) to two of the most outstanding cadets (seniors) who will be going to college, are low-income, high GPA, and are involved in their community. 

Most of the awardees are female and all are Mexican American. We award these medals and laptops at their annual JROTC awards ceremony where we have worked with LTC Matich at Farragut Career Academy for many years. He always provides the color guard for our events. We also have a Birthday Commemoration for Manuel Perez Jr. who earned the Congressional Medal of Honor in WWI and was KIA. We conduct this ceremony at the Manuel Perez Plaza in Little Village. Some of us belong to the Manuel Perez American Legion Post 1017 in Little Village. 

We just recently received a Quality Post Award from AMVETS National Headquarters for our outstanding reporting responsibilities. The Illinois Department Commander also awarded us his Certificate of Appreciation for being an outstanding Post. In June I went to Springfield (our State Headquarters location) where I was re-appointed as the Jr AMVETS Coordinator for the State of Illinois at the Annual State Convention.  AMVETS is a very well-organized, professional veterans organization. I spoke at the Convention about the UNO school named for your Dad. They were very pleased that this happened. 

At the Convention our Post received a Membership Award for having a 100% membership for four consecutive years. I have been a Jr Vice, Sr Vice and Division Commander for AMVETS. I am still the Commander for Post 326. I am humbled and honored to be the Commander of this Post and promote the work and legacy that your Father set forth for our communities. It was an honor and pleasure to meet you and I hope that you saw the fruits of the work Dr. Rita Hernandez and I have attempted to accomplish in honor of your Father.
Below are the some of the photos and veterans that helped during June unveiling of the UNO Dr. Hector P. Garcia High School in Chicago.

Thank you and your family for setting the standards of achievement for our Mexican communities in this country.

Take care. Bill Luna 

Left to Right: Susana Mendoza, Illinois State Representative (Little Village); Bill Luna (Commander of the Dr. Hector P. Garcia AMVETS Post #326 and Commissioner Frank Avila, Metropolitan Water Reclamation Sanitary District (Chicago).



Astronaut taking Twitter to space en Español


Astronaut Jose Hernandez gets help with the donning of a training version of his shuttle launch and entry suit in preparation for a training session at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Texas. Hernandez is due to fly on the shuttle Discovery in August.

View related photos 
James Blair / NASA 

WASHINGTON - NASA has tweeted in space, but now one of its astronauts will tweet what no one has tweeted in orbit before: He’ll be sending his Twitter updates in Spanish as well as English.

Astronaut Jose Hernandez grew up in a migrant farming family and didn’t learn English until he was 12. He is scheduled to fly aboard the space shuttle Discovery in August and tweet bilingually from orbit. It will be his first flight.

His Twitter account is Astro_Jose. He has already started tweeting in both languages while training on the ground. The first tweet, or Twitter update, came on Monday: "El primer dia de nuestra semana de ensayo simulando nuestra primer semana en el espacio! First day of simulating our first week in space!"

Since then, Hernandez has alternated between Spanish and English. NASA says this is the agency’s first Twitter account in Spanish. Twitter is an increasingly popular service that lets users pass along 140-character messages to their "followers" from computers or mobile phones.

NASA astronaut Mike Massimino became the first astronaut to send tweets from orbit during May's mission to upgrade the Hubble Space Telescope, and the commander for this month's schedule flight to the international space station, Mark Polansky, has been tweeting for weeks.

This report includes information from The Associated Press and staff and news service reports   July 2, 2009 

Sent by Juan Marinez

Reaching for the Stars Foundation was formed in December 2005 and is a 501-C(3) Not for Profit organization. The Foundation was named after Astronaut Jose Hernandez in hopes that kids will follow his footsteps in reaching their goals no matter the obstacles.



Latino Exclusion from the History of Civil Rights
Immigrant Rights News

Joaquin Avila: Leads National Voting Rights Advocacy Initiative at law school
Death and American Guns in Mexico

Editor:  This new Civil Rights History Project Act  introduced by Senator Feinstein should be the perfect opportunity for historical inclusion.  I frankly can not figure out WHY the Hispanic/Latinos are not being included. Senator Feinstein explains that this project is FOR the contributions of African-Americans, but WHY?   The Civil Rights Movement included the efforts of Latinos and many other groups.  Presenting the Civil Rights History as exclusively African-American is incorrect history.  THIS is the time to be included, not in some possible future act.  THIS is time to show that many minorities were involved in bringing about civil rights.  

Unfortunately, the beating to death of Luis Ramirez reveals that the civil rights of Latinos are not taken seriously.   By being excluded from the history that shows that Latinos were among the earliest dedicated leaders in the Civil Rights Movement, we once again become invisible.  

PLEASE, PLEASE contact your US Senator, 202-224-3121.  Ask to be included.  
It is the correct history that the nation needs to know . . .  to better understand the present.  



Immigrant Rights News 
Posted from 1 to 5 times a week, and is for educational purposes only.
  Posted by Arnoldo Garcia



Joaquin Avila 
Leads National Voting Rights Advocacy Initiative at law school


One of the country’s foremost authorities on voting rights issues is heading a major national initiative at Seattle University School of Law to address issues of minority vote dilution. The School of Law is poised to become the national leader in combating electoral discrimination with the founding of the National Voting Rights Advocacy Initiative.  

Distinguished Practitioner in Residence Joaquin Avila will direct the groundbreaking project, which will serve as a national resource center for voting rights practitioners and advocates who are involved in litigation, legislative and advocacy efforts to eliminate methods of election that have a discriminatory effect on minority voting strength. 

The new initiative will be housed within the Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality.  

“This undertaking by Seattle University School of Law is unique,” said Professor Bob Chang, director of the Korematsu Center . “Seattle University School of Law is the only law school in the country that has established this innovative project in anticipation of the upcoming 2011 redistricting of election districts for members of Congress, city councils, school boards and the governing boards of other political entities.”  

The project will provide an opportunity for law students to work with people in the field on a variety of projects and tasks. In addition, a website will provide access to administrative determinations by the United States Attorney General pursuant to Section 5 of the federal Voting Rights Act, to legislative hearings surrounding the passage, amendments and reauthorization of the federal Voting Rights Act, to litigation manuals and pleadings focusing on legal challenges to redistricting plans and at-large methods of election, and to selected analysis of both federal and state voting rights cases. Law students will work on proposed legislation affecting the right to vote at the federal and state levels. The law school also will initiate a process for the documentation of voting rights abuses and problems that can be utilized in congressional oversight hearings.  

Avila will work with minority bar associations, national civil rights organizations and voting rights attorneys throughout the country. The data, expert reports and legal memoranda that will be generated and collected will provide scholars with research that will be useful in preparing articles and filing cases. He will continue to teach a voting rights course for the law school.  

He is excited to take on this new role and further his work to ensure that everyone has equal representation in elections. Avila developed his passion for ensuring equal representation for minorities while working for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund in the 1970s in rural Texas .  

“Mexican Americans weren’t receiving any kind of assistance, and you could see stark differences between the Mexican American and the non-Mexican American communities,” he said.  

His early work with MALDEF defined his career. Avila is a nationally recognized expert on Latina/o voting rights. He spent many years filing actions challenging discriminatory at-large methods of elections, gerrymandered election districts, violations of the one-person one-vote principle and non-compliance with the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965. From 1981 to 1982, he testified before various legislative committees and was involved in the efforts to both amend and reauthorize the Voting Rights Act in 1982.  

In 1985, Professor Avila established a private practice, focusing exclusively on protecting minority voting rights. He was instrumental in the dismantling of many discriminatory methods of election throughout California and parts of the Southwest. During this time period he also successfully argued two appeals in the United States Supreme Court involving enforcement of the special provisions of the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965 – one decision was unanimous and the other was 8-1.

He also spearheaded various legislative efforts in California to make the electoral process more accessible to Latinas/os. His most significant accomplishment in the legislative arena was the passage of the 2001 California State Voting Rights Act. This Act permits challenges to discriminatory at-large methods of elections in state courts without having to prove a host of evidentiary factors as required under the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965. This is the only state voting rights act in the nation.

Professor Avila has taught courses at the University of California/Berkeley, University of Texas, and UCLA schools of law. Professor Avila has received numerous awards in recognition of his work in the voting rights area. He received a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in 1996 for his voting rights work. In the same year, he received the Vanguard Public Foundation's Social Justice Sabbatical for his work in providing political access to minority communities. In 2001 he received the State Bar of California's Loren Miller Legal Services Award for providing outstanding legal services to disadvantaged and underserved communities. In 1986, he received the Hispanic National Bar Association's Benito Juarez/Abraham Lincoln Award for outstanding achievement and dedication to the Latino community.

Professor Avila is a member of the Bars for the State of California and the State of Texas (inactive) and is a member of the Bars for the United States Supreme Court, the federal Court of Appeals for the 5th, 9th, and 10th Circuits, and various federal district courts in Texas and California .  

For more information, contact Avila at 206-398-4117 or

The Link to the U.S. Supreme Court Decisions

Sent by Rafael Ojeda 



Death and American Guns in Mexico 

Editorial: New York Times, June 25, 2009


Drug-related murders in Mexico doubled last year, to 6,200, as cartels fight for the American addict’s dollar while relying on American gun dealers for their weapons. A new report to Congress traces over 90 percent of guns recovered in Mexican drug crimes in the last three years back across the border, where legal and illegal American dealers flout federal laws rife with loopholes.

The findings contradict gun rights groups’ claims that foreign dealers are supplying the cartels’ arms. In fact, 70 percent of 20,000 weapons recovered were traced to legal gun shops and unregulated gun shows in Texas, California and Arizona, according to the Government Accountability Office report.

The report confirmed the arguments of Mexican officials who are pressing Washington for stricter gun controls. While the Obama administration has sketched a new strategy to combat gun trafficking, the report warns of considerable obstacles.

It found that the separate American agencies charged with controlling the sales of firearms and policing immigration are doing a poor job of sharing information and coordinating policy. Gun tracking software is yet to be translated into Spanish for full use by Mexican authorities. What is also clear is that the American gun dealers — 6,700 of them clustered along the border — are supplying increasingly powerful military style weapons as the cartel wars intensify.

America must finally act. Private home-based dealers and gun show armorers should finally be regulated as rampant threats to public safety. Congress must repeal restrictions that prevent a national gun registry and bar local enforcement agencies from sharing in federal tracing information.
 is a leading news source and information portal that covers the ever increasing Latino population.

Mission Statement
The team is dedicated to finding the most relevant up to date news and information relevant to the Latino community. As an expanding community, it is imperative that, in this age of booming technological advancement, Latinos have a place on the web where they can read and get informed on the issues affecting the Latino community. aims to contribute to that end. is a product of Targeted Communications, a political consulting and media development firm. Targeted Communications is also the creator of, a Latino blogging platform, and The Mario Solis-Marich Show, a national syndicated progressive talk show.

Contact Us:  Email:

Sent by: Ricardo Valverde




The Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009
Resolution for First Texas Republic
National Network in Action

National Endowment for the Humanities Grants Available
Abstract: Monterey County attorney reappointed to California civil rights panel
Take Action to Save our State Parks

The Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009, Capitol switchboard
Call Your Senator at 202-224-3121


On July 14, 2008, Luis Ramirez lost his life after he was knocked unconscious and severely beaten by a group of Shenandoah teenagers who yelled racial epithets throughout the fatal beating. On Friday, May 1, 2009, a jury found two of the defendants not guilty, despite the mounting evidence of a hate-driven attack, the jury acquitted the defendants of third-degree murder and ethnic intimidation and only convicted them of simple assault.

Please contact your Senator.  Ask the Senate staffers the status of the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act.  If you don't know the name of your Senator, here's a helpful list, which also includes the direct number to their office. The Leadership Conference for Civil Rights has excellent resources with a backgrounder and talking points you can use to urge your Senator to vote for the Hate Crimes Bill, also known as LLEHCPA (Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act).


RESOLUTION for First Texas Republic


To be submitted to the next session of the Texas state legislature. I am seeking letters of support from individuals and groups. Please forward to your representatives. 
{ April 6TH To be recognized as a state holiday as the First Texas Republic and the Emerald Green Flag as the 7th flag that has flown over Texas }
{ Whereas on August 8th, 1812 the Republican Army of the North consisting of 142 American volunteers and 152 Tejano volunteers crosses the Sabine River into Texas and declares that Texas would be free from tyranny. 
{ Whereas on August 8th, 1812 Jose Bernardo Gutierrez de Lara and Augustus Magee as leaders of the Republican Army of the North lead the efforts to the founding of the first Republic of Texas 
{ Whereas after the four month siege of the presidio in Goliad, the “Battle of Rosillio,” the “Battle of Alazan,” the Republican Army of the North captures San Antonio, known then as “Bexar” 
{ Whereas on April 6th, 1813 in front of the Spanish Governors Palace in Bexar, Bernardo Gutierrez de Lara reads aloud the first written Texas Declaration of Independence 
{ Whereas  on April 10th, 1813 Bernardo Gutierrez de Lara reads aloud the first written Texas Constitution 
{ Whereas on August 18, 1813 the biggest and bloodiest battle for freedom ever fought on Texas soil was the “Battle of Medina”
{ Whereas the State of Texas does not recognize these historical facts
{ Whereas Texas LULAC at its 2009 annual convention formally endorses and supports this resolution. 
{ Let it be resolved that Texas LULAC call upon the Texas Legislature to adopt legislation to declare April 6th as an official state holiday and to recognize the Emerald Green Flag as an official state flag and to have the governor sign that legislation.
Dan Arellano Author/Historian
Vice President LULAC Council 4882



National Network in Action: 
Fresno Social Justice Organization
takes action

Pixley woman without running water for 2 years
Published online on Monday, Jun. 22, 2009
By Lewis Griswold / The Fresno Bee Photo, Craig Kohlruss


After more than two years of living without running water, Earlene Whitt, 76, finally got to take a long, hot shower in her rural Tulare County home. "It felt so good," Whitt said, remembering that April day. "I just wanted to stay in there."  Whitt credits her return to normalcy to the persistence of a Fresno social justice organization and a friend who took up her cause. In the end, a federal agency and a nonprofit group teamed to drill a new well -- for free.

Earlene Whitt stands by a dead tree in front of her home in Pixley.
Whitt lived without running water for more than two years because her
ground-water pump stopped working and she could not afford a
replacement.  <  get photo

"I thought it was a story of hope, of not giving up," said the Rev. Floyd Harris, founder of National Network in Action. "You just don't think folks in America live like this."  

After her well stopped working, Whitt got by using bottled water. To flush the toilet, she would manually fill the tank from a five-gallon jug. To bathe, she would heat water on the stove, pour it into a plastic wash basin, add cold water, then step in and take a towel bath. To wash dishes, she would boil water, pour it into the sink, set in the dishes and wait for the water to cool.

She washed clothes at a laundromat in nearby Pixley. She watched her trees die in the yard for lack of water.  "Mother, you can't live like this. Move out of this place!" her grown
children would urge. But she was reluctant to leave the property, which she has owned for four decades.

To get water, Whitt would drive 22 miles to Tulare two or three times a week, filling five-gallon jugs at the water machine in front of FoodsCo, at $1.25 per jug. Sometimes, she would back her car right up to the machine and lift the heavy jugs into the trunk by herself.

When Whitt ran short of money before the end of the month, she would have to resort to garden-hose water. She would fill the jugs for free at the Shiloh Church of God in Christ in Pixley. "I learned a trick about that -- you put the hose in the jug in the car," she said, and never have to lift. Usually, one of her children or young people from town would lug them into the home for her.

It got to this point because Whitt's well stopped working in late 2006. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development agency, which had fixed her old well when it acted up, told her the best solution was a new, deeper well. At the time, Whitt didn't qualify for money from Rural Development to dig a well because there is a lifetime limit of $7,500 in grants, and a new well costs more than that.

She couldn't get a loan from the county redevelopment agency because two years earlier it tore down her run-down home and built a 1,288-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bath home for $90,000.  Whitt has no monthly payment because the zero-percent loan is silent
for 30 years, although it must be paid off if the property is sold.  But the rules don't allow another loan, even for a well, for 10 years, and other sources of money were not available, officials said.

Whitt certainly couldn't afford a new well on her own -- she survives on $890 a month in Social Security -- so she made do. "It was a tough little go there," Whitt said. "No restroom, no bathroom -- that's miserable." But she didn't want to leave.

Whitt grew up in Minden, Texas, in the 1930s and '40s. She and her late husband, Verdell, a pastor, bought the two-acre property with a home east of Pixley in the late '60s. Last October, Grantrina Davis of Visalia, who grew up in Pixley, heard about Whitt's plight from her mother, who knows Whitt from church circles.

Davis paid Whitt a visit, then called Harris, whose National Network in Action has a motto of "Justice For All." Davis and Harris met with "Mother Whitt," as everyone calls her, and promised to get her a new well -- somehow. Harris went to her home and took a lot of photos. Then they started asking around for help. "I like helping people who don't have a voice," said Davis, who took Whitt's story of no running water to as many agencies and officials as she could find.

"They got some action," Whitt said. "They spoke up for me not one time but several times. They stayed right with it."  After hitting a few dead ends, Davis said, Rural Development approved a $5,727 home-repair grant and gave a $20,000 housing-preservation grant to the nonprofit Self-Help Enterprises in Visalia, which hired a contractor to build the new 500-foot-deep well and cap the old one.

Rural Development spokeswoman Sarah Pursley said the agency is proud of partnering with Self-Help to solve Whitt's well problem. The $20,000 grant to Self-Help was a key step. "I have to be grateful to them," Whitt said. "I'm just happy." Now a few trees and flowers are growing out front, and Whitt has planted a large garden of Swiss chard, beets, cabbage, black-eyed-peas, rutabagas and more. One of the secrets to life, Whitt said, is eating greens and vegetables. "Water is life," Whitt said. "You can have all the food and no water, and die."

The reporter can be reached at or (559) 622-2416.


National Endowment for the Humanities Grants Available
New application guidelines are now posted on the NEH Web site ( for our America's Historical and Cultural Organizations and Interpreting America’s Historic Places,  20grant competitions. The next two deadlines are August 26, 2009, and January 13, 2010.  
Grants support interpretive exhibitions, reading or film discussion series, historic site interpretation, lecture series and symposia, and digital projects.  Projects  are intended for broad public audiences at museums, libraries, historic sites and other historical and cultural organizations. NEH especially encourages projects that offer multiple formats and make creative use of new technology to deliver humanities content.
Program officers in the Division of Public Programs are available to assist you, whether it is to discuss project ideas or to read a draft of a proposal. Please call the NEH Division of Public Programs (202-606-8269). 

Monterey County attorney reappointed to California civil rights panel

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has appointed 18 people to its California Advisory Committee, including Monterey County attorney Luis Alejo. Luis Alejo is a staff attorney with the Monterey County Superior Court at the Monterey Courthouse. He has served on the California Advisory Committee of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights since 2004. He was nominated by former Commission Vice-Chairman and Former California Supreme Court Justice Cruz Reynoso.  

Other Latinos include , Karen Joy Lugo of Riverside, Velma K. Montoya of Los Angeles. Commissioners appointed Velma K. Montoya as chair. The appointments are for two years.

Congress has directed the Commission to establish advisory committees in all states and the District of Columbia to assist in its fact-finding function. These committees receive reports, suggestions, and recommendations from individuals, public and private
organizations, and public officials, and forward advice and recommendations to the Commission. Members of State Advisory Committees serve without compensation and conduct civil rights reviews and investigations and report to the Commission.

The Salinas Californian, June 19, 2009

Sent by Dorinda Moreno 


Take Action to Save our State Parks

California State Parks Need Public Involvement  View a video:

Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks has produced a Web video urging support for the $15 State Parks Access Pass, which would provide stable, long-term funding to keep our parks and beaches open.   Sent by Lori Frain


"The Pied Piper of Saipan" 

Guy Gabaldon
March 22, 1926 -August 31, 2006

To honor the life and memory of the World War II heroic action of  GUY GABALDON, you may receive a FREE POSTER for posting in the classrooms, prisons, military bases, or any building site in which youth or military activities take place.  

With Japanese language skills picked up in his youth in East L.A., Guy was able to single-handedly convince an estimated 1,500 Japanese soldiers and civilians on the Island of Saipan to surrender.   His lone action, speeded up the the end of the war with Japan and saved countless lives.

"The Pied Piper of Saipan" is a full-color lithograph  24" x 36" which is mailed in a tube.  
To receive, please send an oversized self-address label, and a U.S. priority stamp of $4.95. 
For more on the life of Guy, please click on this google search:

Or go to:


Rueben Martinez is named Chapman Presidential Fellow
Dream Act in Wisconsin
Latino Literacy Now awards local author International Latino Book Award
This is the Time to Look for Student Scholarships
Students thank the man behind free college scholarships
Overachieving Undergrads: McNair Scholars Research Projects

Rueben Martinez is named Chapman Presidential Fellow
Submitted by Mary Platt to the Orange City News, 10-30-08

Chapman University has named Rueben Martinez its newest Presidential Fellow



Martinez, the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship (familiarly referred to as a "genius grant") in 2004, is the owner of Santa Ana's Libreria Martinez Books and Art Gallery. He's also been a speaker at hundreds of events at schools, nonprofits and conferences throughout the world, and is known as a champion of literacy, especially in the Latino community.

As a presidential fellow, Martinez will have an office en campus and will report directly to Chapman President Jim Doti, receiving direction from Don Cardinal, dean of Chapman's College of Educational Studies. He will be a member of a Chapman team dedicated to bringing first-generation students into Chapman's science and math programs, improving the community's math and science literacy, and will act as a community ambassador to facilitate the success of the program.

Martinez officially begins his work at Chapman in January.

"We are delighted and honored to welcome Rueben Martinez as our newest presidential fellow," said Chapman President Jim Doti. "His work in recruiting first-generation students to enroll here, especially in the crucial areas of mathematics and science, will be vitally important to Chapman, as our new Schmid College of Science grows and expands, and to the community, as these students graduate and take their place as the scientists, technicians and medical personnel of tomorrow."

Born in 1940 in the small mining town of Miami, Ariz., Martinez moved to California at 17 and worked as a barber. His Santa Ana barbershop became a gathering place not only for the Latino community, but for many of the movers and shakers of Orange County.

Martinez became active in politics and as a community cultural leader, and when he realized the Latino community didn't have a bookstore that met its needs, he added a small collection of books to his barbershop. The books soon outgrew the barbershop, and Libreria Martinez Books and Art Gallery, along with Libros Para Ninos, a children's bookstore, were born. Many world-famous authors, including Isabel Allende, Sandra Cisneros, Jorge Ramos, Gary Soto, Rudolfo Anaya and others have visited his store.

Martinez received the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in 2004. The $500,000 award, paid out over five years, is given to 20 to 40 people each year by the John D. and Katherine T. MacArthur Foundation to recognize "exceptional merit and promise for con­tinued and enhanced creative work."

Martinez was cited by the awards committee for "fusing the roles of marketplace and community center to inspire appreciation of literature and preserve Latino literary heritage."

Among the awards he has received, in addition to the MacArthur Fellowship, are the HEEF Golden Apple Award, the Hispanic Influential Award for the United Way, Small Business of the Year from the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Latino Spirit Award from the California Latino Legislative Caucus, and others. 



Some illegal immigrants will be able to get in-state tuition. Georgia Pabst, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, June 29, 2009.

Excerpt:  Some illegal immigrant high school graduates will be able to attend Wisconsin state universities by paying in-state tuition, under a provision in the two-year budget Gov. Jim Doyle signed into law Monday. Wisconsin now becomes the 11th state to enact such a law. To qualify, students would have to reside in the state for three years, graduate from a Wisconsin high school or earn an equivalency degree here.The students would have to apply through the normal channels. It's estimated from 400 to 650 illegal immigrants annually graduate from state high schools, but they must pay out-of-state tuition if they enroll in the state university system or technical colleges. In-state tuition at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is $7,576 a year in the 2008-'09 school year, compared with out-of-state tuition, which is $17,306.

Sent by JV Martinez,


Local Author Wins Intl. Latino Book Award
By Carla White, Staff Writer
Baja Times - since 1978 - English Language Newspaper of Baja California
 The prestigious Latino Literacy Now program, which works to promote literacy within the global Latino community, recently recognized local author Gil Sperry at its 11th Annual International Latino Book Awards program held on May 28, 2009, at BookExpo America. Sperry was selected as the program’s award recipient in the Best Young Adult Sports/Recreation (English) category for his latest book, ‘Soccer’s Story & A Futbol Fable. The Beautiful Game. A Beautiful Season.’, published by Amiga del Mar Press.
Although the book is, on the surface, geared to young adults, it speaks to people of all ages and cultures. It is an inspirational story, with its foundation in Sperry’s own life as an initially reluctant soccer coach -- a kind of ‘Flash Dance’ for the soccer world. In fact, the story of the struggling Valle Lindo Eagles soccer team (15 boys and girls from fourth- through sixth-grades) of Valle Lindo Elementary School in Chula Vista might well follow the same path as that popular movie: This tale has resonated with screenwriters Robert Conder and Steve Gehrke who are collaborating on a screenplay which is currently titled “The Beautiful Game, A Beautiful Season,” based on Sperry’s book.
‘Soccer’s Story & A Futbol Fable’ is an easy read at just over one 100 pages. Wrapping the compelling story of the 2007 Valle Lindo Eagles are a short history of the game and its evolution, and a resource guide for folks interested in coaching soccer. The book can be purchased at Target and other stores, and Sperry – who is also the author of the vastly popular ‘Mariachi for Gringos’—is often found on tour, speaking about his work. He will be appearing August 29-30 at the 17th Annual International Latino Literacy Fair in Los Angeles; September 16 at the Encinitas Public Library in Encinitas; September 23-27 at the Annual San Jose (CA) Mariachi and Mexican Heritage Festival, and October 16-18 at the 1st Annual San Diego County Library literary event called Page One: A Celebration of the Written Word. For more information, contact Sperry by e-mail at or by phone at (619) 887-9288.





Go to your campus and talk to a counselor. There are government, business, private, and even city scholarships, such as the listing posted by the city of Houston, Texas.

We live in difficult financial times and now more then ever we need to take advantage of any and all scholarships that are available.  
The following links and attachment have valuable information about potential scholarships: 

Please share the information.  Uriel Ingiuez
Source: Henry Cruz


Students thank the man behind free college scholarships  

Foundation's first scholars say gift changed their lives.  

By Fermin Leal

The Orange County Register, California
Wednesday, June 10, 2009



Six years ago, a group of six students from high schools throughout Santa Ana knew they wanted to go to college, but none was sure just how he or she was going to get there. All faced difficulties at home, coming from poor families with parents who emigrated from other countries. 

That's when philanthropist Ronald Simon decided to form the Simon Scholar Program, and offered the students stipends so they could finish high school and attend colleges like Harvard University, the University of California, Berkeley and Smith College in Massachusetts.  On Wednesday, five of the six original Simon Scholars returned to thank Simon for changing their lives. In return, Simon, whose Ronald Simon Family Foundation now provides scholarships for hundreds of needy students, told the students during the lunch in Newport Beach that he was proud of their success.

"I owe Mr. Simon so much for all the help he has given me," said Isela Arias, who just graduated from UC Berkeley and has been hired as an accountant by Price Waterhouse Copper.  Arias arrived in the U.S. at the age of 10, not knowing any English. As a student at Saddleback High, she had hoped to first enroll in community college because her family could not afford a four-year school.

The other original scholars are Scott Luong, 22, who will graduate from UC San Diego this week; Victor Lopez, 20, who just graduated from UC Riverside; Antonio de Jesus, 21, a junior at UC Irvine; Janet Mendoza, 21, a graduate of Smith College; and Mike Nguyen, 22, who graduated last week from Harvard.

Luong did not attend the lunch Wednesday because of his graduation ceremony in San Diego.  Since 2003, the Ronald Simon Family Foundation has awarded 327 scholarships to students in Santa Ana, Garden Grove and now in Anaheim. The program has also expanded to San Diego County and Atlanta. 

Simon, a semi-retired Newport Beach entrepreneur who made his money making and selling kitchen cabinets, likes to give his money quietly, without press releases or publicity.

At the lunch, the 74-year-old told his scholars about his life philosophy.  "Real success is about accomplishing what others believe to be impossible," he said. "Just remember that nothing is impossible. Just make it happen."

Beyond college scholarships, the scholars program offers students starting in their junior year of high school a host of resources aimed at whole-person development. Students receive a notebook computer, SAT preparation courses, college application assistance, college campus tours, academic tutoring, mentoring and potential internship opportunities, among other services. 

The foundation contributes in all about $32,000 for each student's education, officials said.

Students are not always selected because they have the highest grades – although many do carry GPAs above 4.0. Many students are accepted into the program with a 2.5 GPA, but they are required to raise it to a 3.0 before high school graduation. 

Nguyen said he always dreamed about attending an Ivy League school. But he never believed his family could afford the tuition and costs. The family moved from Vietnam in 1992. His father worked as a line cook, and his mother as a seamstress while the family shared a cramped apartment. So an Ivy League education seemed like just a dream.

Then his high school counselor told Nguyen about the foundation. "Mr. Simon is an inspiration," Nguyen said. "He instilled drive in me and taught me that with a little you can do so much."

Mendoza said the Simon Foundation has become a second family to her. When Mendoza's mother died, she was forced to drop out of college, missing a semester to grieve with her family in Mexico. The support of the foundation helped pull her through; she was able to make up her coursework and graduate on time despite her tragic loss, she said.

"I have a tight connection with the people of the foundation," she said. "They do so much more than send me money for college. They are like family, checking up on me to see how I am doing and ever ready to help."

Contact the writer: 714-704-3773 or  View photos of scholars at:

Sent by Ricardo Valverde  West13rifa


Overachieving Undergrads
By Debra Cano Ramos
McNair Scholars prepare for advanced degrees through research projects


For Michele Gomez, graduate school is within reach. She will be the first in her family to earn a bachelor's degree and the first to pursue a doctoral degree, thanks to her experience as a McNair Scholar.  The business administration major, with minors in Spanish and anthropology, plans to earn a doctorate in medical anthropology.

"I'm interested in researching the effects of sick­ness and disease on the family, cultural perceptions of disease, medicine, death and dying. Eastern versus Western medicine and cultural healing practices," Gomez said.

Gomez, who will apply to graduate programs next fall at institutions such as Arizona State, Johns Hopkins and Harvard University, is quick to credit CSUF's Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program for giving her a shot at graduate school.

The federally-funded program, established by the U.S. Department of Education in 1986, is named for astronaut and Challenger space shuttle crewmember Ronald E. McNair, the second African American to fly in space. Over the last five years, the U.S. Department of Education has awarded Cal State Fullerton about $1 million in grants in support of the program, which provides low-income and first-generation college students opportunities to seek advanced degrees. Those selected as scholars come from a variety of disciplines and each is paired with a faculty member who mentors them through their research projects.

"Being selected as a McNair Scholar has been such a blessing in my life. It has exposed me to so many different avenues of education," said Gomez, who expects to earn her bachelor's degree in spring 2009. "The McNair Program is helping me achieve my educational goals by giving me the necessary tools to become a great candidate for graduate school, as well as a successful graduate student." Since 1999, Cal State Fullerton's McNair Program has given promising students like Gomez the resources and guidance necessary to prepare them for post-baccalaureate work.  

"We give them a focus, along with support and nurturing, to take their talents to the next level — to go on to graduate school and be successful," said Gerald Bryant, director of CSUFs McNair Program.

What sets the program apart from others is that it gives students the opportunity to conduct and hone academic research skills. Students get the opportunity to work side-by-side with faculty members, conducting research.

"The primary purpose is to get students to understand the research process," Bryant said. "We know when students get into graduate school, if they don't understand the research process, they get overwhelmed. I'm convinced that every student, starting in their freshman year, should be exposed to research because the experience will give them a fluid entree into graduate school."

As seniors graduate, new McNair Scholars are chosen with 22 students in the program each academic year. Students must have 59 units and at least a 3.0 grade point average to apply. Scholars receive a stipend, plus the program helps to build their GPA and boost research skills to help them be competitive in applying for graduate school, Bryant said. Scholars also get the opportunity to present research at professional conferences and some even get their work published in journals. In addition, Scholars have the chance to visit graduate schools in the summer, where they gain insight into applying for advanced degree programs and what will be expected of them.

To date, 107 students have completed the program and graduates have gone on to advanced studies at top-tier institutions across the country and abroad.

"It is a delight to mentor McNair scholars as they are so motivated and dedicated," said Melinda Blackman, associate professor of psychology who served as a mentor and "sounding board" for Gomez's research ideas and hypotheses. "The McNair scholar program has done an outstanding job of identifying future researchers and launching their careers."

The program is overseen by an advisory board, which is comprised of faculty members, assistant deans and business leaders. "The one major benefit is when these students come back to campus in the fall, they are more focused and have a sense of urgency about doing what is needed to get accepted and be a solid candidate in the programs they apply to," Bryant said.


Supreme Court Upholds Student's Rights to Learn English


Ruling comports with MALDEF’s argument in Amicus Brief by denying  Arizona’s request that compliance under the NCLB met a state’s obligation under the EEOA


WASHINGTON, D.C. – In the first decision by the Supreme Court interpreting the rights of English Language Learner (ELL) students under the Equal Educational Opportunities Act (EEOA), the Court today rejected a challenge by Arizona’s Superintendent and others seeking to diminish the State’s role in affording ELL students the opportunity to learn English.  The defendants had argued that the State’s compliance under the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) amounted to compliance under the EEOA, but the Court instead held that compliance under NCLB is not determinative and remanded the issue that states be conscious and meet their important obligations under EEOA.

In support of the plaintiffs in this case, MALDEF and other national civil rights groups submitted an Amicus Brief [1] and argued that Congress never intended to absolve a State of its responsibilities under the EEOA.  The Court agreed.

“Today, the Supreme Court recognized the utmost importance of State action to ensure students’ rights to become proficient in English,” stated Henry Solano, MALDEF Interim President and General Counsel.  “The Court emphatically stated that the EEOA ‘forbids’ states to do otherwise.”  

Plaintiffs, a class of ELL students in Nogales, Arizona, brought this action in 1992 arguing that the State had failed to assist ELL students in overcoming their language barriers under the EEOA.  Plaintiffs prevailed and subsequently, the State failed to fund programs adequately for ELL students.  Although the Supreme Court held that a claim of inadequate funding standing alone is insufficient under the EEOA, the Court remanded the question of funding to the district court for further findings, as well as a number of other evidentiary questions that will have to be answered in light of the opinion.

“The Court held that States must provide effective programs for ELL children and that funding must support EEOA-compliant programs,” added David Hinojosa, MALDEF Staff Attorney.  “If states are not appropriately helping ELL students English, they can and will be held accountable under the EEOA.”

Laura Rodriguez: 310-956-2425    David Hinojosa: 210-224-5476  June 25, 2009


Sergio Hernandez, Artist Activist 
Latino Teens Want Bicultural Parents
The Corrido Of The 'World's Best Accordionist', Esteban "Steve" Jordan
Bobby Sanabria, Grammy Nominated Drummer & Percussionist
Examples of Spanish words incorporated into English use

Sergio Hernandez, Activist Artist

El Jefe
16 X 20 Acrylic on Canvas 

Editor:  If you are a regular Somos Primos reader, the name of artist Sergio Hernandez will be quite familiar. Sergio has shared cartoons, acrylics, oils, and family memories and photos. Sergio has pursued his art in his leisure, his professional life has been with the Los Angeles County Police Department. 

Sergio shares a bit of his career:  

"I started with the County of LA in Sept. of 1975. I worked in the LA County Probation Juvenile detention facilities and was finally able to go to the field about a year a half later. I worked in a number of assignments until I was "Volunteered" into the "Intercept" program. This program s designed to streamline the detention of dangerous minors by housing the probation officer at the police station. I worked at a number of station and ended up a Newton Division of LAPD. I was a little intimidated by my assignment but gained a respect for law enforcement. I was also subjected to the investigative process (sitting in the Homicide Bureau) and went on many murder investigations which would help me  immensely later in my career. 
I left the intercept program after four years and took a position as a Probation Investigator. I worked a total of 10 years for the Probation Dept. The position of Public Defender Investigator came up. I applied and the experience I received at Newton Street was invaluable. I received an appointment to Investigator II and have been there ever since. I have 34 years now and I'm getting ready to retire.
The unfortunate part of my job is seeing the destruction of families through drugs, gang violence, alcohol, spousal and child abuse. I try to keep positive and deal with all my clients with dignity. The upside is that I always have my finger on the pulse of society. My art has also allowed me the opportunity to travel the country and to Europe lecturing on my art and political and social activism. 
I've had a wonderful career with LA County and it has allowed me time to devote  to my first love, art. Now that I'm getting ready to retire I hope to devote all my time to art and my collection of old vehicles.   



Study: Latino Teens Want Bicultural Parents
By United Press International, 
July 1, 2009


Youth who maintain their Latino heritage perform better in school and socially, according to new research.

Latino teens who actively embrace their native culture and whose parents become more involved in U.S. culture develop healthier behaviors, U.S. researchers say. 

Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill say the findings are from a longitudinal study by the UNC-based Latino Acculturation and Health Project, which is supported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and directed by Paul Smokowski of the UNC School of Social Work. 

Researchers interviewed 281 Latino youths and parents in North Carolina and Arizona.

"We found teens who maintain strong ties to their Latino cultures perform better academically and adjust more easily socially," Smokowski says in a statement. "When we repeated the survey a year later, for every one-point increase in involvement in their Latino cultures, we saw a 13 percent rise in self-esteem and a 12 percent to 13 percent decrease in hopelessness, social problems and aggressive behavior." 

The study, published in The Journal of Primary Prevention, shows parents who develop a strong bicultural perspective have teen children who are less likely to feel anxiety and face fewer social problems. 

Source: LatinOffice, the Culture Inside Your Business


En Mi Familia/In My Family
An interactive exhibit inspired by the works of nationally acclaimed artist Carmen Lomas Garza. How does your family celebrate special occasions? What are your family's daily routines? Every child inherits his or her own cultural identity through the everyday routines and special traditions of family life. Step into Carmen's world and explore Mexican-American culture.
Place of exhibit: Austin Children's Museum, 201 Colorado St.
Hours: T-Sat, 10am-5pm; W, 5pm-8pm $1 donation; Sun, noon-5pm; 4pm-5pm free. (open for summer Mondays, Noon-5pm through Aug. 31)
Cost: $4.50-$6.50, kids under 12 mos. free
Contact phone number: 512-472-2499
Web site:



Corrido Of The 'World's Best Accordionist' Esteban "Steve" Jordan
By John Burnett 

All Things Considered, June 2, 2009 - It's a warm night under a full moon on the west side of San Antonio. On this night, all the bands at the annual Tejano Conjunto Festival are paying tribute to Steve Jordan. From the door of an RV steps the gaunt accordionist. At 70, he's still the peacock: He wears a shiny gold shirt with puffy sleeves, a purple vest, purple bell-bottoms, black boots and his iconic black eye patch.

His fans are fanatics. One longtime follower has a picture of El Parche — Jordan's nickname, owing to the eye patch — tattooed on his bicep. "I've been listening to Steve since probably 1980," says Joe Rodriguez, a fan. "There hasn't been any other fascinating musician that can defy gravity, actually, and can bend time and bend sound."  Welcome to the world of Steve Jordan: where time and sound bend, and accordions can fly.

In the world of Mexican-American music, Jordan is a legend: He's done things on the button accordion that had never been done before, or in some cases since. Though his health is now failing, the 70-year-old is still performing — and set to embark on a new phase of his career.

The Rise Of Jordan
Jordan was a musical child prodigy who never went to school and, to this day, cannot read or write. Nearly blinded at birth in both eyes by a clumsy midwife, he picked up the accordion for the first time at a migrant labor camp in Texas when he was 7.

Over a long, turbulent career drenched in booze and drugs, he played everything he heard, and learned every instrument he got his hands on. He was even good enough to play guitar with Willie Bobo's Latin jazz band in 1964. It is said that he's his own genre.

"What Steve Jordan did was, he electrified the accordion," says Sunny Sauceda, a rising star on the squeezebox. "He used pedals, he brought in jazz influences to the accordion playing. He brought in the effects that had never been done on the accordion — to this day, nobody does it."

Those effects — like phase shifters, fuzzboxes and echoplexes — gave rise to the label that Jordan hates to this day: "the Jimi Hendrix of the accordion."  Then there's the whole jazz thing, says Joel Guzman, an acclaimed traditional accordionist from Austin, Texas. "He's playing flat-fifths and raised 11ths, rhythmically so deep," Guzman says. "So, from a musical standpoint, he's a genius."

The Man, The Myth Jordan's music and his persona are inseparable. "The patch, right, that just adds a whole 'nother mystique — his pirate, pachuco, barrio dude, hip cat," says Juan Tejeda, coordinator of San Antonio's Conjunto Festival. "Yeah, man, he's too much."

But Tejeda also says Jordan is getting frail, and looks like he's in pain.  "This is his destiny, man. He's gonna die playing," Tejeda says. "He's gonna die onstage — that's Steve."

Jordan's liver is diseased with cirrhosis and cancer. He underwent chemotherapy last year. But Jordan says he feels good these days. And he's finally begun granting interviews — he used to be notoriously elusive. Though he's ailing, he's still got the old attitude.  "Right now, I'm so far advanced that nobody can catch up to me," Jordan says. "Nobody, I mean, that includes nobody. Do you understand what I'm saying?"

Esteban Jordan grew up the youngest of 15 siblings in a family of southern Texas farmworkers. They picked sugar beets in Colorado, cotton in Arizona, figs in California. But Jordan couldn't work in the fields.  "I couldn't see a damn thing," he says. "I was a young kiddie. And I was turned loose at that age: Go ahead on, find yourself something to do."  

Jordan says he started making a living as a musician when he was 7. By the late 1980s, it looked like his career was finally taking off. He played the Berlin Jazz Festival, had a Grammy-nominated album and played the soundtrack for Cheech Marin's Born in East L.A. Hohner even produced the "Steve Jordan Tex-Mex Rockordion."  Back then, some even started calling him "the world's best accordionist."

Jordan should have ridden that wave 20 years ago. He should be set now, sitting back, enjoying the fruits of his international renown. (He has rabid fans in Germany and Japan.) But he says he isn't seeing any royalty payments. "Nada," he says. "Not a half a penny. They've been taking advantage of the handicapped."  He isn't too happy about it, either.

"Of course I'm bitter," Jordan says. "Everybody's living in Oceanside, and here I am living over here, a poor little dude." He speaks from the living room of his rundown rental house. The linoleum is cracked, and two dogs mill about a bare front yard.

But Jordan has a plan to finally take charge of his music. He says he has nine CDs' worth of unreleased material in which he plays and overdubs every instrument. He's mixing it at his house, which he shares with his two sons, Esteban III and Richard.

"He did it all himself: He recorded the bass, the guitar, the violins, cellos," Richard Jordan says. "People ask me, man, they call us every day, 'Hey, man, when can we get the record,' blah, blah, blah. They just waitin' like a shot in the arm, they're waitin' for it."

The backroom studio is crammed with all the equipment they need to mix and produce albums on their own. The first release will be titled Carta Espiritual, or "Letter to God." Which is quite different from earlier compositions like "Piedrecita," or "The Little Rock" — a paean to cocaine.

But you won't hear a sample of it here. Jordan is famously paranoid about people ripping off his music.  "I'll give you a taste of it, but not in there," he says, pointing to the microphone. "You gotta understand that. I don't want it here." He taps the microphone suspiciously. When he's sure the recorder is turned off, he plays some of his new material; it's vintage Steve Jordan. He says the first CD on his new label will be available at  later this summer.

For now, if you want to hear the essential Steve Jordan, you can still go to San Antonio, to a tiny club called Salute on North St. Mary's Street. He and his sons still play every Friday night under the name River Jordan.  You'll hear one of the best accordion players in the world.

Dorinda Moreno 

Bobby Sanabria, Grammy Nominated Drummer & Percussionist, 
Participates and Performs at the Latin Music USA Panel at the Aspen 

Los Angeles, CA (Billboard Publicity Wire) June 19, 2009 -- International percussionist and drummer Bobby Sanabria joins world leaders from all over the globe at The Aspen Ideas Festival, to be held June 29th through July 5th 2009 in Aspen, Colorado. Presented by the Aspen Institute and The Atlantic Magazine the annual event has sizzled up a stimulating and inspiring festival of presentations, lectures, panels, and debates. The event will also host architect Frank Gehry, painter and photographer Chuck Close, and Director Damian Woetzel. The festival will also include actress and playwright Anna Deavere Smith, Executive Producer WGBH Elizabeth Deane, and the president and CEO of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Mr. Sanabria will be part of an elite panel that will focus on Latin Music USA, a new documentary about the musical fusions that have deeply enriched popular music in the US for over more than eight decades. Produced by a world-class production team at WGBH and the BBC, Latin Music USA invites the audience into the vibrant musical dialogue between Latinos and non-Latinos that has helped shape the history of popular music in the United States. This ground breaking film is slated to premiere during Hispanic Heritage month and will air on PBS and BBC on October 12, 2009 (episodes 1 and 2) and October 19 (episodes 3 and 4).

"Bobby has been an amazing resource for Latin Music USA. His deep understanding of Afro-Cuban music as well as Jazz and his relentless talent are priceless to this project," explained Pamela A. Aguilar, producer, Latin Music USA. "We are grateful for his contributions!"

"I am very excited to be a part of such a prestigious lineup of world leaders and business luminaries that will be attending the festival" says Bobby Sanabria. He adds, "I'm looking forward to discussing the upcoming documentary Latin Jazz USA, as it will shed light on how Latin music has had a deeper a broader reach than most people realize." The Aspen Ideas Festival brings together people from different fields and offers a one-of-a-kind event to share, connect, and transform their ideas. Audiences will get to know Bobby Sanabria and explore the musical fusions that have enriched America's popular music.

Sent by Google  Alert 

Editor:  Go to the site and listen to some brief selections. . .  I think those of us in our mid to late 70s will particularly enjoy the fusion of sounds, and reflect on the time periods that you've experienced, going from big band, to progressive jazz, through Latin period, and hear them blended, fused and current.



Examples of the Spanish Incorporation of English Words

Editor:  Since we know many Spanish words are now part of American's every day speech, it is interesting to observe Spanish incorporation of English words. 
Spanish Word of the Day  Saturday, June 27, 2009
When Spanish borrows words from English it sometimes changes them, or uses them differently. El nick is a case in point. It’s the word Spanish-speakers use for their username or nickname when on line in discussion forums and so forth.
Registrar tu nick es muy fácil.
Registering your username is very easy.

Other Spanish words which are used a bit differently from English are: 
un holding >  a holding company
hacerse un lifting > to have a facelift
standing: de alto standing > high-class, prestigious
una empresa de alto standing > a prestigious company

And if you want to do some jogging in Spanish-speaking countries, 
the normal word is > footing:
Hace footing en el parque todos los días a la misma hora.
He goes jogging in the park at the same time every day. 

Content by © HarperCollins Publishers Ltd 2006. All rights reserved.



Corridors of Migration: Odyssey of Mexican Laborers, by Rodolfo F. Acuna
World War II and Mexican American Civil Rights by Richard Griswold Del Castillo
Library of Michigan: ArchiveGrid and OAIster: new databases
First raúlrsalinas Guerrilla Chapbook Poetry Contest winner, Joe Montoya

A landmark study of Mexican labor migration
Corridors of Migration: The Odyssey of Mexican Laborers, 1600-1933
by Rodolfo F. Acuna 


In the San Joaquin Valley cotton strike of 1933, frenzied cotton farmers murdered three strikers, intentionally starved at least nine infants, wounded dozens, and arrested more. While the story of this incident has been recounted from the perspective of both the farmers and, more recently, the Mexican workers, this is the first book to trace the origins of the Mexican workers' activism through their common experience of migrating to the United States.

Rodolfo F. Acuna explores the history of Mexican workers and their families from seventeenth-century Chihuahua to twentieth-century California, following their patterns of migration and describing the establishment of their communities in mining and agricultural regions. He shows the combined influences of racism, transborder dynamics, and events such as the Mexican Revolution and World War I in shaping the collective experience of these people as they helped to form the economic, political, and social landscapes of the American Southwest in their interactions with wealthy landowners.

Acuna follows the steps of one of the murdered strikers, Pedro Subia, reconstructing the times and places in which he lived. By balancing the social and geographic trends in the Chicano population with the story of individual protest participants, Acuna shows how the strikes were in fact driven by human choices rather than the Communist ideologies to which they have been traced since the 1930s. Corridors of Migration thus uncovers the origins of twentieth-century Mexican American labor activism from its earliest roots through its first major manifestation in the San Joaquin Valley cotton strike.

From one of the founding scholars of Chicano/a studies comes the culmination of three decades of dedicated research into the origins of the migrations and the labor activism that have helped to shape the economics and politics of the United States into the twenty-first century.

RODOLFO F. ACUNA was the founding chair of the Chicano studies program at San Fernando Valley State College and is a professor of Chicano/a studies at California State University, Northridge. He is the author of U.S. Latino Issues and Occupied America: A History of Chicanos, which is now in its sixth edition.


World War II and Mexican American Civil Rights 
by Richard Griswold Del Castillo


 “Ok, We Fought, Now What?"


Book Review of:  Griswold Del Castillo, Richard. 2008. World War II and Mexican American Civil Rights.   Austin: University of Texas Press. by Katherine Cloer for Dr. Roberto R. Calderón, 5110 seminar, February 19, 2009

 Griswold Del Castillo, Richard. 2008. World War II and Mexican American

    Civil Rights. Austin: University of Texas Press.


In the book entitled World War II and Mexican American Civil Rights, Richard Griswold Del Castillo writes about the effect World War II had on the Mexican American community. Griswold Del Castillo asserts that World War II was a watershed event for Mexican Americans. Following World War II, Mexican Americans were no longer content with second class citizenship. Mexican Americans served and died in the military disproportionately to their numbers. The military offered young men a chance at a better life, at the same time it opened their eyes to the injustices they were subject to at home. Griswold Del Castillo writes this book to illustrate how the United States government, and indeed society in general, dealt with Mexican Americans during and following the war and how Mexican Americans themselves began to forge their own identities and carve a socio political and economic identity; one that would not tolerate second-class citizenship.

Griswold Del Castillo begins by providing background before the start of World War I. He describes how Mexicans (meaning all people of Mexican descent) were “assumed by white Americans to be members of a ragged race of inferiors provided by providence to do the region’s most unpleasant work.” (7) He maintains there was a caste system that existed that held people of Mexican heritage in a constant state of dependency and inferiority. Griswold Del Castillo argues that it was this point, around 1940-1941 that Mexicans born on American soil deduced they would have to decide their own fate.  
“Recognizing that life in the United States was  what they would  have to make of it, a growing minority were more interested  than their parents had been in challenging the status quo through politics.” (18)

Further on,  Griswold Del Castillo illustrates how the Federal Government was forced to take notice of this growing segment of the population. “Three-and-one-half million people were suddenly ‘discovered’ and their wants made part of the national security agenda.” (19) World War II saw more Mexican Americans than any other ethnic groups serving in the military. He explains that though the war created opportunities, these were not distributed equally among the ethnic groups. The government’s weak attempt at intervention is illustrated through Executive Order 8802, which established the Committee on Fair Employment Practices, later dubbed the Fair Employment Practices Committee (FEPC). The FEPC was only able to expose unfair practices, not really make any pertinent changes. Politics saturated the FEPC, and only groups with strong economic or political power could bring any improvements to fruition. Finally, Griswold Del Castillo maintains that “The plight of the Mexican Americans (and any other minorities) was seen as a threat to wartime unity and efficiency, not as an issue of human rights. The war effort, not the group’s welfare was the ultimate justification for any policy initiatives.” (Griswold Del Castillo 32-33) The war created opportunities that tended not to filter down to the Mexican American, and outright racism that did.  

Griswold Del Castillo highlights this racism and the growing discontent within the Mexican American community. He presents the cases of Sleepy Lagoon and the Los Angeles Zoot Suit Riots to illustrate the hostility and unrest evident at this time. It is especially significant to note that Griswold Del Castillo emphasizes the role the media and Washington D.C. played in these affairs. The newspapers as well as Washington de-emphasized the racial aspect of these incidents, and instead portrayed the events as isolated “youth gone wrong” incidents. ”Those more familiar with the Mexican American situation did not accept the official explanation.” (47) The League of Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and George I. Sánchez, viewed these as racially centered attacks and began to gather forces to combat perceived injustices and unequal treatment.  

In chapter four, Griswold Del Castillo tackles the main thesis of the book, which is the manner in which Mexican Americans formed their identity coming out of World War II.  America could no longer defend racism at home, while fighting it abroad. “”For all Americans, it became increasingly evident that this war, fought to eliminate racism abroad, also meant that discrimination at home was morally wrong.” (49) Mexican Americans came back from the war and were treated as badly as they had been prior. This was something they could no longer tolerate. Griswold Del Castillo raises the issue of a double consciousness here. The chapter concludes with a description of the how the various factions of Mexican Americans from Texas to California to New Mexico began to band together to form a more cohesive unit. Mexican Americans from all over began to see that they were in similar situations. “..after 1945, along with the belief in patriotism, formed a strong memory that could unite people who previously thought they had little in common. This became a core strength of the Mexican American civil rights struggle.” (73)

            Griswold  Del Castillo also discusses the various leaders of the Mexican American civil rights movement. Political efficacy became a high priority for this new “Mexican American Generation”, following World War II. Leaders such as Luisa Moreno, George I. Sanchez, and LULAC began attacking labor practices as well as segregation in schools. “Thousands of Mexican Americans gained experience in demanding civil rights within the labor movement.” (94) This experience extended to other groups like LULAC and the GI Forum. Groups like the American Council for Spanish-speaking People, the Alianza Hispano-Americana, the Mexican Civic Committee, and various labor unions sprang up in defense of Mexican Americans. These groups demanded equal treatment and first-class citizenship rights. “But what was new, after 1945, was a recently solidified confidence in their right to equal treatment, especially since Mexican Americans had sacrificed for their country.” (105) Mexican Americans were taking leadership roles and changing the status of Mexican Americans.

            In the epilogue, Griswold Del Castillo and Steele both assert that there was a strong base for struggle within the labor movement, which extended to society in general. Following World War II, Mexican Americans asserted themselves and demanded social equality as well as political efficacy. They conclude by stating that it was these Mexican Americans who came of age in World War II that created the base to affect change in the 1960’s Chicano Movement.

Griswold Del Castillo writes this book in tribute to and in order to finish the work begun by Richard Steele. The book is arranged chronologically and utilizes both primary and secondary sources. The appendix is especially helpful in providing primary documents to illustrate the Mexican American struggle for identity.  The appendix provides first-hand accounts by Carlos Castañeda regarding the FEPC, as well as affidavits of accounts of discrimination in Texas during World War II. Through personal accounts as well as government initiatives and documents, Griswold Del Castillo successfully argues that although World War II was a watershed event for Mexican Americans, the struggle for civil rights did not begin there. He illustrates that struggle took place first through labor; ”The struggle for economic civil rights was expressed through countless strikes, conflicts with the police, deaths, slowdowns, formal complaints, and lawsuits.” (106) then through social and political groups, which formed to play an active role in deciding what a Mexican American would be defined as. “The emergence of the term ‘Mexican American’ in official discourse signaled a heightened expectation of inclusion in the American project, and this, in turn, would lead to more coordinated actions to achieve civil rights in the postwar era.” (ibid.) Following World War II, the notion of dual consciousness would not allow a Mexican American to accept second-class treatment any longer.




LIBRARY of MICHIGAN: ArchiveGrid and OAIster: new databases


The Library of Michigan announced that OCLC has expanded our state-wide subscription through the Michigan eLibrary in the FirstSearch platform to include 2 new databases: 
ArchiveGrid and OAIster
Recommended for the general user, ArchiveGrid includes access to thousands of libraries, museums, and archives who have contributed nearly a million collection descriptions to this database. Researchers can learn about the many items in each of these collections, contact archives to arrange a visit to examine materials, and order copies.

Recommended for the general user, OAIster is a catalog of digitized materials includes books, articles and multimedia, representing multidisciplinary resources from more than 1000 contributors worldwide.

Diana Rivera
Chicana/o Studies/Ethnic Studies Bibliographer Michigan State University
Libraries East Lansing, MI 48824
517-432-6123 ext 252
Sent by Juan Marinez



New Mexico Writer Chosen as Winner of
First raúlrsalinas Guerrilla Chapbook Poetry Contest
Native American Joe Montoya Receives Reward

ALACALANDIA — Calaca Press, the Red CalacArts Collective and Red Salmon Arts proudly announce that the winner of the First raúlrsalinas Guerrilla Chapbook Poetry Contest is New Mexico writer Vernon “Joe” Montoya. In a close contest, judged by University of Minnesota Chicano Studies professor Louis G. Mendoza, Ph.D, Red Salmon Arts Executive Director Rene Valdez and Calaca Press publisher Brent E. Beltrán, Mr. Montoya edged out runner up Jonathan Gomez of East Los Angeles. 

By winning the first raúlrsalinas Guerrilla Chapbook Poetry Contest Joe Montoya will have his work published in chapbook form by Red CalacArts Publications and Red Salmon Press, receive 100 copies of the chapbook, a $500 honorarium and travel to and from book release readings in San Diego, California and Austin, Texas. 

Joe Montoya’s poetry reflects the heartbreaking realities of life on the rez. Though pain and loss are a recurring theme his work also presents the beauty and joy of being Native in 21st century America. “We are proud to have him join our Calacaverse,” said Brent E. Beltrán of Calaca Press. “His voice is an important voice that needs to be shared with all.”

Vernon “Joe” Montoya is a young Native American poet and short story writer born in Albuquerque, New Mexico and raised on the Santa Ana and San Felipe Pueblos. He was incarcerated on drug offenses and used his time in prison to read and write poetry. Joe has won several slam competitions and reads, lectures and teaches workshops in jails, prisons, juvenile facilities, middle and high schools. He is currently a student at the University of New Mexico and works with youth as a drug preventionist. 

Calaca Press and Red Salmon Arts looks forward to publishing this talented young voice. The untitled chapbook will feature cover art by San Antonio, Texas artist Gerry Quetzatl Garcia. Stayed tuned for publication date and chapbook release reading information.

The raúlrsalinas Guerrilla Chapbook Poetry Contest was created to honor the lifework and interests of Xicanindio poet activist raúlrsalinas (1934-2008). By organizing this contest Calaca Press, the Red CalacArts Collective and Red Salmon Arts hope to inspire a new generation of activist writers to carry on the work of raúlrsalinas.

The raúlrsalinas Guerrilla Chapbook Poetry Contest is supported in part by the Ford Foundation, JP Morgan Chase and Southwest Airlines through a grant from the NALAC Fund for the Arts. For more info visit

Calaca Press is a Chicano family-owned small publishing house dedicated to publishing and producing unknown, emerging, and established progressive Chicano and Latino voices. With a commitment to social justice and human rights Calaca Press strives to bring about change through the literary arts. 

For more information on Red CalacArts, Calaca and Red Salmon: 
Calaca Press
P.O. Box 2309
National City, Califas 91951
(619) 434-9036 phone/fax




By Felipe de Ortego y Gasca

Scholar in Residence and Chair, Department of Chicana/o & Hemispheric Studies, Western New Mexico University; Professor Emeritus, Texas State University System—Sul Ross

[Full Circle--Number 12 in a series on La Leyenda Negra]  


It seems fitting by way of giving closure to this series on The Black Legend to go back to the beginning, back to the event that gave it impetus. Why? Because the question of the Spanish Armada is still inter­secting our lives in ways that are germane to the historical events of our time. That may seem strange since 421 years separate us from the event of the Spanish Armada which King Philip II (Felipe el Segundo) of Spain sent to reinstate England into the Catholic fold.  

Under Papal cover, King Philip firmly believed that it was God’s will that he liberate England from its Protestant heresy. More personally, though, Philip felt entitled to the throne of England since 34 years earlier in 1554 he had married Mary Tudor, the Catholic Queen of England, known historically as Bloody Mary for her persecution of English Protestants. That marriage was orchestrated by the Emperor Charles V (Philip’s father) “to form an alliance of England, Spain and the Netherlands against the power of France” (David Howarth, The Voyage of the Armada, Lyons Press, 1981, 33). The Emperor’s motive was for Philip to produce an heir “who would keep England safely within the [Catholic] Church when Mary died” (Ibid.).  

Despite the vicissitudes of arranged marriages and a tumor mistaken for an heir, Mary died of ovarian cancer and Philip became King of Spain on the death of his father. Feeling bound by the ambitions of his father, Philip sought to marry Mary’s sister Elizabeth as a boon to England thereby fulfilling his father’s ambitions to bring England back to the true faith. Rejected, Philip turned his attention to Mary, Queen of Scots, determined to cement the nexus between Spain and England. Circumstances botched everything, including England’s brazen attacks on Spanish settlements in the Caribbean and in 1584 Philip began assembling the ships that were to become the Spanish Armada. He was determined by hook or crook to “save” or to “have” England.  

Philip was so determined that he ignored the runes against the plan to invade England. At the time, Spain was ensconced firmly as the world’s super power. It controlled the Americas, the Philippines, the Netherlands, a part of Italy. What more could England add to the Spanish holdings other than more real estate? The Supreme Leader of all that was Spain and its empire was ready to plunge his people into the dark hole of power. The Armada, “the largest fleet in all the history of the sea” (Howarth, 17), sailed from Spain in May of 1588 with more than 30,000 men. Four months later it lay in tatters, Spanish soldiers and sailors strewn on land and sea from the Netherlands to Scotland and Ireland.  

From today’s perspective such a plan would seem to belie reason. But in the 20th century and into the 21st, national leaders have plunged their people into equally dark holes of power and equally belied reason. But the point is not the plan but the unexpected consequences of the plan–namely, the Black Legend.  

In 1588 Spain was not only at the height of empire but at the height of a golden age of letters, paralleling the golden age of Greece. Spanish theaters were burgeoned by audiences hungry for the works of Calderón de la Barca, Tirso de Molina, Ruiz de Alarcón, and Lope de Vega who sailed with the Spanish Armada and survived its infelicitous end (John A. Crow, Spain: The Root and the Flower, Harper & Row, 1963, 200). 

Given this cultural zenith, what would compel King Philip to undertake such a problematic venture as the conquest of England? Most historians suggest megalomania. It seems to me, however, that a part of the answer is supplied in the current film Frost/Nixon and may be further adduced in works still to be written about the reasons for the American invasion of Iraq. We should bear in mind, however, that the plan for the Spanish Armada went awry not because of its execution but because terrestrial circumstances interfered with its execution. The Spanish Armada ran into a perfect force 10 storm that demolished not only half the Spanish fleet but also two-thirds of its contingent troops (soldiers and sailors). The adventure and the failure of the Spanish Armada affected all of Spain from its inception to its end. However, “by 1603, Spain had not lost to the English a single overseas outpost” Garrett Mattingly, The Armada, 1959, 397). Such was the success of the putative defeat of the Spanish Armanda by the English giving rise to the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy.  

Given Philip’s punctilious organization, his plan should have included better weather intelligence. In retrospect that goes without saying. The winds and gales of the English Channel and the North Atlantic defeated the Spanish Armada. While describing the task of the Armada as impossible, Howarth indicates that “the faults of the armada were technical, not human” (244) despite the human element of decisions. Everyone was blamed for the failure of the Armada except King Philip who to the end of his life expressed no remorse for the loss of life nor for assembling and sending the armada to its untimely end, saying only  “I sent them to fight against men, not storms” (Howarth, 246).  

A storm defeated the Spanish Armada, not the English navy, though English accounts say otherwise. Drake and the other English maritime leaders feared the reassembly and return of the Spanish Armada, unaware of its demise. In the bravado of the aftermath, an English communiqué of the time boasted that the queen’s “rotten ships” staved off the “sound ships” of the Spaniards. This was followed by a broadsheet goading Spanish pride that English valor beat and shuffled the Spanish Armada from its shores, noting that Flavit Jehovah et dissipati sunt– God sighed and they all vanished. For the English the legend of the defeat of the Spanish Armada became more important than the event itself (Mattingly, 402). Thus began the Black Legend.  

Both the English and the Spaniards attributed the outcome of the matter to God. The English believed they defeated the Spaniards because God was on their side; the Spaniards believed it was God’s will that they did not defeat the English. For us who know the aftermath of the story, we should heed Santayana’s dictum that those who do not learn the lessons of history are condemned to repeat it. The Black Legend has endured long enough. It’s time to lay it to rest.

Copyright © 2009 by the author. All rights reserved.  


World War Duty times Six: The Garcia Brothers
Monument to be established for Guadalupe Prado, Jr.
Eduardo"Ed"Peniche, World War II Oral History Project
Major General Larita A. Aragon
The Contributions of Hispanic Servicewomen
As the U.S. Military begins offering citizenship for service to fill its ranks
Need Information on US Military Medals and Ribbons  
Our Latino Fallen Heroes from Iraq and Afghanistan
VA Welcoming Vets Home with New Web Site
Medal of Honor web sites
Photos, 65th Anniversary of D-Day on the Normandy Beach

World War II Duty, Times Six: 
Garcia brothers — one died in action — say they weren't special

By H.G.Reza, Times Staff Writer


For the Garcias, World War II was a family affair. Six brothers served and their father was a civil defense warden in their Boyle Heights neighborhood. Today, as on every Veterans Day, family members will pay tribute to their only sibling killed in action during the war Staff Sgt Ignacio his brother Al-fonso. Ignacio, Leonard, Gustavo, Joe and Alfonso followed, enlisting in different branches of the service or were drafted. "All of us wanted to do our part," said Alfonso, 78, a Navy veteran who lives in Buena Park. Another includes his wartime letters.

After a mission on DEC. 14,1943, he wrote that U.S. bombers "smashed the hell out of an enemy target," a German airfield in Athens. 

Five days later, he wrote that 64 B-24s sent to bomb an aircraft factory tailing "that horrible day."  "We were attacked by 7 ME-109s [German fighters]. They riddled the ship with in-cendiary bullets, rockets and 20mm shells.... I tried to talk to Ignacio over the interphone to see if he was alright; I didn't get any answer. He may have been busy firing," wrote the crew member, who said he hoped that "everything turns out for the best."
During the war, Leonard 

"WE DID OUR DUTY": Leonard Garcia, left, and Alfonso Garcia, of Fullerton and Buena Park, respectively, and their family were honored by Latino Advocates for Education Inc. at a Veterans Day ceremony at Cal State Fullerton.  World War II Duty, Times Six Garcia brothers - one died in action - say they weren't special

For the Garcias, World War II was a family affair. Six brothers served and their father was a civil defense warden in their Boyle Heights neighborhood.

Today, as on every Veterans Day, family members will pay tribute to their only sibling killed in action during the war. Staff Sgt. Ignacio "Nacho" Garcia, member of a B-24 Liberator bomber crew, died Feb. 23,1944, on a bomb­ing run over Austria.

The Garcia family was one of three Latino families from the Los Angeles area — each with six brothers in uniform during WWII — honored Saturday by the Latino Advo­cates for Education Inc. at a Veterans Day ceremony at Cal State Fullerton.

The family's ties to the war started Dec. 8,1941, when Anthony, the first of six Garcia brothers to serve during the war, told his family he had joined the Marine Corps.

"It was the day after Pearl Harbor, and Tony left for boot camp on Christmas Eve," said his  brother  Alfonso.

Ignacio, Leonard, Gustavo, Joe and Alfonso fol­lowed, enlisting in different branches of the service or were drafted. "All of us wanted to do our part," said Alfonso, 78, a Navy veteran who lives in Buena Park. Another brother,   Nestor, was in the Army during the Korean War.

But Ignacio was the hero, said Leonard, 85, who lives in Fullerton. He served in the Army's 27th Infantry Division in the Pacific.

Ignacio's plane went down Feb. 23, 1944, and was declared dead Oct. 1,1945. A farmer had found his body and buried him near Steyra, maintaining the grave until the body was sent to a U.S. military cemetery in France. In 1949, the body was laid to rest at Calvary Cemetery in East Los Angeles.

To honor Ignacio, the family put together a booklet that includes his war­time letters.

After a mission on Dec. 14,1943, he wrote that U.S. bombers "smashed the hell out of an enemy target," a German airfield in Athens.

Five days later, he wrote that 64 B-24s sent to bomb an aircraft factory in Augsburg, Austria, "were scattered all over hell" by a fierce storm and his ship limped back to Italy on four "bad engines."

Six days before his death, Ignacio wrote to his oldest brother. Father Ramon Garcia, hinting at his loneliness but staying upbeat.

"Dear Ray.... It is very lonesome here, but I know that at last I am in the war.... You'd be surprised how high our morale is, maybe because we're really giving the enemy hell."

Later, a crew member who parachuted from the same stricken B-24 Ignacio was on wrote to Ignacio's mother detailing "that horrible day."

"We were attacked by 7 ME-109s [German fighters]. They riddled the ship with incendiary bullets, rockets and 20mm shells.... I tried to talk to Ignacio over the interphone to see if he was alright; I didn't get any answer. He may have been busy firing," wrote the crew member, who said he hoped that "everything turns out for the best."

During the war, Leonard said, there was nothing unusual about six brothers serving in the military. "It wasn't just patriotism. It was a sense 'of duty that all of us felt we had to do," he said. "I never thought we were special because six of us served during the war."

In addition to Leonard and Alfonso, Tony and Joe Garcia are still living. Alfonso said most men in his old Boyle Heights neighborhood served during World War II. About 40 of them get together monthly for breakfast in Whittier. "We're all old guys now. We were very close growing up, but the war brought us closer together. We all did our duty for our country."



Honoring the fallen . . . . .

Monument to be established for Prado

Guadalupe Prado Jr. pictured here just out of basic training. On June 16 city officials of Mercedes voted to establish a monument in honor of Wally Prado at the Mercedes Civic Center.  Courtesy Photo

This article is about what I have been trying to do for my uncle,  from all the way out here in Japan.  It was nice to know that someone else took this for action and is making it come a reality.  To share the story of someone so courageous,  and to share it with today's generation,  before it is gone. This Mimi is about MY uncle...... Wally Prado.
Robert Gonzalez (Del Valle)

MERCEDES, TX — Guadalupe Prado Jr., known as Wally to his family and friends, would have turned 62 years old this month.  Instead, those he left behind 40 years ago when he was killed in combat in Vietnam on June 9, 1969 are finalizing details with his hometown to commemorate his name.

On June 16, city officials voted to establish a monument in honor of Wally Prado at the Mercedes Civic Center. A committee will be appointed to organize the assignment within two weeks.  City Commissioner Dianna Tovar, who will be spearheading the project, explained that while there are no specific details yet, suggestions have been introduced as to how best honor Prado. There is also a possibility, Tovar said, that Chapman Street along the civic center will be renamed Wally Prado Street. 

"We're working on different sketchings at the moment to present to the council and the Prado family and see which rendition they like most," Tovar said. "We hope to accomplish this project within the next year."  Attempts to pay tribute to Prado have been made in the past.  Recently, a third petition was filed to rename Mile 1 Road after him. Like twice before, the petition was scrutinized when residents living along the roadway objected to the change since it would change their mailing addresses.

Abraham Flores Jr., 59, said he knew Prado since junior high school until the day he died. Flores and Ignacia Prado, the veteran's mother, filed the first petition to rename Mile 1 Road.  "We were schoolmates, we were partners, we were very good friends," Flores said. "He was one of my best friends."  In 2003, Flores helped organize the second petition. After it was rejected, Flores held back, not wanting to endure another struggle with the city, although he did support the third petition after it was filed.

Joe Perez, 57, was also a friend to Prado.  Looking back, Perez describes him as a protector. Although he was not a physically large person, Prado was courageous, Perez said.  "He was an honorable man. He was always protecting everyone around him and he did the same thing in war," Perez said. "It would be a small sacrifice to change a letterhead on an envelope considering the sacrifice Wally made."

Prado was drafted by the U.S. Army and left for Vietnam on Nov. 14, 1968. Just three days before his 22nd birthday, Prado was mortally wounded in Vietnam's A Shau Valley when he disregarded his own safety and fired upon enemy troops, protecting his fellow comrades and allowing them to take cover, according to U.S. Army records. 

For his valor, Prado received the Purple Heart and, later in 1973, the Silver Star, the third-highest award for bravery in combat given by the U.S. military. 

Julia Garcia, Prado's older sister, was 29 years old when her brother died. Like Perez, she recalls her brother as defender. He was protective, Garcia said, always defending those who needed it most.  Garcia's mother, who helped initiate the petition to honor her son by renaming Mile 1 Road, died almost three years ago, never seeing her dream of the city recognizing him realized.

Garcia and her younger sister Bernaida McClellan of Edinburg describe the long wait as "a lack of somebody following through" but hope to see the monument for their brother built soon.  "We want to be around when it happens and not have to wait 10, 15, or 20 years," said McClellan.  Garcia and McClellan, though, are ultimately pleased with the outcome.

"We wanted to get to the bottom of this and find out what the Prado family wanted for their loved one," Tovar said. "After meeting with them, that's what they agreed upon." The generation from that era will soon be gone, Perez said, and it is significant that Prado is not forgotten. "We have to honor the people that paid the ultimate sacrifice. They sacrificed their lives," Perez said. "The only thing we can do is honor their memory."

On behalf of the city, Tovar agreed.  "I couldn't tell you about past commissions and why it was not passed, but I can tell you our commission is very proactive," Tovar said. "This commission is dedicated to honoring Mr. Wally Prado and other veterans."


U.S. Latino and Latina World War II Oral History Project 
University of Texas at Austin Libraries

By: Fernando Dovalina

Date of Birth: 06-28-1925
Interviewed by:  Fernando Dovalina
WWII Military Unit:  Army

Even though he stands only five feet five, Ed Peniche must be one of the tallest men in the world. Every time this son of Mexico has been challenged in life, he has measured up – and then some.

He measured up as a soldier fighting for his adopted country, the United States, in World War II, although he wasn’t yet a citizen. He was wounded in action, and he saved the lives of fellow soldiers by endangering his own. His heroism earned him a handful of medals, including the Purple Heart and two Bronze Stars.

He says that, though he highly values the medals extolling his valor, his most prized possession is a simple citation from Central Virginia Community College, which mentions his 22 years of service to the college as a professor and calls him an inspiration and an influence to several generations of students. Finally, it bestows on him the title of professor emeritus.  "Once you have the education," he said, "that opens the doors everywhere."  He pointed to his war decorations and said, "I received those in the midst of destruction and hate and despair."

Then he grabbed the framed resolution of appreciation and said, "This one I achieved by sticking to goals I established."

Peniche was one of eight children of parents who grew up during the Mexican Revolution. Neither of them went much further than the seventh grade. But they were self-taught: His father was an avid reader and wrote poetry. His mother insisted her children get an education.

Peniche remembered his father reading to his children, as well as making them pore through Mexican newspapers, especially the Sunday editions, with their editorials and articles that dealt with the arts and literature. In school, he was exposed to English, and in the parish church's Saturday catechism classes, to Latin.

Progreso, on the Gulf of Mexico coast, is about 25 miles north of Merida, Yucatan's capital, a larger, more cosmopolitan city, which offered the Peniches multiple reasons to visit, such as stores, parks and the zoo.

On Dec. 7, 1942, at the age of 17, Peniche arrived in the U.S. to get an education and live in Paducah, Ky., with his father's sister, Aunt Pilar, and her husband, Eduardo Menendez. It was clear, however, that he was going to have to start almost from scratch in Paducah, as the schools didn’t recognize any of his credits from Mexico. He attended both junior high and high school at the same time, beginning in January of 1943.

In April, Peniche received a letter from the draft board, notifying him that even though he wasn’t a citizen, he was subject to the draft and had to register by his 18th birthday. And in May, Uncle Sam notified him that he’d be inducted. He decided to volunteer for the Army Air Corps instead.

"I wanted to be a fighter pilot. They had a program for high school students ... you could go either Navy or Air Force pilot program, so I went to take that program. I passed everything ... but I didn't finish the written portion. I was not that fluent in English."

In September of 1943, he became a U.S. soldier, receiving basic training in the field artillery, then getting advanced training to be a part of a Forward Observer Team. He also trained in hand-to-hand combat.

To Peniche, that meant eventual assignment to Europe.  He was right. In early May, he arrived in Bristol, England, and almost immediately was given a chance to apply for airborne training. It was an easy decision, he said. By the time the Army took out an allotment for his mother, money for GI insurance, the old soldiers home and laundry, he had $16 a month.

"So they say ... 'You jump out of airplanes, and you get $50 a month jump pay.' Well, $50 a month jump pay and you wear a suit like that. I go for it," he said, laughing at the recollection.

He was initially assigned to the 101st Division Artillery, a part of the combat support elements (and replacements), to be deployed with the follow-up seaborne echelon and to provide security and logistical support to Division Artillery units.

On June 6, 1944, D-Day, the Allied invasion of Normandy was launched.

"We departed on the 5th, in the afternoon. And there were lots of ships," he said. "And the next day, around 10 o'clock, we heard announcements that under the command of Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Allied forces were landing on the coast of France. Now, at that time, we ... knew we were going to go to France."

But the men didn't know which beach. Then the unit received its maps and final briefing.

"It was ... a little bit misty ... the ship was crowded and some people were getting seasick. I wasn't," he recalled.

Peniche, in fact, said he was excited. He and the other men were combat support troops, not assault troops, and they were headed for Utah Beach, bringing heavy equipment, artillery, supplies, ammunition, tractors and trucks for the troops in battle.

But the naval task force had gone in the wrong direction and suddenly, he said, "Omaha Beach was in front of us, about 15 miles."

The correction took another two days, so, on June 9, "D plus three at 7 p.m., we landed in France at Utah Beach."

And that's when he saw the first dead troops, first Germans, "but then I also, I saw an American soldier, young soldier, big, big guy, probably over 6 foot, had a neck wound, and he had bled to death."

"That was very scary," he said. "I saw dead Germans, 11 of them. I saw cows, bloated, horses, a lot of this stuff. You knew you were in combat."  Peniche came under artillery fire in the vicinity of Carentan.

"In all sincerity, you don't have time to fear. You assume ... that you will not be hit. But somebody else will. But it's terrifying ... cause you know it's a false self-assurance."

But, he said, when a shell goes by, "you feel the heat or you smell the thing ... But you are in denial, and you are hugging the ground. You're doing everything you were trained to do."

Peniche started his airborne glider and jump training once he returned to England in the middle of July 1944. He’d been assigned to Charlie Battery, 81st Antitank Antiaircraft Airborne Battalion, a special unit to support infantry regiments.

On Sept. 15, orders were issued for the mission Operation Market Garden, which began on Sept. 17, and "turned out to be the largest airborne operation. They lifted altogether 35,000 men."

Eighty-seven gliders from his battalion left, and "47 made it to the landing zone," Peniche said. The ones that didn’t were shot down or lost in the English Channel or Belgium.

Peniche's glider left on the 19th and landed "in the middle of the German army," he said.

"As we were getting the gun out and waiting for the Jeep, we came under enemy fire ... Holland is a very flat country. So whenever you are on a road in Holland, you are a target."

The glider had landed at the Drop Zone/Landing Zone near Zon.  "We were sent to protect the bridges. Our mission was to keep the highway ... open, so that the British armor would flow into northern Holland."

The First British Airborne Division, however, had landed "in the middle of where two Panzer divisions were re-outfitting." The British were defeated. "But we, the 101st and 82d, we accomplished our mission,” Peniche said.

"There's a saying," he added, "'There is nothing taller than a short paratrooper.' I feel 10 feet tall. You know why? Because I had confidence, and I felt welcome." At the time, Peniche says, he was "five feet five, 132 pounds. I would jump number 4 and number 18 would beat me to the ground."

But what counts, he said, is "Do you measure up? Can you measure up? Can you give all you have? Can you stand tall? ... Can you go all the way? All these are icons, you might say, icon words. But you live up to it because you reach down deep ... We were not Supermen. Of course, we were not. I saw the troopers dead. That's not Supermen. I know, I know that times, I remember, the crying, in pain. So it's not Supermen. Humans – willing to go that extra mile – that's what it was."

On Dec. 16, 1944, the German army attacked the Allies "with a quarter of a million men, 1,200 tanks, about 3,000 guns," Peniche said. "And the Allied front lines started crumbling."

Adolf Hitler, believing that a crushing blow to the Allied armies on the western front would free his armies to fight the Russians on the east, had bet everything on this attack.

The Battle of the Bulge was on.

Bastogne, in the Luxembourg province in southeast Belgium, was an important highway and railroad junction; control of Bastogne was essential to both sides. On Dec. 17, in the evening, the 101st Airborne Division, a strategic reserve that had been refitting at Reims, in northeast France, was called into combat at Bastogne, about 100 miles away. The Germans' Fifth Panzer Army was only 15 miles from the town the morning of Dec. 18.

But the Americans had driven all night, reaching Bastogne just ahead of the Germans. Against tremendous odds, the men of the 101st stood firm. Their military achievement came to be known as the Defense of Bastogne.

"Here we are, surrounded by eight German divisions," Peniche said. "And they demand that we surrender."

Gen. A.C. McAuliffe, commanding the 101st, responded with a one-word answer that became famous and re-energized Americans on the war front and the home front: "NUTS!"
Peniche theorized that McAuliffe knew "he had the men to back him up."

The Germans intentionally took advantage of the weather to protect their offensive. Mist and rain made it difficult for the Allies to attack from the air. But the weather took its toll on both sides as temperatures fell.

"I am from the Yucatan. To be ten below zero, my biggest fear was that I was not going to wake up. The enemy fire -- the enemy fire would not let up. But the cold was torturing you day and night. And I, I was panic-stricken ... If I fall asleep, I'll never wake up."  Foxholes didn’t provide much protection.

"It was snowing. We had, in some places, two feet of snow. And then, when you are in the foxhole and the heat, your body heat, melts all that snow. So in the bottom of the foxhole, you have a puddle of water," water that threatened their lives.

The men would place hay at the bottom of the foxhole to give their feet some protection from the melting snow, but frostbite claimed many soldiers.  "I saw some German prisoners. They were purple, their faces, their arms. And Americans that died of frostbite."

On Dec. 26, Gen. George Patton's 3d Army relieved Bastogne, but the worst wasn’t over for the 101st. On Jan. 3, 1945, it had its heaviest engagement yet, just north of Bastogne in Longchamp, Belgium.

"The Germans attacked our front. They had 32 tanks, two regiments ... our battalion was in the center."  The Ninth Panzer Division "pulverized the front lines. It was the most -- the heaviest artillery barrage and airbursts," Peniche recalled.

"The attack lasted about three hours. We destroyed three tanks. Another squad ... destroyed seven tanks. That was a major contribution that we made to break the backbone of the attack."

Peniche, his squad leader and a close friend would be wounded, Peniche's shrapnel wound to his knee joint requiring the work of a specialist. Later, he was cited for "heroic achievement in action," awarded the Bronze Star with V device for "valor."

In July of 1999, the people of Longchamp erected and unveiled a monument to the men who defended the town. Peniche and his family attended, and were awed to find out the rock on which the monument stands was named in his honor. It’s called the Stele Peniche.

"Garner told me in a letter, 'I'll never forget when you exposed yourself to save me ... You showed me what a great Mexican-American you are.' He spelled it out like that. And O'Toole wrote me a letter saying, 'I always told my children that there was this little Mexican boy you could count on when you needed him the most.' "

Peniche spent two and a half months in the hospital. After that, he rejoined his unit in Germany. The war in Europe ended in May of 1945, and Peniche expected to be sent to the Pacific, where the war against Japan raged on.

"But then, Truman, who knew what he was doing, didn't hesitate in dropping the atomic bomb and sav[ing] about half a million Americans from their deaths."

He's quick to add that his position wasn’t anti-Japanese. He’d never used racist terminology, such as "Japs, Krauts," he said.

After the war, Peniche returned to Mexico and helped the country organize its Airborne units. He resigned his commission as a lieutenant in the Mexican army and returned to the U.S. in early 1952 to re-enter the U.S. Army.

Peniche was sent to Fort Riley, Kan., for a basic training refresher course and, to Fort Benning, Ga., for a refresher course in Airborne training. To improve his English so he could finally get a high school diploma, he began corresponding with students at his former high school in Paducah.

One of them was special. Her name was Dean.  "I thought she was -- she just was a wonderful and gentle girl."

In May of 1953, Peniche graduated with Dean and her twin brother. Soon thereafter, he was offered a job to instruct the Taiwanese in the use of American weapons. That meant a two-year stint abroad. He decided to formalize his relationship with Dean.

"So I went to Paducah and I asked her parents," he said. "I asked for her hand in marriage. Very formally. And of course we spent three hours ... in her living room. You know, she [was] 18."   Peniche was 27.

"The parents had several concerns. I was older. I was a soldier. What did I have to offer? I was Catholic, Mexican, you know. They didn't say Mexican, but it was in their minds ... I don't blame them. I mean, an 18-year-old girl." Despite initial misgivings, the Baggetts approved the union. And on Oct. 6, 1953, Ed Peniche and Deanie Baggett married in her house, and soon thereafter left for Taiwan, where they spent two years. In Taiwan, he learned Portuguese from a priest. On their return, Peniche attended the University of Georgia. The Army selected him for an assignment in Vietnam and trained him in the Vietnamese language. He arrived in Vietnam in January of 1959. Deanie joined him in May. They were there until July of 1962.

Because of his language skills, Peniche landed a job with the InterAmerican Defense College in Washington, D.C. While there, he enrolled at Georgetown University, later switching to George Washington University because it was less expensive. It took him 11 years, but he earned his undergraduate degree in 1966. Then, in1969, he earned a degree in history from the University of Nebraska in Omaha. A month after leaving the service a second time, in 1970, he enrolled in graduate school at Murray State University. Eighteen months later, he defended a master's thesis on Mayan culture and civilization -- the civilization of his Yucatan homeland and Mayan ancestors -- and received his master's degree.

"That allowed me to become a college professor."  But even that wasn’t easy. He applied to 127 colleges, receiving 122 rejections and five maybes.

"And then I went to Central Virginia Community College and when they interviewed me for Spanish, the president told me 'I cannot give you credit for what you taught in the military.' "But the college gave him a one-year offer, after which Peniche would get a second look from the administration. He stayed 22 years.

As of 2005, Peniche was semi-retired and continued volunteer tutorial work for ESL and U.S. history. He was also in the process of writing his memoir, in which he would highlight the values of higher education. He also lectured in the Houston metropolitan area about once every other month. In his lifetime, he learned and utilized five languages in the military: Spanish, English, French, Portuguese and Vietnamese.

He and Deanie had three sons. One of them died at 19, a tragedy that Peniche admits almost destroyed him.

Peniche also admits to having no patience for people who claim to be patriotic by waving the American flag in front of them as proof.

"You know, many people identify themselves with, they use the flag for many things. But I don't accept that from those that are phonies, because when it came to defending the flag, I was in front of it, defending it," he said.

"That's when you defend the flag. You don't defend it from behind. You get in front of it to really defend it. And that's what I did."

Mr. Peniche was interviewed in Kingswood, Texas, on May 17, 2000, by Fernando Dovalina.

Sent by Rafael Ojeda


General Officer Biography


The first woman to hold the rank of Brigadier General in the Oklahoma Air National Guard and the first female commander in the Air National Guard.

Major General LaRita A. Aragon is the Air National Guard assistant to the deputy chief of staff of Staff Manpower and Personnel. She serves as the senior Air National Guard officer responsible for comprehensive plans and policies covering all life cycles of military and civilian personnel management, which includes military and civilian end strength management, education and training, and compensation and resource allocation. General Aragon serves on the Air Force Personnel Board of Directors for personnel integration matters.

Major General Aragon enlisted in the Oklahoma Air National Guard on September 9, 1979 as an Airman Basic in the 219th Engineering Installation Squadron, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. She received her commission through the Academy of Military Science at Knoxville, Tennessee in October 1981. She returned to the 219th EIS as an administrative officer. In February 1989 General Aragon became the first female commander in the Oklahoma Air National Guard when she assumed command of the 137th Services Flight at Will Rogers Air National Guard Base. She became the first female to hold the rank of Brigadier General in Oklahoma National Guard and the first female commander of the Oklahoma Air National Guard in March 2003.


1970 Bachelor of Science Degree in Education, Central State College, Edmond, OK
1979 Masters Degree in Guidance and Counseling, Central State College, Edmond, OK
1986 Squadron Officer School, by correspondence
1995 Air Command and Staff College, by correspondence
1998 Air War College, by correspondence
2000 Reserve Officer National Defense Security Course
2003 Russian General Officer Security Course
2003 Professional Military Comptroller Course
2003 Senior Leader Depot Course


1. September 1979 - October 1981, draftsman apprentice, 219th EIS, Will Rogers Air National Guard Base, OK
2. October 1981 - March 1983, administrative officer, 219th EIS, Will Rogers Air National Guard Base, OK
3. March 1983 - June 1985, wing education and training officer, 137th Tactical Airlift Wing, Will Rogers Air National Guard Base, OK
4. June 1985 - February 1989, wing executive officer, 137th Tactical Airlift Wing, Will Rogers Air National Guard Base, OK
5. February 1989 - January 1993, commander, 137th Services Flight, Will Rogers Air National Guard Base, OK
6. January 1993 - September 1994, commander, 137th Mission Support Squadron, Will Rogers Air National Guard Base, OK
7. September 1994 - May 1995, commander, 137th Logistics Squadron, Will Rogers Air National Guard Base, OK
8. May 1995 - January 1997, commander, 137th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, Will Rogers Air National Guard Base, OK
9. January 1997 - August 1998, commander, 137th Support Group, Will Rogers Air National Guard Base, OK
10. August 1998 - March 2003, executive support staff officer, Headquarters Oklahoma Air National Guard, Oklahoma Military Department, Oklahoma City, OK
11. March 2003 - September 2005, commander and assistant adjutant general, Headquarters Oklahoma Air National Guard, Oklahoma Military Department, Oklahoma City, OK
12. September 2003 - September 2005, (Dual-Hat Assignment) Air National Guard assistant to the assistant secretary of the Air Force for Financial Management and Comptroller, Pentagon, Washington, D.C.
13. September 2005 - September 2006, Air National Guard assistant to the commander, Air Education and Training Command, Randolph Air Force Base, TX
14. September 2006 - Present, Air National Guard assistant to the deputy chief of staff Manpower and Personnel, Pentagon, Washington, D.C.


Legion of Merit
Meritorious Service Medal with 2 devices
Air Force Commendation Medal
Army Commendation Medal
Air Force Achievement Medal
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
National Defense Service Medal with 1 device
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Humanitarian Service Medal
Air Force Longevity Service Award Ribbon with 4 devices
Basic Military Training Honor Graduate Ribbon
Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon with 1 device
Air Force Training Ribbon with 1 device


Board of Directors Red Cross Chapter of Central Oklahoma
National Guard Association of Oklahoma - Member /Board of Directors
National Guard Association of the United States - Member
Academy of Military Science Alumni Association - Secretary /Board of Directors
Integrated Planning Process Group for the Air National Guard - Regional Representative
National Guard Scholarship Foundation of Oklahoma - Vice Pres/ Board of Directors
Women In Military Service for America - Regional Representative/ Charter Member


Woman of the Year for Government (Edmond, Oklahoma)
Oklahoma Hospitality Club “Women in the News”
Oklahoma Woman Veteran of the Year
Red Lands Counsel Girl Scouts Woman of the Year
Oklahoma City Principal of the Year
OKC Chamber of Commerce Excellent Educator of the Year
President Oklahoma City Principal Association

Sent by Bill Carmena



The Contributions of Hispanic Servicewomen

Written by: Judith Bellafaire, Ph.D., Curator
Women In Military Service For America Memorial Foundation, Inc.

When the military first began accepting women into its ranks in the early 20th century, only small numbers of Hispanic women joined the services. Traditional Hispanic cultural values discouraged women from traveling any distance from or working outside the home. These prohibitions began to change during World War II, when the nation needed the contributions of all of its citizens.

World War II
Carmen (Contreras) Bozak joined the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) in 1942. The Army was looking for bilingual Hispanic women to fill assignments in fields such as cryptology, communications and interpretation. Bozak volunteered to be part of the 149th WAAC Post Headquarters Company—the first to go overseas—and went to North Africa in January 1943. Serving overseas was dangerous for these women. If captured, WAACs, as "auxiliaries" serving with the Army rather than in it, did not have the same protections under international law as male soldiers. Tech 4 Bozak worked as an interpreter at Army Headquarters in Algiers, and dealt with nightly German air raids.

Sergeant Mary (Valfre) Castro, the first Hispanic woman from San Antonio, TX, to join the WAAC, signed up to help bring home the seven men in her family who were fighting in the Southwest Pacific. The Army sent her to radio school in St. Louis, MO, where she learned to transcribe encoded radio messages. After Castro completed radio school, the Army assigned her to Barksdale Air Force Base (AFB), LA. Instead of working in a position for which she had been trained, she became a drill sergeant for new Women’s Army Corps (WAC) recruits.

In 1944, the Army sent three WAC recruiters to the island of Puerto Rico to organize a unit of 200 WACs. The young women of the island responded enthusiastically, and over 1,500 applications were submitted. The women selected were trained at Ft. Oglethorpe, GA, and assigned, as a single unit, to the New York City Port of Embarkation. They worked in the military offices that planned the shipment of troops around the world. When the war ended, the women helped millions of soldiers to return home before they themselves returned to Puerto Rico in 1946. Private First Class Carmen M. Medina, born in San Sebatian, was a member of this WAC detachment. Private Medina worked as a clerk typist in an Army post office at the port. She is proud of her service and believes that it was the most important thing she has ever endeavored to do.

Hispanic women also served as nurses during World War II. Army nurse Carmen Salazar of Los Angeles, CA, was assigned to a hospital train unit at the Presidio in San Francisco. The unit transported wounded servicemen from Letterman General Hospital to military hospitals across the United States. Second Lieutenant Salazar’s patients included ex-prisoners of war who had survived the Bataan Death March.

When large numbers of Puerto Rican troops were inducted into the Army in 1944, the Army Nurse Corps decided to actively recruit Puerto Rican nurses so that Army hospitals would not have to deal with language barriers. Thirteen women submitted applications and were accepted into the Army Nurse Corps. They were Venia Hilda Roig, Rose Mary Glanville, Asuncion Bonilla-Velasco, Elba Cintron, Casilda Gonzalez, Olga Gregory, Eva Garcia, Marta Munoz-Otero, Margarita Vilaro, Medarda Rosario, Aurea Cotto, Julie Gonzalez, and Carmen Lozano. Eight of the nurses were assigned to the army post at San Juan, and four worked at the hospital at Camp Tortuguero, a training center near Vega Baja.

Carmen (Lozano) Dumler, one of the thirteen, knew that she wanted to be an Army nurse when she graduated from the Presbyterian Hospital School of Nursing in the spring of 1944. She was sworn in as a second lieutenant on August 21, 1944, and remembers it as the proudest day of her life. Her first assignment was at the 161st General Hospital in San Juan. The Army then sent her to Camp Tortuguero. The patients were happy to have a Spanish-speaking nurse to whom they could relate. Lieutenant Dumler assisted as an interpreter whenever necessary. Her next assignment was at the 359th Station Hospital at Ft. Read, Trinidad, British West Indies. While there, she nursed soldiers recovering from wounds they had received at Normandy. The soldiers appreciated being able to talk out their anxieties and nightmares with someone who shared their language.

Lieutenant Maria (Garcia) Roach served as a flight nurse with the Army Nurse Corps in the China-Burma-India Theater of Operations, and received an Air Medal and two Bronze Stars for her heroic actions. First Lieutenant Jovita (Soto) Mounsey joined the Army Nurse Corps in 1945, and was assigned to the William Beaumont Army Hospital in El Paso, TX, where she worked on the surgical ward and cared for orthopedic patients. After the war, Lieutenant Mounsey was sent to Europe, and served with US forces in Belgium, France and Occupation Germany.

A small number of Hispanic women served in the Naval Women’s Reserve, known as the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service), during World War II. Maria (Rodriguez) Denton, a native of Guanica, Puerto Rico, was one of these women. Lieutenant (jg) Denton worked in New York City. Maria (Ferrell) Menefee, born in Guadalajara, Mexico, joined the WAVES in 1944, and was sent to Bronson Field, FL, where she met her future husband, a naval aviator.

The Marine Corps Women’s Reserve also had the aid of Hispanic women during the war. Corporal Maria (Torres) Maes joined the Marines specifically to "Free A Man To Fight." After completing boot camp at Camp LeJeune, NC, she was sent to Quartermaster School and assigned to the Marine Corps Base at Quantico, VA.

The 1950s and the Korean Conflict
At the end of World War II, many women left the service. When the Korean War began in June 1950, the services of women were needed once again and the Department of Defense instituted a nation-wide recruitment campaign aimed at encouraging more women to join the armed forces. The American people, however, were tired of war and recruitment campaigns faltered. The Korean situation did not appear to be a direct threat to the US and most women were more interested in raising families than in embarking upon careers, military or otherwise. Nevertheless, some patriotic women joined up.

Lieutenant Colonel Nilda Carrulas Cedero Fuertes was born in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico, and joined the Army Nurse Corps in 1953, serving on active duty until 1964. She then joined the Reserves and served until 1990. Her most memorable experience in the military was teaching the latest modern nursing techniques to Nicaraguan Army nurses while on temporary duty (TDY) in Nicaragua for six months

Alicia (Gutierrez) Gillians joined the WAC in 1948. While serving as a recruiter in Los Angeles, CA, then Staff Sergeant Gutierrez rescued a young boy whose clothes had caught fire. Her actions earned her the Commendation Ribbon for Meritorious Service. In August 1955, she was named the All-Army Women’s Singles Tennis Champ. Master Sergeant Gillians retired from military service in 1980.

Rose Franco was one of the few Puerto Rican women to join the Marine Corps during the 1950s. Born in Ensenada, she joined at the age of 20 and became a supply administrative assistant at Camp Pendleton, CA. Franco returned to Puerto Rico at the end of her four-year enlistment, intending to work for an airline company, but missed being a Marine so much that she decided to re-enlist. She was sent to the First Marine Corps District in Garden City, Long Island, NY, and was later assigned to Parris Island, SC. In 1965, Franco was selected for a job at the Pentagon as the Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the Navy. On his recommendation, she was appointed as a warrant officer, one of only 11 women warrant officers in the Marine Corps at that time. Franco went on to hold several notable positions throughout the country. She retired from the Marine Corps in 1977 as a Chief Warrant Officer 3.

The 1960s and Vietnam
During the 1960s, the number of women entering the military remained fairly small. Although the armed forces permitted relatively few women to serve in Vietnam, nurses, medical specialists, and civilians (such as those with the Army’s Special Services) were desperately needed. Maryagnes Trujillo-McDonnell joined the Army Nurse Corps in 1963. As a first lieutenant she served at the 85th Evacuation Hospital north of Qui Nhon, Vietnam, from 1965 to 1966.

Major Aida Nancy Sanchez, Army Medical Specialist Corps, served at the 95th Evacuation Hospital near Da Nang, from December 1970 to December 1971. As the first physical therapist (PT) assigned to the hospital, she had to set up a clinic in a quonset hut that had previously served as the Post Exchange (PX). In the meantime, Sanchez treated as many as 70 patients a day, using a ward storage area as an office. During Tet, the Vietnamese lunar New Year, hospital personnel were issued "frag" (bulletproof) jackets and helmets. The protective gear was required to be kept close at all times in case of a reoccurrence of the 1968 Tet Offensive. When she left Vietnam she was assigned as the chief of the Physical Therapy Section, Ft. Gordon, GA. In 1976, Lieutenant Colonel Sanchez retired after serving 24 years.

The 1970s and the All-Volunteer Force
When the Department of Defense established the All Volunteer Force during the 1970s, more women of every race began entering every branch of the service. Navy Petty Officer Margarita Rodriguez enlisted in the Army in 1972, and served as a medical specialist until 1975. She nursed soldiers returning from Vietnam, and felt that she was making a significant contribution. Rodriguez then joined the Navy as a hospital corpsman. In 1977, while at Naval Facility (NAVFAC) Eleuthra in the Bahamas, she was named "Sailor of the Quarter." She was honored as "Sailor of the Month" in 1981, while stationed at Oakland Naval Hospital, CA. Rodriguez completed her military career by serving in the Naval Reserve from 1982 to 1984.

In 1975, Ophelia (Rodriguez) De La Garza enlisted in the Air Force. She was the first female from her family to join the military. De La Garza became a contract specialist in procurement, and for years was one of the few women in the Air Force to hold this traditionally male job. She then became the only female member of the Honor Guard at Langley AFB, Hampton, VA. At first, her colleagues doubted her ability to handle the job, but she proved herself and held the position for two years. Staff Sergeant De La Garza served in the Air Force until 1986.

Sergeant Brunilda Cofresi-Toro joined the Army in 1979. She received her basic training at Ft. Dix, NJ, and then went to Ft. Lee, VA, for specialist training as a material supply specialist. The Army then sent her to the 535th Engineer Company at Grafenwohr, West Germany, for three years where she served as a clerk with The Army Maintenance Management System (TAMMS). Sergeant Cofresi-Toro then left active duty. As a Reservist, Cofresi-Toro was assigned to the 464th Transportation Company in Alexandria, VA, as a dispatch clerk. As of September 1977, there were about 3,640 Hispanic women in the military–260 officers and 3,380 enlisted women. They represented about three percent of all enlisted women and two percent of the female officers at a time when Hispanics comprised five percent of the US population. During the 1980s, the percentage of Hispanic female enlisted and officer personnel began to increase.

The 1980s and Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm
Many Hispanic servicewomen served overseas during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Petty Officer Sandra (Villarreal) Hormiga served aboard the ship USS McKee. One day, while performing a General Quarters Drill, she realized that, "We were no longer ‘just doing drills’ we were practicing saving our own lives. From that moment on, I began to treat each drill as an actual chemical attack."

In 1978, Sergeant Gianna (Fimbres) Nenna Church joined the Air Force and served for five years. After a four-year hiatus, she joined the Army in 1987. During the Gulf War, Church was sent to Saudi Arabia, as a petroleum supply specialist. She drove fuel trucks in convoys, traveling day and night to supply fuel to units scattered across the desert. Church recalled one mission during which she and several other soldiers got stuck in the sand and encountered enemy fire. On another occasion, they were lead into a tank fight. "Rounds were going in between the trucks," remembered Church.

The 1990s and the end of the millennium
Overseas service often entails personal risk, even when it is not tied to an official military operation. Captain Wanda (Ortiz) Thayne, the only military women in a family with a proud tradition of military men, joined the Air Force in 1989. One of her assignments, as a social worker in the Biomedical Services Corps, sent her to Clark AFB in the Philippines. Upon her arrival, Thayne learned that, only three days before, the National People’s Army had killed three Americans. The base was in "THREAT CON Charlie" for most of her tour. Service personnel were forbidden from wearing their uniform off base, a curfew was put into effect, and off-base travel was strictly limited. Although her tour was stressful, Thayne received a great deal of satisfaction helping handicapped and learning disabled military family members. Another memorable experience in Thayne’s career was briefing departing troops in stress management during Operation Desert Storm.

Five years after the Gulf War, Hispanic women comprised approximately six percent of enlisted women in the military, and three percent of female officers. Today, Hispanic women are serving throughout the armed forces and breaking traditional barriers. Army Major Sonia Roca, born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, was proud to have been the first Hispanic female officer to attend the Command and General Staff College. Iris Rodriguez, a sergeant with the United States Army, was the Military District of Washington’s Soldier of the Year in 1996. During an assignment at the Pentagon, she was selected to work for the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS).

A Family Affair
We often hear stories of sons following their fathers into the service or of brothers enlisting together to fight the enemy. As women establish their own military tradition, daughters now follow in their mother’s footsteps and sisters serve together. The experiences of one woman can inspire those around her to pursue a military career.

Geraldina (Ruiz) Zore, joined the Army in 1970 and attended Officer’s Candidate School at Ft. McClellan, AL. As a second lieutenant, she was a WAC Detachment Commander and the first female commander to whom a male soldier was assigned. She served as a recruiting operations officer and was the first female account officer with responsibility for two finance officers and a forward support team. As a captain, Zore was assigned to the Department of the Army Quality Assurance Team. She then served as an inspector general for a joint command, and was the first female finance officer to be selected and serve as battalion commander and account holder. Lieutenant Colonel Zore, who retired in 1994, believes that her success in traditional male jobs has paved the way for other women to follow.

Lillie Werts-Smith, following the example of her mother Diana and two aunts, also chose to serve her country in the armed forces. In 1977, she joined the Air National Guard. Werts-Smith served until 1988, at which time she became a nurse in the Army National Guard. Her unit was activated during Operation Desert Storm. In 1997, Werts-Smith retired as a major after serving 20 years.

The Women In Military Service For America Memorial Foundation, Inc. honors all women who have served or are serving in or with the US Armed Forces from the creation of this nation to the present day. The Women’s Memorial is asking descendents, family, friends, and all servicewomen (veterans, active duty, Guard and Reserve) to register women’s military experiences. Every woman’s story is important and without them our history will never be complete. Please call 800-4-SALUTE for more information.


As the U.S. Military begins offering citizenship for service to fill its ranks
NPP Releases Recruitment 2008: Age, Race, Income, Education
National Priorities Project (NPP) finds a drop in age among new recruits,
an over representation of low- and middle-income individuals,

an increase in Black recruits and a decrease in Hispanic recruits 
Online Tool Allows the Public to Analyze Army Data
by State, County, Zip Code, Education Level, "Quality of Recruit"


NORTHAMPTON, MA - A new NPP analysis notes a significant drop in age among new recruits. Using census material, combined with data on 2008 Army enlistment obtained through a Freedom of Information Act, NPP research also uncovers a continued over representation of recruits from low- and middle-income families, an increase in Black recruits, decrease in Hispanic recruits and important education trends.

This work is a result of an expanded NPP initiative, which now includes a database of 2004-2008 military recruitment numbers broken down by zip code, county and state. A snapshot analysis and overview of current military recruitment data, which includes a ranking of counties by recruits per thousand youth, charts and tables on a particular county, zip code or state is available at

"The education trends are striking," notes Suzanne Smith, Research Director for National Priorities Project. "While both Hispanic and Black recruits are more likely to have a high school diploma than whites, as a group they have lower AFQT scores. This finding makes us question their opportunities as enlisted personnel."

NPP's new data shows:
Low- and middle income neighborhoods continue to be overrepresented. Active-duty Army recruits disproportionately come from low-to middle income neighborhoods. Neighborhood incomes in the lowest 10% of population were underrepresented, as were those in the top 20%.
The age of new recruits fell. Fifty-two percent of new recruits in 2008 were below the age of 21. This is up from 48.5% in 2007.
The percentage of recruits who are black has risen since 2005, increasing from 15% in 2005 to 16.6% in 2008. The sharpest increase was between 2007 and 2008.
The percentage of new recruits who are Hispanic has fallen a full percentage point between 2005 and 2008, with 10.85% of new recruits identifying themselves as Hispanic.
Both Hispanic and Black recruits are also more likely than whites to be women, and to come from low-income neighborhoods.
Both Hispanic and Black recruits are more likely to have a high school diploma, but as a group have lower scores on the AFQT than white recruits.

Jo Comerford, NPP's Executive Director adds, "Even more striking than the finding that 52% of new recruits are below the age of 21 is the fact that 82.2% of new recruits are 24 or under. Once again we are compelled to note the Army's disproportionate reliance on young people, people of color and individuals from low- and middle-income families to fill its ranks. And this on the heels of the recent decision to recruit immigrants with temporary visas, offering them a fast-track to citizenship in exchange for service - because the Army still cannot meet its ever-expanding quotas." 

February 18, 2009
Contact: Suzanne Smith, Research Director
413.320.8530 (cell),
Jo Comerford, Executive Director
413.559.1649 (cell)


Need Information on US Military Medals and Ribbons 

This is a good web site for people to check the medals and ribbons displayed on their veterans uniforms or listed in their DD 214 forms.  I suggest people not throw away or mix the position of the ribbons, in order to verify what medals or ribbons they think their loves ones were awarded. If you click the name of the medal/ribbon you will get another page to show the photos of the medals/ribbons. 

Rafael Ojeda



Our Latino Fallen Heroes from Iraq and Afgahnistan


Web sites compiled by Rafael Ojeda Tacoma,WA  JUN 13,2009  




VA Welcoming Vets Home with New Web Site, 
Blog WASHINGTON (April 20, 2009) - 


The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has launched its new "Returning Veterans" Web site -- <> -- to welcome home Veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts with a social, Veteran-centric Web site focusing on their needs and questions. "VA is entering the world of Web 2.0, because that's where this generation of Veterans is already communicating," said Dr. Gerald M. Cross, VA's Principal Deputy Undersecretary for Health. 

"We're opening our doors to them virtually to let them know what they can expect when they step through our doors in reality." The Web site will feature videos, Veteran stories, and a blog where Veterans are encouraged to post feedback. The site also will restructure the traditional index-of-benefits format found on other VA pages into question-based, categorized, and easily navigated links by topic. This will allow Veterans to find benefits of interest easily and discover related benefits as they explore. "We hope our returning Veterans find this site easy and helpful, but also engaging," Dr. Cross said. 

"As the site grows, we will be linking to Veterans' blogs and highlighting more of their own stories from their own views. We are their VA, so we are eager to provide a forum for Veterans to discuss their lives." To unsubscribe from this list, or to update your name or e-mail address, please visit the following Internet address:




The Medal of Honor web sites: (compiled by Rafael Ojeda )





Captured Photo Collection
 The 65th Anniversary of D-Day on the Normandy Beach

If you save any War films, SAVE this one.   A lot of people I send this two won't remember these events and then again a lot of us will.  Grab a tissue and sit back for a historical visit of Normandy.  For those of you that  were too young or not even born yet, take the time to view the photo's and then read some of the letters that follows the photos.  


Patriots of the American Revolution

Judge Ed Butler, New National Society SAR President General 
4th of July 2009 Celebration in Macharaviaya, Spain
Mount Vernon, site for conferring 7 Purple Heart
Diocese of Louisiana and the Floridas  1786/05/18

Warm Congratulations to

Judge Ed Butler 
Named New 106th President General of the 
National Society Sons of the American Revolution 


On July 9, 2009, I was elected unanimously as the 106th President General of the National Society Sons of the American Revolution.  Nine members of my San Antonio chapter were in attendance.  They presented to me:
a 4' X 6' Spanish Imperial flag
the book Spanish Observers and the American Revolution, 1775-1783, by Light Townsend Cummings, and
A reprint of Army of Spain in the New World and Napoleonic Wars, 1740-1815, with 104 full page water color prints of Spanish Military uniforms.
Judge Tom Lawrence of Houston, the current Texas SAR state president presented me with a Texas flag that had flown over the state capital, and also gave me a certificate from Governor Rick Perry commissioning me as an Admiral in the Texas Navy.
I hope all is well with you.
Ed Butler


Editor: Judge Butler has set up a very busy traveling schedule to visit chapters all over the country.  During a February luncheon in Laredo, Texas, Judge Butler expressed a desire to promote a better understanding of the Spanish contributions to the American Revolution.  He said, "If I am elected as President General, I intend to travel all over with that message."    Let us keep Judge Butler in our thoughts and prayers.  He will be sharing our ancestors' history.  Unless your Spanish heritage ancestors entered the Americas after the American Revolution, it is very likely that if you have Spanish heritage ancestors that entered prior to the American Revolution, that they were involved in the American Revolution.  If you have an interest in pursuing that history, please do not hesitate to contact me.  

2009 Traveling Schedule for the President General Butler

Jul 30 – Aug. 2 TXSSAR BOM Lake Jackson, TX
Aug 4 – 6 1st NY Cont’ll Chpt New York City, NY
Aug 7 – 9 Mid Atlantic Conf. Rochester, NY
Aug. 21 – 22 So. Central Dist. Arlington, TX
Aug. 23 – 25 or 26 Amer. Legion Parade Louisville, KY  Amer. Legion Speech

Sep. 1 – 12 Mid Pacific Meeting Honolulu, HI  SAR Cruise[2]
Sep 16 – 17 Chicago SAR Chapter Chicago, IL
Sep. 20 Travel San Antonio to Louisville
Sep 21 – 23 Work in Office Louisville, KY
Sep 23 – 27 NSSAR Leadership Louisville, KY

Oct 2 – 4 Point Pleasant Battle[3] Point Pleasant, WV
Oct. 5 Travel Day
Oct. 6 Hambright grave marking Kings Mountain, NC So. Atlantic Dist 
Oct 7 Kings Mountain Celebration Kings Mtn. Nat. Park, SC
         McClanahan grave marking Greenville, SC
Oct 8 Travel Day
Oct 9 – 11 Savannah Celebration Savannah, GA
Oct 12 SCSSAR Charleston, SC
Oct 13 Travel day Charleston to San Antonio 
Oct. 16 - 19 Yorktown No Info Received @ dates
Oct 20 Travel Yorktown to San Antonio
Oct 23 – 25 Central District meeting Huntington, WV
Oct 30 – Nov. 1 Great Lakes District meeting Chicago, IL

Nov 1 Great Lakes District meeting Chicago, IL
Nov. 12 – 15 CASSAR Annual meeting Riverside, CA
Nov. 26 – 29 Potomac Ball/DAR Washington, DC

Dec 4 – 6 Delaware Ratification Day Wilmington, DE
Dec 7 Philadelphia Chapter Philadelphia, PA
Dec 8 Travel Day Philadelphia to San Antonio 
Dec. 17 Travel Day San Antonio to Louisville Dec. 18
        [4] HQ Christmas Party Louisville, KY
Dec. 18- 20 Maryland SAR Ball Baltimore, MD


4th of July 2009 celebration in Macharaviaya, Spain

To all Granaderos and Damas de Galvez,
We learned today that the 4th of July 2009 celebration in Macharaviaya, Spain, was very successful.  It was their first-ever event in which the independence of the U.S. and the contributions of their native son, Bernardo de Gálvez, were celebrated.  About 2000 people attended, including district, province and higher officials.  The event started at 8 p.m., and included performance of the national anthems of Spain and the U.S., a reenactment, speeches, music, and a fireworks display.  Many participated or attended in period dress.  To see a write-up and many beautiful pictures of this event:  
        First, go to their city website at:
        For a slide show of the event, go to:

        For a brief article (in Spanish) about the event: Under "Novadades + Noticias" click on the news story titled "2000 personas en la celebracion del 4 de julio."
Congratulations to Mayor Antonio Campos Garín, the city council, and everyone involved.  Those of us who participated in the Galvez commemoration in Mexico City last August met Mayor Campos Garin and other key players of this event.  Our hats are off to them for celebrating the U.S. Independence Day and Bernardo de Galvez in such a grand style!
Regards, y ¡Viva Gálvez!
Joel Escamilla
Past President, Founding Chapter
Granaderos y Damas de Galvez


Mount Vernon, site for Conferring 7 Purple Heart
Carol Morello, The Washington Post, 4/24/06

[Editor: Note, three of the seven receiving a Purple Heart were Hispanic.] 

At Mount Vernon, George Washington's estate in Alexandria, Va., guests and honorees pay respect to the colors at a ceremony in which seven soldiers injured in Iraq received the Purple Heart. Washington established the Purple Heart in 1782. 

[Click to enlarge]

A journey of pain and loss, beginning with roadside bombs in Iraq and pausing at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, brought seven soldiers to Mount Vernon on Thursday in a Purple Heart ceremony filled with reminders of war's sacrifice.

The choice of George Washington's estate for the ceremony was a symbolic return to the medal's birthplace. It was Washington who established the Purple Heart in 1782 during the final months of the Revolutionary War. And it was beside his grave that Thursday's ceremony was held.

The dusty, clamorous war zones of Iraq seemed a distant memory and yet achingly close as the six men and one woman arrived by bus on the sunny day. All seven soldiers and a four-star general who spoke came dressed in desert camouflage uniforms that contrasted sharply with the expanse of green grass and flowering shrubs. Three soldiers were in wheelchairs, although one, Spc. Sergio Lopez, of Bolingbrook, Ill., had a cane, which he used for support as he struggled to his feet to receive his medal.

The presence of those who were absent was noted. "It's not about you," said Capt. Robert Klinger, 38, of Frederick, Md., whose ankle was fractured in a bomb blast in Tikrit a year ago after Iraq's national elections. "I'm thinking about my soldiers. The ones I lost, and the ones who were wounded."

This is the second year that Washington's estate at Mount Vernon has hosted a Purple Heart ceremony for men and women wounded in Iraq. The Purple Heart was the nation's first award for enlisted troops and is the oldest military award given, according to the Department of Defense.

Thursday's recipients are all in the Army - active duty, National Guard or Reserve. All were wounded by improvised explosive devices, roadside bombs planted by insurgents. IEDs left several with wounds that will alter the remainder of their lives - the loss of a foot, a leg, a hand or sight in one eye. They are being treated at Walter Reed.

Speakers told them that their sacrifices were for a good cause.

"I cannot take away the physical pain and the sense of loss I know you feel," said Gen. Richard Cody, the Army's vice chief of staff. "But I can assure you your wounds are not in vain. We will win this global war on terror. We will vanquish the enemies who threaten our shores and freedom around the world."

Gordon England, deputy secretary of defense, said the honorees had much in common with the three volunteers from Connecticut regiments who received the first Purple Hearts from Washington.  "They also volunteered to step forward and defend their country in its hour of need," he said.

Spc. Maxwell Ramsey, 36, of Hilton Head Island, S.C., hugged his wife, Ayako, who stood beside his wheelchair, burying his head in her abdomen and shedding a tear as he listened to the speeches. Ramsey was wounded in March when a bomb exploded under his truck near Ramadi. He lost his left leg above the knee and had hoped to be fitted with a prosthesis before the awards ceremony.

"I didn't want to be seated when I received the Purple Heart," he said.

Lopez was more fortunate. The fractures he sustained in an IED blast in January require him to use a wheelchair, but he was determined to be on his feet, standing at attention, with his mother, wife and children at his side watching him receive the Purple Heart. The location brought the solemnity of history to the occasion, he said.

"I now mean the same as General George Washington's troops meant to him," Lopez, 23, said. "It's awesome."

About 200 people filled folding chairs or stood to the side watching the ceremony. Some were relatives of the honored soldiers, parents and spouses, children and siblings. Others were strangers with a new feeling of fraternity.

"It joins us in one very exclusive club," said Alfred Ortiz, of Vienna, Va., who wore one of six Purple Hearts he was awarded over a gruesome 10-month stretch in Korea, his Military Order of the Purple Heart hat and a Purple Heart necktie. "It gives me enormous pride seeing them get it. I know what they had to do to earn it. We all have a common bond for having shed our blood."

Second Lt. Adrian Perez, who lost the sight in one eye in an IED blast at Tall Afar, pondered how things have changed since soldiers such as Ortiz came home from Korea.

"I don't think I deserved this," said Perez, 30, of Washington state. "I was thinking of the guys in the front row in their purple hats, and wondering where their ceremony was."

When the ceremony ended, the seven soldiers filed past Washington's grave so each could lay one red carnation on the ground. Tourists who were visiting Mount Vernon for the day stood outside the gates, explaining to their children the significance of what they were observing.

Estimada Mimi, How I wish that we could add more Latinos to many of these Purple Heart links. I have written to the Purple Heart Hall of Honor to see why many of our Latinos that I have been told were register are not there. I also inquired why they did not post the "Purple Heart Citations" so that they are free access for the public.

To contact Rafael, or call 253-584-3296




Diocese of Louisiana and the Floridas  1786/05/18


Diocese of Louisiana and the Floridas 1786/05/18





1786 May. 18

(Galvez, Jose) Marquis of Sonora, (secretary of state and president of the Council of the Indies Aranjuez Spain

to Bernardo de Galvez (governor of Louisiana)
(New Orleans), (Louisiana)

By royal decree (of Charles III) dated Nov. 5, 1781, Galvez was given the faculty to use his mark in lieu of his complete signature on certain documents. Now Galvez is given the privilege to use on specified documents a seal with his whole signature while retaining the faculty of using his mark only on others. Galvez is to publish this resolution throughout the Indies.

IV-4-a (printed copy of) A.D. 3pp. 8vo. (Spanish)

Sent by Paul Newfield, III




Wednesday, November 25, 1992  EXCELSIOR
Volviendo a Nuestras Raices


The Lozano surname is an ancient Castilian name originating in the mountains of Leon.  Latter branches of the family were established in Portugual, Italy, and through northern Spain and Andalucia.  It is derived from the latin "lautianus" meaning luxurious, living in luxury.
Sword in hand, and arm raised for battle conveys in the Lozano coat of arms, valor, and readiness to serve.  In 1158 A.D. King Sancho III founded the Knights of Calatraba to defend Christendom from the invading Arab armies and to "make war upon them with fire and sword, and to the death."  Two Lozanos were knighted into the order, Carlos Tomas Lozano and Ramon Ignacio Lozano.
For valor in combat, two years later, in 1160 A.D. two other Lozanos were created knights of another order, Knights of Santiago to guard the Holy Sepulcher of the Apostal Santiago, Alfonso Manuel Lozano and Luis Sebastian Lozano.
With few exceptions, Lozanos in the southwest and Mexico have a common ancestor in a Pedro Lozano.   His name appears as early as 1513 in the Panofilo de Narvaez military rolls.  Pedro entered Mexico City with Cortes and was awarded an encomienda for his service, 185 miles south of Mexico City.  The property was held until 1626 when the crown acquired control.
Mimi LOZANO-HOLTZMAN, a Westminster resident has traced her line back to a CAPTAIN PEDRO LOZANO, married to Mariana de la Garza in Nueva Espana, October 2, 1669, believed to have been a great grandson of the above named Pedro Lozano.  Migrating north-east, her Lozano line settled in Salinas Victoria, Nuevo Leon.  Although grandparents, Jesus Lozano and Francisca Garcia were both born in Mexico, they met one another in Texas and were married in San Antonio in 1896.

Jesus Lozano owned a bakery in San Antonio.  Son, Catalino was the 8th of 9 children.  Unfortunately, Jesus Lozano died when Catalino was a 5 year old child.  Bright, independent, strong-will Catalino quit school after the 3rd grade.  He learned business early as paper boy.
Escaping the political turmoil of the 1920s in Mexico, Aurora Chapa, his future bride, came to Texas from Sabinas Hidalgo, Mexico with her parents Alberto Chapa Sanchez and Petra Farias Perez when she was 12 years old.  Catalino and Aurora married in San Antonio in 1931.  Catalino was 23 years old with two businesses, a string of taxis and a tailor shop with employees.  He was successful and completely self-taught.  The depression brought changes.  Taxis service and alterations were two services not in heavy demand.  The Lozano family moved to Los Angeles with their two daughters in 1935.
Catalino opened a dry cleaning service in the downtown area of Los Angeles.  Eventually, he sold the shop and opened another in East Los Angeles.  When was was declared in 1941, Catalino rushed to enlist, but much to his regret, was not accepted for military service. Intensely patriotic, he contributed to the war effort as a supervisor and trainer in the packing of military parachutes.  He returned to his occupation as a tailor and dry cleaning service operator after the ward.
Mimi Lozano-Holtzman, family researcher, graduated with advanced degrees in Public and Recreation Administration form UCLA.  She is married to Win Holtzman, and is the mother of two children and grandmother of six.  Aury, their son, named after his maternal grandmother Aurora.  He is a Family Physician in Huntington BGeach, California and the father of two sons. Tawn, Mimi and Win's daughter, is a practicing attorney in San Diego and the mother of four.
"In doing my family history, I have found that our ancestors were instrumental in shaping history, and weare creating history right now for our children and grandchildren.  We are tied to our past and owe our ancestors respect and understanding.   I feel a great love and admiration for them.  I am an American, but they were in transition."

Compiled by Mimi Lozano-Holtzman, President of the Society of Hispanic Historical  and Ancestral Research.


Canciones de America by Margarita B. Velez
A Roy Benavides Experience by Tom Sanchez
My Dad's P
rogress by Ana M. Malinalcihuatl
Shoe-Shine Boy in a White Man's Barbershop By Frank M. Sifuentes
Colonoscopies By Jose M. Pena

Canciones de America 

Margarita B. Velez

It was a lazy 4th of July when I watched the stars and stripes flutter gently on the porch.  Lee Greenwood sang the last chords of “God Bless the USA .”  Suddenly Linda Ronstadt’s voice filled the air, and I sang along while my son sulked.  He complained that I kept him from listening to his new Black Crowes compact disc.

Linda’s songs carried me back to a concert where the stage was alive with dancers in bright folkloric costumes.  The chanteuse labeled her album, Canciones de mi Padre,” the songs of her father.  Memories flooded back as she sang the songs Papa encouraged me to sing as he played the guitar.

When I was a child in El Paso , the world revolved around my father.  He sang of love, despair, and sorrow with appropriate emotion.  Every morning he tuned the radio to XELO’s “Gallito Madrugador,” where a rooster’s early crow awakened us before music filled the airwaves.

While Mama packed his lunch, Papa strummed the guitar to accompany his singing of a lover’s conquest, unrequited love, or tales of lonely braceros.

Sleepily I heard verses about “Dos Arbolitos,” a favorite horse, or spurned love, and envisioned my grandfather’s journey to America .  Romantic songs became my favorite as I dreamed of having my heart conquered by love.

The fascination with music spurred us to learn to read Spanish.  My brother and I deciphered the words from Papa’s songbook in order to harmonize with the radio.  A tattered copy of “Alma Norteña,” published locally by Sandoval News is still treasured.

In school, we sang the national anthem with fervor, and often joined Kate Smith’s, “God Bless America ” on television’s “Ed Sullivan Show.”

Growing up we also learned, “Those Caissons Go Rolling Along,” and sang along with Papa, a proud Army veteran.

Our birthdays started with a serenade by Papa’s quartet that included a guitarro, a violinist, and another guitarist.  Papa worked hard, and returned before Mama put us to bed.  We fell asleep to the sound of his music, and slumbered in the security of our parents’ love.

We were a happy, fun-loving family, and music obscured our poverty.  We learned to tell Papa’s mood by the music he played.  Usually, he sang romantic tunes as he stole fleeting glances at Mama, which now I understand.  I watched his fingers fly over the guitar strings as he sang a silly song about a lady hiding a cat under her bed.  The memory of harmonizing, “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” with his rich baritone voice lingers deliciously in my mind. 

Then there were times when he simply strummed the guitar with a faraway look.  We recognized it as the time he preferred to be left alone.

In adolescence we gathered at the corner to sing with the street lamp as our spotlight.  In the barrio, guitarist friends invited me to sing because I knew the words to their favorite songs.  It didn’t matter that my voice was mediocre; we found solace in our musical bond.

            Sin ti, no podré vivir jamás, y pensar que nunca mas, estarás junto a mi…”  The trio sang on our wedding night as we looked to the future.  Thirty years later, the lyrics, “Without you I could never live or think that nevermore you would be at my side,” have become more significant as we grow old together.

            Often on the road of life, we discard things carried along the way.  Yesterday’s songs are the baggage from my life’s journey.  Those happy, sad, and nonsensical tunes never lost a place in my heart.  My repertoire expanded to include rock and roll, pop and jazz. 

            As our kids entered their teens, their musical choices helped us to bridge the generation gap.  Billy Joel, Huey Lewis, and Pink Floyd joined Sinatra, Brubeck, Los Panchos, Chicago, Linda Ronstadt, and the Beatles on our musical shelves.

            Last summer, I enjoyed El Paso ’s Mariachi Festival, and paused to reflect on how blessed it is to live in a country that guarantees our right to the pursuit of happiness.

            Sometimes, we take freedom for granted, forgetting about nations where citizens are denied the liberty to vote, assemble, play music, or complain about gangsta rap.

            I’m grateful for a heritage gives me the ability to appreciate Mexican music.  I thank God for my grandparents who followed their dreams, and guaranteed me the right to sing America ’s praises.

From “Stories from the Barrio and Other ‘Hoods” by Margarita B. Velez.  Margarita Velez an author from El Paso , Texas also wrote “Border Buster,” a novel about corruption and drug dealing on both sides of U.S./Mexico border.  “Stories…” is $20.00 and “Border Buster” is $29.95 with tax, shipping and handling included.  

For autographed copies; send check or money order to the author at:  4921 Blue Ridge Circle , El Paso , Texas  or buy through  



A Roy Benavides Experience by Tom Sanchez

22 Jun 2009 
Roy Benavides 

Juan : Allow me to share this anecdote about Mexican war heroes (I call myself Mexican because I have the right to do so without having my Americanism brought into question--in much the same fashion as somebody who cries out at the top of his lungs, "I'm Irish and proud of it"--and nobody questions their Americanism, either).

Anyway, back in the early 70s, I was working for a lawyer in San Antonio and he sent me on an errand to the Post Office, which was located about a block from the Alamo, when lo and behold, I noticed a huge parade in progress.

I jostled my way next to the reviewing stand, which was, of course, loaded with a bunch of dignitaries, a large portion of whom were top ranking military folks (since San Antonio has multiple Air Force and Army bases).  

All of a sudden, you'd have thought the President of the United States was passing in review.  Not so.  There was this short little Mexican riding in a convertible seated atop the rear seat with the trunk of the car as a prop.

This little Mexican had on a Green Beret and a chest-full of medals.  Then it suddenly dawned on me and I got chills from head to toe, and I, too, popped to attention.

I had forgotten, you see, that EVERY Medal of Honor winner rates a salute no matter the rank. IT WAS ROY BENAVIDES!

I still have chills. To this day, you can't imagine the sense of pride, pride from being Mexican, pride from having served as a paratrooper. Mostly, though, proud of being an American and superbly proud that one of my culture and heritage had exhibited valor far beyond the call of duty, reflecting great credit upon himself, the U.S. Army and the United States of America.

You noticed that I referred to the medal as Medal of Honor AND NOT Congressional Medal of Honor. There is no such thing as the Congressional Medal of Honor. The official name of the medal is, Medal of Honor. Among the warrior culture it is known simply, as, The Medal.

Regards, Tom Sanchez

Sent by Juan Marinez and shared by permission of Tom Sanchez



My Dad's Progress by Ana M.  malinalcihuatl  and

Cualli A todos mis Hermanos   y  Hermanas de la Danza

First off I just want to apologize if  I have been  rude, cold, angry anyone...and for not  being at  ceremonies and  or presentations the past 2 months as I  have been for  the past 10  years. My dad's conditions require a  lot of TLC and he  does not want  anybody
else by his side right  now but me.   Unfortunately, I am real  tired.  I on  top of caring for him have  to make a lot of arrangements  before  the time comes.  It has  been really really hard for me  because  I do not want to let him go  and he does not want to  leave either so we  both continue to hang on  and have  hope.  My dad has 5 serious  complications that he has  been  fighting to continue living.  But it is  hard for me to see him in the state he has been.  Although he is  stable right now things can change.

When I was a little girl I had  so  much  orgullo to see my dad dance.  I used to tell people ....  that   .......that is my dad....and I was so proud of him because  he used to   dance....but now all I see is a lot of pain in my  heart, and on his feet  which are full of ulcers.  It is  a hard pill for me to  swallow along  with the other problems  that are
affecting him.  I  continue to pray  and hope for  his recovery but the doctor says he has  a 50 50 chance due to   his many complications. 

Today, on Father's  day he looked the best  he  could ever look.  I wanted him to look  his best because  when he was  younger he use to groom himself and wow  he use to  be such a handsome  man.  Today I washed his arms,  hands,  feet, shoulders, head, one by  one with soap and water and  towel  dried him.  Then I clipped his  nails, shaved his face, and   clipped his long hair and scrubbed his nails  and placed ointments  on  his feet.  When all was done, the respiratory  guy took  off his  mask and he continued to breath normally and as i saw  him  from  the end of the bed I looked at my dad although he  might be frail with
wrinkles and curdled up like a  child.....calm and   asleep...I thought...I am very proud of  him....for fighting the fight  and continuing to be a guerrero  to this point.  Although he has  a  problem breathing...I  hope that the creator will be easy on him and  just  let him fly  quietly and peacefully towards the light.....He is  real tired.  He sleeps a lot. I feel all I have is the memories of   him....It  is really hard for me to let my jefe go.  Maybe  if  someone can please  help me to allow this pain in my heart to ease  and let the tears stop from  flowing...I would   appreciate.

Although like everyone.....the family  is broke  and  will depend on charity from everyone to pay for my dad's   flight back  to Mexico and burial.  The Last mass for my dad has  been  already  talked about between me and my brother and  family.  The mass   will be held at St. Michael's  Traditional Catholic Church in  CarMichael,  California when the  time comes.  His body will be  put to rest in   Tumiscatio, Michoacan, Mexico.  All dancers who  are willing to  dance  when the time comes....Genaro from the groups  Naui &  Xochiquetzal in  Oakland will be in charge of the ceremonia  in  California which I have  requested to be for 3 days of danza   and..... in Mexico....the norm is they  do a Velacion of the body  in  the home of the deceased.  Dancers in  Mexico are  welcomed to  come to accompany me to dance for 1 week in the town called the Nueva  Jerusalen in Tumiscatio, Michoacan  Mexico.  This  is where my dad  has chosen to be buried  because that is where he  lived for 20  years before his first  stroke.  My choice and my  family's  choice was to put him to  rest by his dad and other 4 brothers in Tumiscatio but my dad  does not want that.  So, supposedly, in  this  town women  are not allowed to enter in pants and so you must  come in with  a  long skirt or dress.  My dad's home in Mexico is  on  Belen street and  all are welcomed to sleep and rest in my dad's home because it is  really huge.  Upstairs and downstairs with  a pilla inside with  electricity and solar ceiling and I believe  4  restrooms.  Hopefully  the home has been kept cleaned but  if it  hasn't I will need to clean and do some adjustments.  Well, so  far this is a general plan of what  is to  come in the future so that  everyone can be aware.   Hope all is well  with your families....  and again I am sorry to  talk about what is to  come. Sometimes we  don't know if we go first...but at least we have  a general plan that the family is talking and agreeing on for now.

Ana M.

Sent by Dorinda Moreno




By: Frank M. Sifuentes


 Not having a dad was truly pitiful; and reinforced by those who saw me with  pity for I had become Kiko, el hijo de el defunto Benito Sifuentes. I started really feeling sorry for myself because I didn't  have a dad to provide me with an allowance. My older brother Benny -  who could read me like a book  - noticed my moping and most of all saw I had become sad. He wanted to know why I looked to be at the point of tears.
He was mostly concerned over the truth that I had been spending everyday and half of of the night away from home.  And knew it wouldn't be long before end up in reform school: For I had already started hanging out with Chuey Romero and Lefty Polanco who belong to Los Prietos de la Calle Ancha.
Ben was so good at adding pressure that - combined with self pity  - made me start crying.
What's wrong? Ben wanted to know. I told him I wouldn't be having problems if our dad was still alive.
Ben said 'if you knew that, then you know enough to start doing useful  and rewarding things. And that hethought it would be a great idea to join the Boy Scouts; which had helped him a lot since he had Joined at my age and was now well on his way towards becoming an Eagle Scouts.
Joining the Boy's Scouts had never occurred to me.  And didn't seem possible it was better than having steady income from a job. Besides the two finger salute looked real silly compared to a salute of a sailor with one's entire hand.
And besides, who was going to buy my uniform to be in the scouts? Nevertheless, I took his advice and headed for a scout meeting.
The meeting place was  East of University of Texas.  And just about the time I was getting there it had already gotten dark.  I was passing a block that was a shopping center, with a Rx Drug Store, a laundry and a barber shop which I passed first.  And noticed towards the back was a shoe shine stand without anyone working it.
It reminded me of the old days when thousands of soldiers being trained for the war would come on Saturday's and Sundays. And many often decided to get their shoes shined out of nostalgia or just as an event. For there were not many better things to do in quiet conservative Austin.
On Saturday in going up and down Congress Ave I would pass the two barber shops
and always wondered why only black men became shoe shine boys.
These barber shops were always filled with customers and most of them also got their shoes shined. I guess.  And most obvious to me was the men who shined shoes were making plenty of money, with tips and cost of the shine. They always made sure the man getting up after a hair cut got a whisk broom job to make sure every bit of hair cut off no longer remained on the cloths of the customer.
Therefore, I hardly ever saw any of them idle for when there was no one of the shoe shine stand, men would leave their shoes and come back to pick them up.  It really made me wish I had one of those jobs.   And suddenly the prospects of my wish coming true presented itself.
It didn't take long to decide as I stood in the dark looking toward the houses on a small hill where the Boy Scout recruitment meeting was being held.  Compared to a job in a barbershop's shoe shine stand with business guaranteed The prospects of being a Boy Scout went out like s light match, one has done everything possible to get maximum use.
I passed by the RX DRUG STORE and saw the Soda Fountain chairs filled with customers with milk shakes or banana splits oozing with chocolate and strawberry surup. The ultimate treat of youngster of my generation.  It was amazing how bold I become, motivated by the prospects of being able too afford a dream Banana split as soon as I could spare the coins.
After he had finished with the customer he had and was about to snap
the sheet he used to take away all this hair on it, I entered and told him: Sir, I have been passing by here and noticed you don't have anyone working the shoe shine stand.
Well, yes, And? He replied.  Well I'm an experienced  shoe shine boy, I told him, and explained I had shined shoes when the soldiers came into town during the war.
For some reason it made him smile. Maybe it was the prospects of having a Mexican rather that a NEGRO had a little irony to it.
So you are sure you can handle it? He asked.  Yes, sir, I will really do my best.  He then said he'd give me a try and explained I had to bring supplies, dress nice and be very clean. At that point I could have assured him of anything.
He told me how busy it was going to be the next day, which was Saturday.  He said he opened at 10 am.  I practically ran home to tell my family the good news. Ben  immediately asked if I had attended the Boy Scout Meeting.  I told him I had but I didn't see how I was going to like it.  And besides it was for the best since I had landed a real job.
He absolutely could not understand why I wanted to be a shoeshine boy rather than a Scout. And the whole thing became further proof I was heading the wrong direction.
I began looking for my old shoe shine box the supplies left. And found my old Shoeshine box filthy rags and not enough shine even if I had to take to the streets again.  The discovery threw me into a depression and into a state of self-PITY. I told Ben how my future career as a shoeshine boy in a barbershop depended on having enough supplies.
He agreed it was in jeopardy and gave me a comprehensive list of all the supplies I needed, including a couple of things I never heard of. And then offered to write it down asking me where in the world I was going to get the money for them.  And my despair turned into uncontrollable tears.
You may as well stop crying, nobody in this house has money enough to help you. You should have gone to the boy scout meeting.  If I had been smart and knew what I needed to start my job, I would have gone to the stupid meeting and beg them to help me get started
in my business.
Mama came in our room and saw I had been crying. "Que to pasa, Kiko? Por que'tabas llorando?   And I explained the job offer and about the shoe-shine supplies I needed.
Ben handed her the list he made and told her approximate cost.
Porque vas necesitar tantas cosas para shinear zapatos? Mama asked.  I explained  it was going to be in a barbershop and that it was a real good chance to make even more money than shining shoes during the war.
Mama took the list without saying anything, a clear sign she decided to solve my problem. 
My sister Carmen had gotten a job at Rexall Drug Store across the street from Austin HS and got paid on Fridays. And Carmen always gave mama money for her needs.
And Carmen and I  went to Yeats Drug Store excited about the prospects of my
future earning power. Carmen explained that after all I just needed enough of the main things to get started.  She also told me to stop being such a cry baby and getting mama
all worried. At this point I would have agreed wholeheartedly with any and all her advice.
I arrived shortly after 10 a.m. and saw there was almost a full house. And went straight to the shoe shine stand to set up and start working.  I had saddle soap, brown, black and tan Kiwis polish and liquid, rags And brushes, plus a toothbrush for dressing around the edges of the sole and heel. And much to my surprise when I opened a big drawer in the stand, I saw lots of things had been left behind, like really nice brushes and shoe dye.
 Shine..shine sir I asked everyone present and nothing but no's. And I continued asking everyone who came in, still no's.  However, a man came in with three pairs of shoes to leave me to shine. And I was in business.
I worked extra hard to make the shoes look really good; and relishing the thought that at least I'd make 50 cents and maybe more. When I lined up the three pair of shoes and began to wish the man would come back real soon, I notice Mr.Huffleburn  stopped working on his customer And went to the back. I thought he was maybe going to the bathroom.

But he really surprised me bringing out a push broom and dust pan to hand them to me, and told he had forgotten to tell me one of your duties would be sweeping the hair off the floor.

I had been amazed at how much hair ended up on the floor, so I did it right away. 
After Mr. Huffleburg had finished his customer he went back and quickly brought out a regular kitchen broom and the dust pan.
Here with this you sweep the hair you left behind.  He was able to see I was not that familiar with sweeping floors.  So he grabbed the broom and started to show me how you had to work at it especially around corners and edges. And when he handed the broom back, he didn't have to say he had no intensions of showing me how to sweep again.
Later when there were no customers he said that when men are waiting for a haircut they sometimes want a shine so that its best to wait until they are in the chair. And he would be the one to ask if they wanted a shine.
I never even tried to figure out why that worked so well for my business. Apparently they would say no to me but yes to him. And that way he would order me to do so.
Shortly after we finished Mr.Huffleburg gave me a whiskbroom and showed me how
to use it after the customers were finished getting a haircut. Even though he made sure they would not have much to brush off. It was more for show than anything.
Nevertheless it was beginning to look like a real job.  When things slowed down a lot -especially during the week - I would leave the shop often to go to the drug store even if I was pretty broke; because I could always read the funny books as long as I made sure
my hands were clean and didn't wrinkle them.
However, when I had my pocket jingling with silver coins I would get order strawberry milk shakes or a double cream cone or a cherry Coke.
Mr. Hoffenburg was a tall and imposing figure who had an air of self-assurance which was best revealed by the way he proceeded to give his customers a shave. He was like a master using the black belt to sharpen his razor; as if he was absolute certain he was perfectly safe
from accidents.
He looked bored and yet performed as if he was putting his heart and soul into his art. He did not hurry in the interest of those waiting to make him rich.  And he gave the kind of shave that kept the five o'clock shadow from reappearing all to soon: By running his fingers through their entire face to catch spots still ready to bloom.
The customers for the most part were really comfortable in talking to him, with him having the advantage of having to look at their eyes.  But when he knew they were looking at him he was pleasant as could be, with genuine yet short lived smiles.
He didn't small at me because he did not have to liked me. He made it a point not to engage in conversation when we were the only two in the place. He would just read the paper or just sit on his barber chair and think.
After about two weeks the lists of his dislikes grew. And leaving the shop to Co to the corner drug store was one of them, as if he did not like I gave him evidence that nothing in the world could make a good business man out of me.
He constantly reminded me I had to sweep, but just by starring my way and catching  my attention, he'd look down at the floor, even when there was not much there.
One day when I was returning from the corner drug store, I noticed that in the front counter of the Laundry shop, there was a tall black man bending down talking to the owner, a short wavy brown haired Anglo,  and suddenly the Anglo reached in the back of his counter and grabbed a steel pip about 12 inches long, and came around and started hitting the man with it. He then proceeded to shove him out to the sidewalk. And began hollering at him, cursing him because he dared to come through the front door, and told him next time he had better go through the back if he wanted to talk to his wife.
I was able to stand no more 10 feet away from them as I saw him start hitting the black man squarely on the top of his head. And was I able to hear the Thumping sound and saw blood coming out.  It was incomprehensible that he did not fight back and defend himself.  He was however able to break away and head for the hospital, not too far away.
The laundry owner was surprise I had stood by to watch in awe. And when he saw that I didn't run too he gave me a dirty look with the iron bar still in his hand..  As if to say 'you want some of this too!' which is all It took for me to get back to the barber shop. I was sure that Mr. Huffleburg had seen the incident but acted as if nothing had happened.
After that I remember nothing about my failed career as a shoeshine boy in a white man's barbershop.



 By Jose M. Pena[1]  



Introduction.  As I said in a previous article, having retired from different jobs – with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Director of a Health Project in Guatemala , and as International Financial Consultant with the Organization of American States and others – now-a- days I get a lot of e-mails from my friends and commiserate on past events of my life.   

This is why -- when I recently got one e-mail from a friend, on an article which dealt with Colonoscopies of modern times – it was like a blast from the past and brought back memories of a time in 1977 (really ancient times) when I was forced assigned to Karachi, Pakistan and had my first Colonoscopy there.     

Before going further, let me make you an expert on the three different procedures in world of gastroenterology.  One is Endoscopy, the next is Sigmoidoscopy, and the ultimate is the Colonoscopy.   All are done with either a flexible or rigid tube officially known as an “Endoscope,” but which my best friend dubbed it “El Negrete.”   Here are brief descriptions which can be found in the Internet:

·       Endoscopy is a minimally invasive diagnostic procedure used to assess the interior surfaces of the human organs (usually throat and esophagus).  The Endoscope is inserted through the mouth.

·       Sigmoidoscopy is the minimally invasive medical examination of the large intestine.  The tube is inserted through the “behind” (yes, through there) and examines up to the last part (distal part or sigmoid) of the colon. 

  • Colonoscopy is the ultimate.  While the Sigmoidoscopy only examines up to the sigmoid, the Colonoscopy examines the whole large bowel.  Once again, the tube is inserted through the “behind” and enables the doctor to examine all the insides and even the large intestine.  

So, now that you are an expert, like me, with the above three procedures, let me give a little background on why I was in Pakistan .  

Pakistani Assignment.  During my 28 years with USAID[2] – mostly with the Office of Inspector General -- I experienced a few retaliations for speaking my mind.  Some resulted in forced assignments to posts where I was sent and/or served by myself without my family.  Others were more egregious and still weigh heavy in my mind.  Anyway, one of these events was when the USAID Inspector General (IG) and I had a “slight” policy disagreement regarding a need for a formal education policy in our office.  After being in overseas posts for 15 consecutive years in different countries (where Master’s Degree were not offered), I was rotated to Washington and once more placed on constant traveling status to do special kinds of studies of “Unique Organizations.”  Fed up, I went to see the head honcho to request that he institute a Formal Education Improvement Policy, for people on rotation assignments, and that I be placed on non-traveling status.  The guy was the second (of three) political appointee “jewel” – selected for that position; he had no intention of letting me (or anyone else) do that.  He and I had a “friendly interchange of ideas.”   He did not like what I was saying, or the way I said it, and got the last word by assigning me, without my family, within a month, to Siberia -- oops, excuse the Freudian slip, I mean Karachi , Pakistan .   

The Karachi Regional Office was weirdly located.  While the U.S. Embassy, the Main USAID, and all other U.S. Agencies had their offices (and programs) in Islamabad , our office sat isolated in Karachi .  Why would an IG make a crazy decision to place the office there – and not in Islamabad ?  Well, this was the identical bird-brain rationale used -- over our verbal and written objections -- to close a strategically located Regional Office in Panama – that covered the Caribbean , Central and South America -- and move it to Miami , Florida and to terminate the services of local language speaking office employees (you read it right).  They were just bad and crazy decisions that made no sense whatsoever.   

Anyway, the Karachi Regional Office was run by two highly ambitious “jewels” (oh, boy, we had plenty of those – and some vicious ones to boot) that were not – to put it mildly -- peopled oriented.   Since there were no programs in Karachi , people assigned there traveled 90 to 95% of their time to paradise places (like Bangladesh , Yemen , Afghanistan , Islamabad , the boonies of the countries, etc).   

On my way to Karachi , Pan American Airlines lost all my bags.  When it eventually found them one month later, Pan AM had the gull to try to send my bags back to the U.S.   My family, in the U.S. , finally convinced the Air Lines to deliver them to Karachi .  The bags set at the Karachi Airport until I claimed them two or three months later.   

So, I got to Karachi with only my hand bag and a briefcase and was met – literally at the airport -- with orders to be in Bangladesh in three days.   Since most Pakistani men use “Longiies,” and not too much western dress-ware is available, I somehow managed to buy some mismatched shirts and pants (and local funny underwear) and be on my way to a 2-3 month assignment in Bangladesh -- within the allotted 3 days.   

The above is why I was in Karachi and represents the way I was received at my Pakistani assignment.  However, those types of “blasts in life” taught me some terrific lessons – on how NOT to treat people and in particularly highly skilled personnel --   which served me well during the rest of my career.   

Anyway, my stay in Bangladesh is another “juicy” story that I will tell at some future time.  For now, I eventually got back to Karachi from Bangladesh . So, the following account comes from Memoirs that I am presently writing:  

Life In Karachi .  Since I was traveling 90% of the time, my 10% stays in Karachi were not all that bad.  I moved to a small two bedroom apartment in a small Pakistani compound – near a Mosque -- where I could hear the “Call to Prayer” a number of times each day.  There were some beautiful girls that lived in the family compound.  They spoke English, but hardly ever spoke to me (one of the taboos).

The little compound had a guard who was somewhat deformed (slightly hunched back, arthritic-like hands and one leg shorter than the other, etc).  He stayed alone at his post, and liked to sit outside my window and serenade me every day with his sing-song reading of the Koran.  I enjoyed that very much.   Sometimes, I would walk out and sit close-by, just listen, record him, and let him know I enjoyed it.   At various parts during his readings, he would stop, hold my hand, in the Pakistani form of friendship between men, and, in Urdu or Farsi, say a few sweet nothings (that I could not understand), maybe to let me know that he appreciated me being his friend and listening to his chants.  I keep wondering how many times he might have told me to convert to Islam and its advantages – a more simple religious concept, there is only one God, Muhammad was only a prophet,  marriages are mostly arranged, a man can have up to four wives at one time, divorce is easy – just throw three stones, etc etc.  However, he probably never mentioned the self-flagellation sacrifices of some Islamic groups (such as the Shias).  

·       I saw such fervent penance in one of my trips to Peshawar .  While Gino (a coworker) went to other parts of Pakistan , I went to Peshawar and one Friday, while on the second floor of my “First Class” hotel, I heard a great deal of chanting and commotion.  From the balcony, I witnessed a long parade, of maybe 8 people in each row, most of them grown men, but there were some younger people, all chanting and marching in cadence, all flogging/whipping their bare backs with whips that had spikes, and some with knives, slashing at their heads.  There was blood spattered all over their bodies, heads, face, and street.  That parade lasted close to an hour; so, that will give the reader some idea of the fervency of belief that Shias have.  Each year, they celebrate the “Ashura” or the date when the favorite grandson of Muhammad (Hussein Ibn Ali) and all his family were killed and dismembered.  The Shias believe that only the heirs of the fourth Caliph, Ali, are the direct descendents of Mohammed.   

·       What is amazing about the Muslim’s flagellation is the similarities to the Catholic Custom that takes place each year in Taxco (Guerrero) and other parts of Mexico in the season of lent.  Just like the Muslims, the Catholics, at least in Taxco , march through the streets, chant prayers, and flog themselves in identical manner.  Their backs are bare; the whips have spikes; there is praying or chanting; there is profuse bleeding, and there is pain.  But there is a difference.  Although the floggings and physical damages are identical, one is for the death of a Muslim -- the grandson of Muhammad.  The other is for death of Jesus Christ – the representation of Christianity.  

Since I am not the most religious person, the significance and the difference is difficult to decipher or understand. 

Ancient Colonoscopy.  Anyway, since I was all alone, my office friends and their families would drop by my little apartment, have a few drinks, and keep me company.  I was invited to homes and cocktails frequently.  I played golf in the best club of Karachi where the “greens” had no grass; they were made of padded sand and oil.  Thus, the golf ball did not roll far and my games were always a shameful disaster.  My games were so bad – probably representative of the player – that I finally stopped going to the golf club.   

Not being the best of cooks, I usually got into my old Chevrolet Vega and run to a restaurant and eat that Nan, and good spicy chicken tikka, chicken tandori, Lamb/Chicken Masala, or curry and foul (beans) – man alive, I loved that hot-spicy Pakistani food and was eating chile with eggs in the morning, spicy chicken curry at noon, spicy lamb masala or curry at night and chasing it later with some scotch and unpurified water.  And so, it was that the hot spices or the water -- certainly not the Scotch -- were bound to have an effect on my system.  

  • I began to notice some bleeding when I used the bathroom.  Scared, I went to the recommended Pakistani doctor.  He was good and thorough.  He poked around my stomach and asked a bunch of questions.  Do you smoke?  No.  Do you drink? Like a fish (then).  Do you have worries?  Constantly.  Have you ever had Amoebas?  A number of times.  What medications did you use to get rid of them?  Johnny Walker.   Have you ever had an ulcer? No.   Have you ever been diagnosed with cancer?  No.  Is your family here? No.  Are you having sex?  Sex, a foreigner In Pakistan ; ask me another question.   Do you eat spicy food?  Love Pakistani food.  He shook his head a couple of times, paced the office floor up and down, checked some books, gave me a dire look, and finally prescribed a full colonoscopy.   
  • A colonoscopy, in Pakistan , in those ancient times (1977), was not the gentle procedure that is observed in the U.S. these days.  As verbally instructed, I ate soup or something light for two or three days.  Then, I went to the local hospital on the indicated day, took my clothing off, put on one of those crazy gowns that opens on the back and exposes your rear end, and laid down on a table.  Without any explanation or further adieu, the male nurses gave me a huge enema full of soap and water. That jug must have been 17 gallons, or so it seemed.  Was it comfortable?  Think again.  When I was ready to blow up, I asked where the toilet was.  The nurses gave me a nice surprise.  The toilet was at the end of a half-a-block long corridor, not close by as I expected.  Faster than superman, I put on my pants (modesty, you know), tightened every muscle I could (yes, especially those muscles), shuffled down the corridor, barefooted, tried to open the toilet door, and there was a further surprise:  someone was there.  By then, I think the nurses and non-patients were having a laughter attack.  Anyway, somehow, I held on.  Some one else came running, probably as desperate as I was.  I growled a couple of choice things in Spanish, English, Vietnamese and Urdu --- No One, but No One, was going in there – but me.   After the door opened, I rushed in.  The other poor soul must have had fits.  After sitting there for what seemed like an eternity, I went meekly, subdued, without a semblance of pride back to the procedure room and, scared stiff, laid down on the table all over again.
  • While I remained wide-awake, the doctor came with a 10,000 (or maybe as someone else has said –20,000) ft long black tube.  At a later time, my best friend would coin the black tube a name: “El Negrete (or the black tube).”   The doctor told me to bend my legs, and began inserting El Negrete in no man’s land.  As that tube advanced, air was pumped to expand the intestines, and my eyes – wide open – almost popped out of their sockets.  On and on and on it went.  It seemed like the procedure would never end.  There were times when I thought I was going blind; but on second thought, it was only that the procedure had made me cross-eyed.    My thoughts ran wild.  I kept imagining things.  Any moment, I thought, that tube will come out my throat.  And, then as quick as it began, the 25,000 ft long Negrete was being withdrawn.  Since air pumped in must always come out, the explosions that followed were most embarrassing and were probably heard throughout the clinic.  But, I was all smiles when the doctor told me that my stomach was slightly irritated by the spices but I was Ok. 

As you might have guessed, I still love Pakistani, Indian, Mexican food and hot-spicy food in general – and eat them – whenever I get a chance.   Anyhow, now that you know how the ancient colonoscopy was done, we can compare it with the modern procedures.   

Modern Procedures.    The modern procedures are all similar in certain respects.  You first go see a highly specialized doctor, known as a gastroenterologist.  You describe your problem.  He tells you that you need one of the procedures.  He gives you the required preparatory instructions.  You go home and follow the instructions.  And, then you show up at the Office or the Clinic.  Once you show up in the Clinic, you lose control of the situation and place yourself in the hands of professionals.   So, those, in essence, are the common phases of all three procedures.  Here is what happens once you get past the preliminary phase.   

Preparatory Phase.  The preparatory phase for the Endoscopy is the simplest (and less memorable); all you have to do is not eat any solid food after 12:00 PM and you are ready for the clinical phase the following day.

When I worked for USAID – which is part of the U.S. Department of State – we were required to have a physical examination every two years or before going to an overseas assignment.  As part of the examination, the Sigmoidoscopy was routinely required.  Preparing for it is fairly simple.  You go to a Pharmacy, buy two bottles of “Fleet Enemas.”  In the privacy of your home, you go quietly to the bathroom and, without fanfare, find yourself the most awkward position, give yourself one enema at night.  You sit as a king/queen for a while, and then repeat the procedure in the morning.  Believe me, your system will be squiky clean.

For the Colonoscopy, the preparation is more radical.  The doctor takes you to his instruction nurse.  She looks at you funny.  She gives you some written instructions, gives you a prescription, tells you to buy one of three mixtures -- called “MoviPrep,” “New Lytly,” or “Half Lytly” -- and cautions you: “…once you mix the powder with lukewarm water, be sure to take it within the prescribed time… be close to a bathroom…and oh, yes, also make sure you buy some Baby Wipes  and vaseline…”  These warnings raise your state of alert to a 12 + level (of 10).     When you buy the medication, the first thing you notice is its size – it is such a huge box that you could not fit it into the kitchen oven.  You heed the warning – and just in case – buy two packages of Baby Wipes and vaseline.

Over the next few days, you keep looking at the box and you keep thinking of the upcoming procedure.  Your mind plays tricks on you.  In my case, since I had my own ancient experience in Pakistan , the anticipation, worry, and nervousness sometimes became unbearable.  My mind kept imagining El Negrete, the pumping of the air, the bulging of my eyes, etc.  But, I followed the instructions; I drank a lot of fluids and did not eat solids for two days.    

In the evening before the procedure, you once again read the instructions and note the warning: “.,, be close to a bathroom…”   Then, like a mad scientist, you mix the powders with some lukewarm water into the huge plastic jug that came with the packet.   You take the first sip; the everlasting impression is that the liquid tastes like a mixture of castor oil, kerosene, and lemon juice all mixed for fun.  With an insurmountable degree of trepidation, you gulp the mixture knowing full well that something unforeseen and sinister is about to happen.   

Man alive!   Within a half-hour, that laxative has a ferocious effect.  The warnings by the instruction nurse and that piece of paper now flash like neon lights in your mind.  You curse anyone that tries to get between you and that bathroom.  Every time your stomach grumbles, you run so fast that not even the best race horse could beat you.  These frequent trips to the bathroom become acute hour after hour.  After a while, you keep wishing that it be over and done – but it never seems to end.  That packet of Baby Wipes (plus Vaseline) is a God Send….and you are forever grateful that the instruction nurse gave you the advice to buy a packet or two.   

The evening drags on and you hardly sleep – from exhaustion and anticipation.  The next morning you are driven to the clinic – wide-eyed and in a high state of alert and anticipation.  Here is what happens at the “Clinical Phases” of the procedures.  

Clinical Phases.   The clinical phases for the Endoscopy and the Colonoscopy are basically the same.  You arrive at the clinic full of nerves.  After filling out more documents, they take you inside a waiting room; you undress and put on one of those crazy gowns that expose your behind.  Your mind continues to play all kinds of tricks.  One nurse comes in, places a needle in your hand or arm, talks a little and relaxes you somewhat.  You are then wheeled into the “Procedure Room.”  In my case, I could see the doctor looking at the computer and looking at me.  I kept telling him not to give me too much sleeping stuff and kept my eyes wide open to see if I could see the 25,000 ft Negrete.  But, I did not.  His assistants kept teasing each other – I guess making me at ease.  Me, all nervous, but trying to be a part of their teasing.  The male nurse flirting with the pretty nurse and asking me “Isn’t she a doll?  Her name should be Reynita, right Mr. Pena? “  I agreed.  The pretty nurse giggled and said “I will take that…” The next thing I remember is the doctor walking towards me, asking me some nonsensical question and then ….NOTHING.…..I woke up in the recovery room.  During modern Endoscopy and Colonoscopy, you really feel nothing.  Once you wake up, the doctor gives you the results and you are home within three hours, but cannot drive for 24 hours.     

Concluding Comments.  In sum, the ancient colonoscopy procedure used on me in Karachi , Pakistan was an event to remember, but this particular procedure seems to have come a long way in modern times.  

Before ending, let me tell you the rest of the story of my assignment in Pakistan .  The IG that sent me to Pakistan was “asked to resign” (fired, finito, terminato, mafish) nine-months later.  He was replaced by a new one.  I stayed in Karachi only one year and was transferred and promoted as the first (and to my knowledge only) Mexican-American Deputy Regional Inspector General (DRIG) for Egypt, then DRIG for Latin America,[3] and after my retirement from USAID, I worked as a Director of a Health Project in Guatemala.  In other words, “…no hay mal que por bien not venga…” (bad things are always followed by good things).  

The new IG lasted 14 years.  He was a good leader at the beginning and made sound decisions for a time.   However, after 7 years in power, he brought people from another agency, surrounded himself with a bunch of sycophants, got bad advice, and began retaliatory actions and persecutions of innocent people (including my best friend --another Latino -- and myself).  Affected by the undeserved harassments, my friend and I retired just in time.  This IG eventually retired after a number of failed persecutions and many complaints.   I sincerely hope the Agency selected (and selects in the future) better people for this most important position.      

Oh, yes.  How thoughtless of me.   I almost forgot about the clinical phase of the Sigmoidoscopy.  That one is still memorable.  While you remain completely awake, the doctor comes in with the 25,000 ft black tube…tells you to bend your legs, and begins inserting El Negrete in no man’s land.  As that tube advances, air is pumped to expand the intestines, and your eyes – wide open – almost pop out of their sockets…  Yes, the Sigmoidoscopy still brings very strong memories and some blasts from my past ….Thankfully, however, only 1,000 (not the full 25,000) ft Negrete explores your inside.  Although uncomfortable, it is quick, easy, and tolerable.    

Here is one final note:  I have made fun in this article about experiences with the three gastroenterology procedures.  But, they are most essential – and so necessary -- to detect anomalies, blockages, polyps, cancers, and other illnesses.   Do see your doctor regularly and get your procedures done in time.  Also, remember to “…do onto others what you want done to yourself…”  The world is a small place and it turns many times.  

[1]  Jose M. Pena has written a history book entitled “Inherit The Dust From The Four Winds of  Revilla” and a number of articles.  

[2] The U.S. Agency For International Development (USAID) is a huge and fine organization that does great work in the development field of Less Developed Countries.  USAID has numerous Bureaus, Departments, and Offices.  In this article, I am only talking about the USAID Office of Inspector General which was led, in my time, by three different political appointees and some bad apples.  No reference is herein made, said, or implied about USAID as an organization or the many fine FSO’s who work for the OIG.  In fact, I feel very proud to have worked with such a fine organization for such a long time.   

[3]  In my position of Deputy, I was an Acting Regional Inspector General for more than one year.



August 1, Saturday SHHAR Meeting
       Topic: History and Genealogy of the Slaves of Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico
Students pick crops to commemorate Chavez day
Santa Ana student dropouts may cost community $105 million
Gustavo Arellano, "Ask a Mexican" columnist

Slave Presentation Press Release Information

History and Genealogy of the Slaves of Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico

Saturday, August 1, 2009
9:30 AM to 10:30 AM
674 S. Yorba, Orange, CA  
Hosted by the Society of Hispanic Historical and Ancestral Research
For information, contact:



Guest speaker PowerPoint presentation  

Dahlia Rose Guajardo will give an informative presentation on Afro-Mexicans of Monterrey, Mexico.

Many Hispanic family history researchers are surprised when they first encounter a baptism or marriage record of a mulatto ancestor. “Something must be wrong!” is the first thought. No one ever said anything about that. Well maybe something was said but who listens? This is your chance to learn more about Afro-Mexican roots, slavery, slave owners and the records available. 

Dahlia Rose Guajardo, a student at California State University Northridge, joined with a team of family history researchers including her aunt Dahlia Guajardo Palacios, Tony Vincent Garcia, Crispin Rendon and Eusebio Benavidez and gleaned hundreds of legal documents related to slavery from thousands of legal documents spanning the period of 1596 to 1821. The team translated them into English and expanded the research to include Monterrey slave marriage and baptism records. Whether your ancestors were slaves, slave owners or you just like Mexican history, come learn about this regional historical experience that had counterparts throughout Mexico.  

There will be an hour of networking time after the presentation. The audience will be encouraged to break into smaller regional family history groups.



Students pick crops to commemorate Chavez day

Elementary, college students join together for 7th annual O.C. event.

by Fermin Leal

The Orange County Register

Tuesday, March 31, 2009  



IRVINE – About 60 students from Andersen Elementary in Newport Beach spent the morning today at the Incredible Edible Park picking crops for Second Harvest Food Bank to commemorate Cesar Chavez day.  

The elementary students have been studying Chavez, his values and his legacy.

"This is a good way to learn about what Cesar Chavez stood for," said Hadley McKinnon, 9. "We are learning his core values like sacrifice, helping the most needy, tolerance and nonviolence."



Program Coordinator for Second Harvest Sam Caruthers explains to the Andersen Elementary fourth-graders the work they will be doing in Irvine's Incredible Edible Park Tuesday morning as a part of a history lesson about Cesar Chavez.


Students spent about two hours picking lettuce, cabbage, onions and lemons from the Irvine park, which was created by the city as a living pantry for the county's needy.

Cesar Chavez, a Mexican American labor activist, cofounded the United Farm Workers. Chavez was a leading voice for migrant farm workers. He is credited with focusing national attention on these laborers' terrible working conditions, which eventually led to improvements. Chavez was born on March 31, 1927, and died on April 23, 1993.

J.T. Russell, 10, said he'd much rather be in the field on the sunny, warm day than stuck inside his classroom.  

"This is a lot of fun, and we're really learning a lot of important things," Russell said. "There is no way we could get the same lesson inside our classroom." The event has organized by the Volunteer Center of Orange County. This is the seventh year students from Anderson spent a day picking crops to remember Chavez.  

"What these students are doing out here today is learning by doing," said Dan McQuaid, president of the Volunteer Center. "This is a way to get them out and doing something that really represents Cesar Chavez."  

Students from Cal State Fullerton were also in the fields working with the fourth-graders from Andersen. The students from Cal State Fullerton will be in the fields to not only work with the elementary students but act as reflectors to engage the elementary students in conversation about Chavez and about the service they will be performing.  

Leah Gavant, 9, said she not only learned more about Chavez today, but she also about how fruits and vegetables are grown. "These is really awesome," she said. "I didn't know how much work went into this. But I'm not tired at all," she said. "I'm having a great time."  

Contact the writer: 714-445-6687 or


Sent by Ricardo Valverde



Santa Ana student dropouts may cost community $105 million  


Report: Santa Ana dropouts may cost community $105 million

UC Santa Barbara research group reviewed dropout data of the state's largest cities to estimate loss of tax revenue, other factors.

By Fermin Leal

The Orange County Register

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Students in the city of Santa Ana who dropped out in just one year will cost their local community about $105 million over their lifetimes, according to a new report.

The California Dropout Report, a research group from University of California, Santa Barbara, released the study today of dropouts in 17 of the state's largest cities and their impact on local economies. Statewide, 123,651 dropouts during 2006-07 will cost the California $24 billion, the report estimates.


In Santa Ana, the only Orange County city cited in the report, 615 seventh- through twelfth-grade students dropped out during the 2006-07 school year. Those students will have higher rates of unemployment, lower earnings, poorer health and higher rates of mortality, higher rates of criminal behavior and incarceration, and increased dependence on public assistance, according to the report.

Researchers based their estimates on statistical differences for earnings and crime between dropouts and high school graduates statewide.

"These outcomes have a detrimental impact on the safety and overall well-being of our cities. They also generate significant economic losses to the local community, as well as to the state and the nation," the report states.

The city's high schools also graduated 2,848 students, which is more than four graduates for every dropout, according to the report. 

In Santa Ana Unified, with 54,500 students, about 83 percent of students graduated from high school last year, the lowest rate of all local districts. Santa Ana schools have among the highest poverty rates and highest concentration of English learners – both key factors that many experts say contribute to the high number of dropouts. 

The $105 million cost to the local community includes the loss of about $58 million in tax revenue because of lower-paying jobs of dropouts, and about $24.5 million in costs associated with crimes committed by dropouts, according to the report.

The report also estimates that the amount of dropouts in one year in Santa Ana may correlate to an additional 101 aggravated crimes committed per year. 

"Economic losses from a single year's dropouts are both substantial and borne largely by the local communities. Students drop out of school and drop into the cities," said Russell Rumberger, director of the California Dropout Research Project. "We created these profiles to help cities identify the magnitude and impact of the dropout crisis and to create a sense of urgency in order to start working on solutions." 

Officials in Santa Ana Unified, which is not listed by name in the report, said they had not yet reviewed today's report and could not comment specifically on the findings.

Deputy Superintendent Cathie Olsky said the district's actual number of dropouts as reported by the state is 292 for 2006-07. Today's study only lists citywide dropouts, not dropouts by district. Still, Olsky said wasn't surprised with some of the report's general conclusions.

"The more education a student has, the higher potential for their income," she said. "The less education, the more someone tends to be reliant on assistance."

Olsky said the dropout problem is not unique to districts in cities like Santa Ana. The district continues to work on programs and services to help all students graduate, she said.

"Dropping out of school before acquiring a high school diploma is a very serious and pressing issue that we all need to be aware of and take steps to decrease," she said. "We are continually developing alternative programs and schedules, alternative high schools, independent study programs, partnerships with Santa Ana College, that allow students to continue with their studies regardless of their situation."

Earlier this year, the district approved lowering the number of credits students needed to graduate from high school from 240 to 220. Officials said then that the new requirement will give students more flexibility in taking a wider variety of courses and help more students graduate.

To view the full report visit

Contact the writer: 714-445-6687 or


"It is not enough to teach our young people to be they can realize their ambitions, so they can earn good livings, so they can accumulate the material things that this society bestows. Those are worthwhile goals. But it is not enough to progress as individuals while our friends and neighbors are left behind." 

                                              Cesar Chavez  



Gustavo Arellano


The Buena Park Library District presented a program featuring Orange County native Gustavo Arellano on Thursday, June 25.
Gustavo Arellano is a nationally best-selling author, syndicated columnist, and voice of the Mexican-American community.  He is a staff writer with the OC Weekly in Orange County, California, and a contributing editor to the Los Angeles Times Op/Ed pages.
He writes a nationally syndicated column, "Ask a Mexican!" which has a circulation of more than two million.  He is also the author of two books, "Ask a Mexican," based on the writings in his column, and "Orange County: a Personal History," part personal narrative, part cultural history.
For more information on the event, call 714-826-4100 ext. 15.
Sent by Gloria Oliver





The Tunnel
Wolf Gallery Exhibit
Sept 5: Los Pobladores – Walk to Los Angeles
Titans' Ramirez prepared for the sounds of Omaha
Texas's new exhibition, In His Own Words: The Life and Work of César Chávez,
Quintero Family & the Founding of Los Angeles by Jennifer Vo and John P. Schmal

The Tunnel by Sergio Hernandez
22x28 2009 


Editor:  When Sergio sent this painting, it brought back strong memories of mixed emotions, which occurred each time we went through an L.A.  tunnel that looked just like this.. As a child, I remember many times driving through tunnels in Los Angeles, filled with both fear and excitement, awed by the darkness, but fascinated that we were entering what looked like a black hole, with no end. . .   just black, moist, cold air. I remember the sigh of relief when we saw a small, dim ray of light that grew bigger as we continued, knowing it was coming, but still relieved when it appeared. It was a very odd contrast of feelings, experienced simultaneously.
Sergio said that "the tunnel is on Soledad Cyn .Rd. (down the historic Soledad Cyn.) going toward Acton (where I live) near Agua Dulce in the Angelus Forrest. It's been there since the 1800's and undoubtedly worked on by our people!  Yes by all means use it......lots of mining and the early Railroad in Calif. went through here and still does!.............Serg  ps yes it's a scary place at night."



Wolf Gallery Exhibit

Expressions of gang violence, a visual experience from the inside out.  Five gang intervention workers express their experience in the trenches of gang warfare through art, a visual experience into the life's and world of gang intervention workers in the mean streets of Los Angeles barrios.  Free Event Reception 100 pm to 200 pm. Location Wolf Gallery 7646 Greenleaf Ave Whittier, CA 90602 562-325-5938



“Los Pobladores – Walk to Los Angeles ” 
Celebrating Los Angeles 228th Birthday 


Hi Mimi:   

Greetings from San Gabriel – Birthplace of the Los Angeles Region!  Hope you and yours are well. It’s that time of year again when we lace up our walking shoes for “Los Pobladores – Walk to Los Angeles ” celebrating San Gabriel and Los Angeles ’ shared living history. The “Walk” takes place at 6:00 a.m., Saturday, September 5th from San Gabriel Mission to the Plaza at El Pueblo Historical Monument.  

Everyone is welcome to celebrate this important key chapter in California ’s history!  
For more information:
To register to participate:
Download form:

Cynthia A. Smith, 
Administrative Services Manager
City of San Gabriel, 
425 S. Mission Drive
San Gabriel , CA 91776
626.308.2800 ext. 4603




Titans' Ramirez prepared for the sounds of Omaha 


FULLERTON -- They jacked up the PA system to tornadic levels at Cal State Fullerton's practice the other day. They blared the Arkansas fight song as loud as they could, simulated crowd noise and applause, just to give the younger Titans a little taste of Omaha.

On Saturday, 19-year-old Noe Ramirez goes to the Rosenblatt Stadium mound to confront Arkansas and 20,000-plus fans.

He is the first freshman to throw Fullerton's first pitch in a College World Series, although Ramirez and Coach Dave Serrano consider it a chronological asterisk. The Titans aren't starting Ramirez out of necessity. He is 9-1 with a 2.96 ERA and a .225 batting average-against.

"I don't feel like I'm a freshman anymore," Ramirez said Wednesday, before the Titans left for the heartland.  Besides, the tough part was becoming one.

A year ago, Ramirez was home in East L.A., taking two night classes at Lincoln High so he could qualify for admission to CSF. He hadn't been drafted and most schools considered him a classroom risk. He had thought about East L.A. College, but here was Sergio Brown, a Titans assistant, urging him to follow his Division I dream even if it led through a math textbook.

"A lot of coaches didn't think he would get to this point," Serrano said.  Ramirez made it. Now, the baseball part.  "I had a fastball and a curve and I didn't throw the curve," Ramirez said.  But Serrano taught him a changeup, and on March 3 Ramirez got a midweek start against San Diego State and won with a seven-inning three-hitter.

A victory over Rhode Island positioned Ramirez to replace Kyle Witten, who was suspended. In his first Big West start, Ramirez gave UC Riverside only three hits in 72/3 innings. A trend developed. Whenever he pitched, few people got hits. He struck out 18 in 15 innings of regional and super-regional work, and he has totaled 107 innings with 85 hits and 96 strikeouts.

"I think the major league scouts just missed him," Serrano said. "We signed him because we liked his potential, but then I saw him this summer in a Babe Ruth game at Arcadia and thought, you know, he might help us this year. Did I think he'd be starting in Omaha? It didn't occur to me, but I'm not surprised."

For Ramirez, the hardest miles might be over.  His parents, Rafael and Maria, came from Guadalajara. They understand more English than they speak, but they grasp what's going on here. They also know how dangerously the pendulum could have swung.

The family lives in the Ramona Gardens apartments in East L.A. A gang called the Big Hazard Boys dominates the local streets. "They don't usually mess with the people in the neighborhood," Ramirez said. "But my parents made sure I didn't get involved."

Four months ago, Ramirez came home for a weekend, went out with friends, and reached his parking lot at 1 a.m. He saw two gang members near his car but shrugged. As he was getting out of the car he noticed a white van across the street "with some bald heads in it." What he heard next were gunshots, aimed in his direction.

"I got down in the floorboard," he said. "Nobody got hit, but it took me about 10 minutes to get it together to come in the house. I ran in, and my mom was waiting. But people there are nosy. They came out in the street to see what happened, and they were picking up the shells from the street. Crazy."

Then Ramirez heard shots again. "And I saw one guy come out with the biggest shotgun I'd ever seen, and the noise from that ..." He shook his head. "I did a paper on the whole thing, for school. It was scary. But it's home.

"There are a lot of people in East L.A. who look at me and want me to succeed," he said. "Not many people there get the chance. Most of them are the greatest in the world. I really want to represent them."

So did Ricky Romero, who came to CSF and became the No. 6 pick in the first round of the draft. Romero now pitches for Toronto, met Ramirez last fall, and trades texts and actual phone calls regularly.  Rafael works in an auto shop, repairing alternators and generators. He will be in Omaha just as he has been in Fullerton most weekends.

"I can't explain what this all means to him," the son said. "He's told his boss a few times that he's coming to see me pitch, no matter what the work is, and I think he almost got fired a couple of times. Now they're a little more understanding."  Father and son will be in Omaha on Saturday, ears wide open. They know innocent noise when they hear it.

Contact the writer:



Texas's new exhibition, In His Own Words: 
The Life and Work of César Chávez

Humanities Texas e-news, April 2009
Remembering César Chávez
At the March 31st opening of Humanities Texas's new exhibition, In His Own Words: The Life and Work of César Chávez, Humanities Texas board member and University of Texas at San Antonio President Ricardo Romo explained how he became involved in Chávez's movement and when he met the activist. Read about his memories of Chávez and the people who worked with him below.
Humanities Texas board members Ricardo Romo and Joseph R. Krier stand beside a photo of Romo with César Chávez. Photo courtesy of Humanities Texas. To see more photos from the opening, click here.
Remembering César Chávez
by Ricardo Romo
When I met César Chávez in 1968, he was gaining international fame as the leader of the United Farm Workers. My wife, Harriett, and I had been teaching in Los Angeles for one year when we were called by friends to assist in the grape boycott. We had a modest role in the labor movement, mainly meeting on the weekends to pass out leaflets in front of grocery stores in the Southern California region. In the aftermath of the great 340-mile march from Delano to Sacramento in 1965, César Chávez took the boycott to the cities of America and Europe. Within a few years, more than 17 million Americans had expressed support for the grape boycott, which soon extended to California lettuce and Gallo wine.
At Franklin High School, where I taught, we formed a support group for the farm workers. In 1969, I took a class of Upward Bound high school students to Delano to meet Chávez and gain greater understanding of the plight of the workers in the fields. In Delano, the headquarters of the UFW, we met Richard Chávez, the creator of the UFW flag with its famous eagle icon, and the dynamic leader and UFW Vice President, Dolores Huerta. We also spoke to rank and file members of the UFW and became familiar with their difficult working conditions. Workers earned about a dollar an hour and worked for long hours in the sun with few breaks and no toilets. On one occasion, we witnessed a small plane flying low off the ground spraying pesticides on the fields as workers labored nearby.
For years, the farm workers had endured these hardships quietly. All that was to change with the founding of the union in 1962. Still, change came slowly and while the union gained thousands of members, there were still many strikes, violence, and organizing setbacks over the next decade. One week in the summer of 1969, Harriett and I volunteered to work with the UFW office and felt that we contributed modestly in organizing membership records. As the week was coming to an end, César graciously invited us to stay for the weekend and be his guest for his daughter’s wedding.
The wedding was in the old Filipino Hall, famous as the meeting hall for the first official strike in 1962. The wedding was a brief respite for the Chávez family, many of whom had returned from assignments in cities across America. For us, it was the last summer of volunteer work, as we both entered graduate school at UCLA in the fall of 1970. Still, Harriett and I have fond memories of Chávez, a giant figure in labor history and a man of great character and courage.



Taking Part in History:

The Quintero Family and the Founding of Los Angeles

By Jennifer Vo and John P. Schmal  




The Humble Beginnings of Los Angeles

Few of the great cities of the land have had such humble founders as Los Angeles . Of the eleven pobladores who built their huts of poles and tule thatch around the plaza vieja … not one could read or write. Not one could boast of an unmixed ancestry… the conquering race that possesses the land they colonized has forgotten them. No street or landmark in the city bears the name of any one of them [from J. M. Guinn, Historical and Biographical Record of Los Angeles and Vicinity (Chicago: Chapman Publishing Co., 1901)]  

Not too many people can claim that they have had a ringside seat at significant historic events.  And those who did have a ringside seat usually did not fully comprehend the significance of the events they took part in.  This appears to have been the case for my ancestor, Luis Quintero, a poor middle-aged African-Mexican tailor from Sonora , Mexico .  In September 1781, Luis and his family joined ten other families in the founding of El Pueblo de Nuestra la Reina de Los Angeles (The Pueblo of Our Lady Queen of the Angels), with no clear vision of what would happen.  

My name is Jennifer Vo, and I am a senior editor for a major publishing firm in the Los Angeles area.  I am one of millions of Angelinos who live in one of the largest cities in the world. But I am one of only a few thousand who is actually descended from the original 44 founders of Los Angeles .

The Expedition of 1781

The founding of Los Angeles , California , was not a random event. It was the result of a well-planned strategic move by Spain to secure the northwestern border regions of its extensive American empire in the last half of the Eighteenth Century.  With this goal in mind, the Spanish authorities in Mexico organized the Expedition of 1781 for the specific purpose of founding of the Pueblo .  

My ancestors, Luis Quintero and his wife María Petra Rubio, represent one of the eleven original couples to settle with their families at El Pueblo de Los Angeles in 1781.  They are also my great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandparents (also referred to as eighth-generation grandparents).  Luis is said to have been born in Guadalajara , as the son of a Black slave and Indian woman, although we have not yet verified this through our own research.  

When Captain Rivera assembled his crew of soldiers and settlers in Álamos in January of 1781, Luis Quintero’s destiny was already tied to the historic expedition about to take place.  On January 21, his 16-year-old daughter Catharina was married at Purísima Concepción Church in Álamos to one of Rivera’s soldiers, Joaquin Rodríquez.  His 15-year-old daughter, Fabiana Sebastiana, was married to another soldier of the expedition, Eugenio Valdés, on the same day. And, on the following day, Luis’s eldest daughter, 18-year-old María Juana Josefa, was united in marriage with still another soldado de cuera, José Rosalino Fernández.   

The prospect of never seeing his daughters again may have played a role in the decision-making process, for it is believed that Luis Quintero was the last poblador to sign on the dotted line. When the settlers left Álamos on February 2, 1781, Luis, María Petra, and their eight children were among them.  In addition to the three married daughters, María Concepcíon (9 years old), María Tomasa (7), María Rafaela (6), and José Clemente (3) made the 950-mile journey.  Sixteen-year-old María Gertrudis Castelo came along as an adopted daughter.   

A New Life in California

On August 18, 1781, Luis Quintero and the other pobladores arrived at the San Gabriel Mission after a journey of six-and-a-half months and 960 miles. Several weeks later on the morning of September 4, 1781, according to legend, forty-four persons set out westward from the San Gabriel Mission with an escort of soldiers and priests.  It is said that Governor de Neve led the people in a parade, followed first by the soldiers and padres, who were then followed by the settlers. The travelers carried their belongings on their backs or upon their mules as they crossed the Los Angeles River .   

By late afternoon, the party arrived at the site of their new home.  Ceremonies were concluded by prayers and blessings from the padres, shortly after which, the flag of Our Lady of the Angels was raised over El Pueblo de Nuestra la Reina de Los Angeles . In The Land Known as Alta California , the author Regina V. Phelan described the first night at the new pueblo:  

That evening the women fetched water from the river and cooked supper for their families.  The older boys took care of the livestock.  The girls quieted their baby brothers and sisters.  The men set about marking off their small parcels of land, then started building earthen-roofed huts of willow branches interlaced with tules gathered from the river.  

Some researchers have suggested that the founding of the Pueblo may have been a more gradual process and that this grand procession on September 4th may not have taken place as dramatized by some historians.  The one thing that is certain is that there is very little documentation about the first years of the pueblo and the events that took place there.  

Los Pobladores

Of the fourteen pobladores that had been enlisted one thousand miles away in Álamos , Sonora , only eleven of them – with their families – actually took part in the founding of the Pueblo of Los Angeles. A list of the first settlers, as indicated by a padrón (census) taken on November 19, 1781, is shown below.  This listing – which groups together people of the same surname – can also be found on the Pobladores’ plaque on the south side of Pueblo Plaza in Downtown Los Angeles:    


José Fernanco de, Español, Hombre, 50
María Antonio, India, Mujer, 23
María Juan, Niña, 6
José Julian, Niño, 4
María Faustina, Niña, 2

José Antonio, Mestizo, Hombre, 42
María Regina, Mulata, Mujer, 47
José Eduardo, Niño, 10
José Clemente, Niño, 9
Mariana, Niña, 4  

Basilio, Indio, Hombre, 67
María Manuela, Mulata, Mujer, 43
José Maxímo, Niño, 15
José Carlos, Niño, 12
María Josefa, Niña, 8
Antonio Rosalino, Niño, 7
José Marcelino, Niño, 4
José Esteban, Niño, 2  

Antonio, Negro, Hombre, 38
María Ana, Mulata, Mujer, 27
María Paula, Niña, 10
Antonio María, Niño, 8

Antonio Clemente, Español, Hombre, 30
María Seferina , India, Mujer, 26
María Antonia, Niña, 8

José, Indio, Hombre, 28
María Bonifacia, India, Mujer, 20
Cosme Damien, Niño, 1

Alejandro, Indio, Hombre, 19
Juana María, India, Mujer, 20

Pablo, Indio, Hombre, 25
María Rosalía, India, 26
María Antonia, Niña, 1

Manuel, Mulato, Hombre, 30
María Tomasa, Mulata, Mujer, 24

Luis, Negro, Hombre, 55
María Petra, Mulata, Mujer, 40
María Gertrudis, Niña, 16
María Concepcíon, Niña, 9
María Tomasa, Niña, 7
María Rafaela, Niña, 6
José Clemente, Niño, 3

José, Mulato, Hombre, 22
María Guadalupe, Mulata, Mujer, 19

A New Pueblo

None of these settlers ever became famous on an individual basis.  Beloved and revered by their respective families, these settlers carried on with their mission, living life one day at a time and contributing their efforts to the formative years of the young pueblo.  If they had been able to see the future, it is not likely that they would have predicted the evolution of Los Angeles into one of the largest metropolitan regions in the world.  

But these settlers did indeed become the nucleus of what would someday become one of the largest urban areas in the country.  The Spanish racial classifications used to describe the settlers were used throughout the Spanish Empire.  Español indicated a person of Spanish descent, while the term indio/india simply implied the male and female genders for Indian.  A mestizo usually indicated a person of half Spanish and half Indian blood, while a mulato or mulata indicated a person of mixed African and Spanish origins. The use of these racial terms was very imprecise and was frequently based on the degree of darkness not on actual lineage.   

The new pueblo was six miles square with a plaza near its center.  Each family was given a small piece of land, in addition to receiving two mares, two cows, one calf, two sheep, two goats, two mules, and two oxen, as well as implements with which to work the land.  They had five years to pay for these items.  All of the settlers also had access to an anvil, a forge, six crowbars, six iron spades, tools for carpentry and cast work, some carts, and wagons.  

After the initial settlement of the pueblo, there was a great deal of work yet to be done.  For that reason it is possible that some of the soldiers – many of whom were destined for service at the proposed Santa Barbara Presidio – had new responsibilities.  According to Meredith Stevens, “The soldiers remained there to help the settlers get established.  They built pole and mud huts with earthen roofs, and made corrals of willow poles laced with rawhide. They dug wells, cleared land for planting and set up an irrigation system fed from the river by zanja madre (mother ditch).  After eight months of exhausting labor, in April 1782, the little village was crudely completed and most of the soldiers were sent north to build the new presidio at Santa Barbara .”  

The primary purpose for building the zanja madre was agricultural. From this main ditch, smaller ditches branched off to be used for irrigation of crops in different sectors.  However, the smaller ditches were also used for drinking water and laundering.  People in town went to the nearest ditch to fill their ollas (clay water jugs).  A man called a zanjero was paid to watch the ditch and make sure that the cattle, sheep, and horses were kept out of the open ditches.  

Very little is known about Luis Quintero’s activities in the first half year at the pueblo. But, on March 22 and 25, 1782, Luis served as padrino (godfather) for the Indians confirmed by Father Serra at the San Gabriel Mission.  (In the early years of the Pueblo , the settlers attended church services in San Gabriel, nine miles away.)


Moving On to Santa Barbara

However, a day later, on March 26, 1782, Luis and two other settlers were expelled from Los Angeles by order of Governor de Neve and "sent away as useless to the pueblo and themselves.” Their properties confiscated by the authorities, Luis and his family joined the Santa Barbara Company on their journey to the northwest.  

In analyzing the causes of Luis Quintero’s expulsion from Los Angeles in 1782, it should be noted that the tailor Luis Quintero was probably not well suited for the rigors of frontier life.  He was not a farmer and, at the age of 55, it was not likely that he could have adjusted effortlessly to the profession of farmer.   

It should also be noted that three of Luis’ daughters had married soldiers who were attached to the Expedition of 1781.  All three of these soldiers (José Rosalino Fernández, Joaquin Rodríguez, and Eugenio Valdés) were destined to be stationed at the Santa Barbara Presidio in the Spring of 1782, and it is possible that the Quintero family hoped to be closer to those daughters.  Whatever the case may be, it is known that Luis Quintero lived out the remaining 28 years of his life as a respectable member of the budding Santa Barbara community, serving as the maestro sastre (master tailor) for the soldiers at the presidio.  

Although Luis Quintero never returned to Los Angeles , many of his descendants did make their home in the small pueblo.  His daughter, Sebastiana Quintero and her husband Eugenio Valdés, had nine children between 1782 and 1799, during which time, Eugenio had served at the Santa Barbara Presidio and in the escolta at San Buenaventura.  After Eugenio retired from the military in 1800, he moved with his wife and family to Los Angeles where he was given lands, which he cultivated until his death.  The couple had one more child in 1801 and were registered in the 1804 census at Los Angeles with three of their children: Antonio María, Basilio, and María.

Rodeo de las Aguas

Eugenio and Sebastiana’s fifth child, María Rita Quiteria Valdés, was married on February 16, 1808 in Los Angeles to a soldier named Vicente Ferrer Villa. This granddaughter of Luis Quintero was eventually widowed with a large family to support.  In 1852, María Rita Valdés de Villa petitioned for confirmation of patent granted in 1838 for the 4,539-acre ranch, Rodeo de las Aguas (Meeting of the Waters).   

The house María built stood near the present corner of Sunset Boulevard and Alpine Drive. In 1854, María Rita decided to sell Rancho de las Aguas for about $4,000 to Major Henry Hancock, a New Hampshire attorney, and Benjamin Wilson, a native of Nashville , Tennessee .  This property eventually became what we now call Beverly Hills .

A Ringside Seat

My ancestor, Luis Quintero, had a ringside seat at a significant historical event. Ironically, his role in the founding of Los Angeles was cut short by bureaucratic meddling.  Thus, he left the Los Angeles area and became involved the founding and building of Santa Barbara , California .  Upon his death in 1810, Luis Quintero had lived a long and accomplished life, having served as the first official tailor of the young settlement at Santa Barbara .  

Copyright  © 2009, by Jennifer Vo and John P. Schmal.  All rights under applicable law are hereby reserved. 

Doyce B. Nunis, Jr., The Founding Documents of Los Angeles : A Bilingual Edition.  Los Angeles : Historical Society of Southern California , 2004.  

Regina Phelan, The Land Known as Alta California . Spokane : Prosperity Press, 1997.  

Meredith Stevens, The House of Olivas. Ventura , California : Chadron Press.  

Jennifer Vo and John P. Schmal, A Mexican-American Family of California : In the Service of Three Flags. Westminster , Maryland : Heritage Books, 2004.



Alex Ramon is the star "Magical Zingmaster" in Ringling Bros., Barnum and Bailey
The Siege of Los Angeles, August 13, 1846 - September 30, 1846
The Battle of the Do
minquez Rancho, October 8-9 1846
Mixtec Families in Watsonville, California
Services Available at the Sutro Library
2009 Kiwanis Citrus Parade in Santa Paula
Hispanic in California by Jaime Cader 
July 11th & July 17th: Fiestas de amigos en la Casa de Espana en San Diego
Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks 
Scholar Interview, Stanford's Al Camarillo 
Carlos Torres' Story 
Hotel Memories Navy Captain Spent Youth as Busboy at Del Monte
A Legacy of Service: Mexican-American Defenders of California 
        by Jennifer  Vo and John P. Schmal

Alex Ramon is the star "Magical Zingmaster" 
in Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey


Alex Ramon is the star "Magical Zingmaster" in Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey presents Zing Zang Zoom. Alex has performed for millions of people in 14 countries around the world. He toured the globe for 2 1/2 years starring in Disney LIVE! Mickey's Magic Show as a principal Illusionist. By age 18 Alex had already received National Recognition for his talents and was a recipient of the coveted Lance Burton Award. He has been named "San Francisco Bay Area's Best Stage Magician." Currently, Alex Ramon performs hundreds of shows each year in "The Greatest Show on Earth" and is the only magician to ever be the featured performer in a Ringling Bros. Circus.
In March, Alex Ramon opened the 139th Edition of Ringley Brothers and Barnum and Bailey at Madison Square Garden*
Prior to the opening night,  Alex had the pleasure of riding through Manhattan on Asia the elephant as a part of the Ringling Bros. Animal Walk. The Animal Walk is an annual event that draws thousands from the city and makes a large statement that... "The Greatest Show on Earth" is in town.
*Check out Alex Ramon on Facebook and MySpace* or do an image google search.

Sent by Kentara Padron
Mystique Global Entertainment
415-828-5398 / VM 415-973-2394

Upcoming performance dates in California are:
Oakland Oracle Arena Aug.12 - 16; 
San Jose HP Pavilion Aug. 19 - 23;
Sacramento Arco Arena Aug. 27 - 30, 2009.  Call: 1-(800)-745-3000 for info., and or Ticketmaster.



THE SIEGE OF LOS ANGELES, August 13, 1846 - September 30, 1846
Mexican (Californio) victory


The "Siege of Los Angeles" was a military occupation by the United States Marines 
of the Pueblo de Los Angeles during the Mexican-American war.


On August 13, 1846, early in the American invasion of California during the Mexican-American War, the US Navy, under Commodore Robert F. Stockton, sent an occupying force of fifty US Marines, under USMC Captain Archibald H. Gillespie into the Pueblo de Los Angeles and raised the American flag without opposition, as Mexican government officials fled Alta California. A rudimentary US barricade called Fort Hill was hastily built overlooking the small pueblo.


The martial law imposed on the surprised and confused pueblo citizens by Captain Gillespie soon ignited a popular uprising. The Californios, organized under José Mariá Flores, a Mexican Officer who remained in California, Jose Antonio Carrillo and Andres Pico, and assembled a vaquero Lancer force that began the fight to break the "Siege of Los Angeles" on September 22, 1846.


Gillespie's marines were able to resist an initial attack on the government house in town and regrouped on Fort Hill, where they strengthened their fortification with sandbags and mounted a cannon. Within a short time, the Californio force grew to just over sixty men, with several Californio citizens voicing strong opposition to the American invaders. Flores offered an ultimatum: leave within twenty-four hours or face attack. Gillespie, remembering the Americans at the Alamo, chose to withdraw from Los Angeles, and on September 30, 1846, American forces retreated to their Brig Savannah, berthed in San Pedro Bay, with Stockton's fleet. This was the beginning of the unanticipated Californio resistance to the American invasion of Southern California.

Source: Wikipedia encyclopedia: The Siege of Los Angeles
Sent by Robert Smith


October 8-9 1846
Mexican (Californio) victory


The Battle of Dominguez Rancho (October 8-9 1846) was a military engagement of the Mexican-American War. The battle took place within Manuel Dominguez's 75,000 acre Rancho San Pedro.

Captain José Antonio Carrillo, leading fifty Californio Lancer troops, successfully held off an invasion of Pueblo de Los Angeles by some 200 United States Marines, under the command of US Navy Captain William Mervine, who was attempting to recapture the town after the Siege of Los Angeles. During the battle, four US Marines were killed and twelve were wounded. Ten US troops died of their wounds on Snake Island, Terminal Island, the following day. The Californios suffered no casualties.

By strategically running horses across the dusty Dominguez hills in the area now known as Carson, while transporting their single small cannon to various sites, Carrillo and his troops convinced the Americans they had encountered a large enemy force. Faced with heavy casualties and the superior horsemanship fighting skills displayed by the militia "Lancers", the remaining Marines were forced to retreat to their ships berthed in San Pedro Bay.

Source: Wikipedia encyclopedia: Battle of Dominguez Rancho
Sent by Robert Smith



Mixtec Families in Watsonville, California
by David Bacon


WATSONVILLE, CA Indigenous Mixtec migrants from San Martin Peras in the Mexican state of Oaxaca live in and near Watsonville, and work in the strawberry fields. 

Twelve members of the family of Margarito Salvador live in a two-bedroom apartment on the outskirts of town. 





In a nearby apartment, Saturnina Cervantes youngest daughter helps her mother sort and fold used clothes for her family.

Alfredo Lopez and his family live in Pajaro, across the river from Watsonville. He has three daughters - Esperanza, Ofelia and Sylvia Lopez, his youngest daughter.

In a colonia not far from there, a Mixtec family sleeps and cooks in a trailer. In the same colonia Liba Ramirez lives with her husband Israel in a converted garage, where she makes tortillas in their tiny kitchen. She is several months pregnant.


Illegal People -- How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants
Just given the C.L.R. James Award for best book of 2007-2008 by the Working Class Studies Association:
From Beacon Press: 

Articles and images on immigration:
David Bacon, Photographs and Stories, 

See also the photodocumentary on indigenous migration to the US Communities Without Borders (Cornell University/ILR Press, 2006) 

See also The Children of NAFTA, Labor Wars on the U.S./Mexico Border (University of California, 2004) 

Sent by Carlos Munoz, Ph.D.


Services Available at the Sutro Library
The San Francisco Branch of the California State Library
480 Winston Drive.
San Francisco, CA 94132 


" Research assistance and instruction in the use of the library's resources. 
" Limited photocopies of up to 20 pages. Sent via fax and mail with no charge.
" Reference service by phone or email.
" Interlibrary loan services (printed materials, copying, fiche & film.)
" Group visits and orientation sessions. (Advance reservation is required.)
" Internet access to California State Library's online resources, & Heritage Quest online.
" Presentations at conferences and community groups on Sutro Library resources. 
" We accept donations of family and local histories from all states and countries, travel literature, exploration, etc. (Tax deductable as allowed by law.)
" Sutro Library is open M-F & the second Saturday of each month from 10-5, excluding holidays.

Collections & Resources 

Genealogy, Family & Local History, City Directories, US Census & Soundex from 1790-1930, Passenger lists and indexes prior to 1900, Parish records (Baptism, Marriage, Death) from England, mostly before 1800, Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) publications, Guides, bibliographies and periodicals published by historical and genealogical societies, and by family associations, Genealogy CD-ROMs, Vital, Tax, Voting & Property Records.

Please check: California State Library Home Page and the Online Catalog for special collections available at the library.

For inquiries please contact Sutro staff: 
Email   or call: 415-731-4477.
Sent by



2009 Kiwanis Citrus Parade in Santa Paula


Saturday, July 18th ~  Main Street in historic Downtown Santa Paula
This very popular parade held every summer in Santa Paula honors our annual Citrus Festival.  The theme this year is “Sweet Fruit, Sweet Life”.  I am entered in this parade with my newly formed Conjunto Callejon (the Alley Group).  My young neighbors (between the ages of 8 and 10) saw me carrying instruments in and out for gigs.  They finally got the guts to ask me for guitar lessons. It's been a "blast" ever since.  This started in December.  In May I organized a “recital” on Mothers’ Day.  We made our debut for their Moms.   As I said it was a blast.  In late May, we performed at a Talent Show at Grace Thille school and our group was a hit.  So I decided that we were ready for the big time – the annual Santa Paula Citrus Parade.  I call our group the Conjunto Callejon.  “Callejon” means alley, and since we all live in the alley between Mill St and 10th I felt it was a fitting name.  Please come and see/hear us play “De Colores” and other songs as we parade down Main Street.
WHAT:                 2009 Kiwanis Citrus Parade in Santa Paula
WHEN:                 Saturday, July 18th @ 10am
WHERE:               Historic Main Street in Santa Paula, between
For more information:  Call Xavier @ (805) 525-8961



Hispanic in California
Written by Jaime Cader 
Palomino Productions


Author Jaime Cader, host of our show “Weaving with Spanish Threads,”  contemplates the Hispanic (Latino) community in California. ED 

Hispanics have lived in California .... ....since decades before it became a state within the United States.  Every year in San Francisco's Presidio, descendants of the De Anza expedition are celebrated and special cultural presentations are given.  The De Anza expedition brought more settlers from Mexico.

It is important to note that during the early explorations of the Americas, the Spaniards always had Native Americans accompanying them.  Individuals of African descent also were part of those explorations.

For example, there is a theory that "Salvadoran" Indians accompanied the Spaniarts during their first explorations of California--as some of the ships were built in what is now El Salvador.  In the book "North from Mexico," author Carey McWilliams says about Los Angeles that "the city boasts of the Spanish origin of its first settlers"--but he found that several of these were in fact Indians, mulattos, or Black, and there was even one person who may have been Chinese.  EDITOR'S NOTE:  see below for details about these settlers. 


Nueva Galicia, a geneological society. (photo: Jaime Cader)

Another theory to consider is the one proposed in the book "Occupied America - The Chicano's Struggle Toward Liberation" by Rodolfo Acuña.  Acuña presents the argument that the descendants of the Spanish speaking population of the Southwestern region of the U.S.  (which includes California and which was once a part of Mexico) are a people colonized by the United States.r56.

My own experiences in growing up among Hispanics in the S.F. Bay Area are that many of the traditions and the Spanish language are maintained.  We are a diverse community and other languages are also spoken here.  Those of which I have most often heard about are Mayan languages and Garifuna, a language spoken by a certain population of Blacks from Central America.


Genoveva Calloway, city council member, City of San Pablo (CA) (photo: Jaime Cader)

At the present time, the United States has the second largest Spanish speaking popoulation in the world, after Mexico.  This of course can be felt in California where there are large Hispanic communities.  A pressing concern among this population is the issue of U.S. immigration laws.  Many individuals entered this country without legal documents.  They are targeted by immigration officers (ICE) and separation of families occurs.  Hispanics also face many forms of discrimination, one being the passage of state laws specifying that English is the official language.

The importance of the Spanish language and the contributions of Hispanics is being recognized, however.  Personally when I go to dance clubs that cater to Hispanics, I can sense that there is a special energy here.  I can feel that this energy coming from Hispanics is the future of California and the entire country.

JAIME CADER´S enumeration of the first settlers of Los Angeles,'' quoting CAREY McWILLIAMS, "NORTH FROM MEXICO:"

"Pablo Rodríguez, José Variegas, José Moreno, Felix Villavicencio, José de Lara, Antonio Mesa, Basilio Rosas, Alejandro Rosas, Antonio Navarro, and Manuel Camero.  All "Spanish" names, all good "Spaniards" except Pablo Rodríguez who was an Indian;  José Variegas, first alcalde of the pueblo, also an Indian;  José Moreno, a mulatto;  Felix Villavicencio, a Spaniard married to an Indian;  José de Lara, also married to an Indian;  Antonio Mesa, who was a Negro;  Basilio Rosas, an Indian married to a mulatto wife;  and Manuel Camero, a mulatto.  The twelfth settler is merely listed as "a Chino" and was probably of Chinese descent."


Maria Rivera, immigration attorney in northern California. (photo: Jaime Cader)

EDITOR´S NOTE:  All articles represent the views and opinions of the individual authors rather than that of PALOMINO Productions.


Fiesta de amigos en la Casa de Espana en San Diego, 11 de julio de 2009

Noche Joven, viernes 17 de Julio de 2009 de 6 de la tarde a 11 de la noche 

For information on Spanish heritage social groups in California, contact:
Maria Angeles O'Donnell Olson



Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks
June 15, 2009
Dear Mike,

Thanks to your hard work, today the Budget Conference Committee heard our State Budget Conference Committeevoices!  In a close vote, the committee voted 6 to 4 to eliminate General Fund support to the state parks, replacing it with a State Parks Access Pass, funded by a $15 surcharge on vehicle license fees.  The State Parks Access Pass, originally proposed last year by our own then-Assemblymember John Laird, is a long-term solution that would keep our parks open. However, there's a very long way to go before a final budget is adopted and anything can happen in the twists and turns of budget negotiations.  

We all need to contact our legislators again, at, to urge their support for the State Parks Access Pass.
Stay tuned and stay involved. 

Together we can keep our state parks and beaches open!

Bonny Signature
Bonny Hawley, Executive Director
Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks

Sent by Lori Frain



Fall 2008, California Council for the Humanities Network
312 Sutter Street, Suite 601
San Francisco, CA 94108


to mark the launch of, CCH Executive Director Ralph Lewin talked with Stanford University's Al Camarillo, a longtime professor of American history and the Miriam and Peter Haas Centennial Professor in Public Service. Camarillo has published seven books and several dozen articles about the experiences of Mexican Americans and other racial and immigrant groups. His latest book — "Not White, Not Black: Mexicans and Racial/Ethnic Border­lands in American Cities" — will be published by Oxford University Press. The following is an excerpt from Lewin's interview.


AC: All the groups were motivated by a chance to make a new life for themselves. The image of California as a place to start over was passed on to generation after generation. There was the opportunity but also the struggle to make life livable. Black migrants from the South who came during and after World War II faced a new Jim Crow. Mexican immigrants like my own father experienced what I call Jaime Crow. They couldn't go to theaters or had to sit in the balcony. They couldn't go to barbershops or certain restaurants. Or they couldn't go to the public swimming pool until the day before it was cleaned. Those experiences give richness to a group's history. And they also explain how race and ethnicity were powerful factors in determining an individual's life course or a group's life course.


AC: One could argue that California's history has been more tied to a migrant experience than that of any other state. Europeans and mestizo people from other parts of the continent came to California by migrating north. To this day northern migration is fundamental to understanding California society. Then there's western migration. Americans migrated even before the Gold Rush, but the Gold Rush is the signal event. It created an international and national movement of hundreds of thousands of people that transformed the state. Asian migration began during the Gold Rush and continues to have a huge impact on the state's cultural and social makeup. The world has been coming to California for over a hundred and fifty years.


We can go back a hundred and fifty years and see that certain groups were not accepted but were needed. We would not have had the construc­tion of the intercontinental railroad or mining as it matured in the Sierra foothills or a number of other industries without Chinese labor, yet they were a hated population because of racial attitudes. At the beginning of the twen­tieth century Mexican immigrants played a key role in developing the infra­structure of California's economy, and yet they were also a maligned popula­tion. There's a long history of almost a love-hate relationship. We need them, they're important to our economy, but when their numbers increase, we want to keep them out or send them back. That's a history woven into the fabric of California's past— and present because we're still dealing with it.


AC: One of the remarkable things about our past is that there's been resis­tance to groups' coming in, but there's also been acceptance. When you look at the incorporation of different groups into California society, you can say to yourself, we have a diverse society. Yes, there are some problems, but look at how all these different groups have been able to come into the mainstream. They may have been excluded at one point, but now they're second, third, fourth generation and they're important to the economic, cultural and social life of California. In a way we're a model for not only for the rest of the United States but maybe the world. In a sense we're a laboratory to see if this amazing diversity of human beings can actually forge a positive, constructive society in the twenty-first century.


It's a mixed bag. There are stories of enormous success where people took opportunity and transformed their lives. And then there are stories that remind us of California's educational gap, which is extreme. That is one of our huge challenges.


AC: Through the interactive part of the website Californians can tell their stories, and that's what history is made of — stories. Too often people feel that their voices are not heard, and this is a way to incorporate them. It gives students the opportunity to learn amazing things about immigration history that aren't necessarily in textbooks. I'm going to get my students involved.


AC: Unfortunately, too many young people are being educated in a discon­nected way from the past, and the past is critical for our understanding of who we are as individuals, as a people, as a nation. Telling your personal family history or your individual tale of migration can open up a world that you couldn't have imagined otherwise. It can help you understand how your life is connected to something larger. I would argue that this website, which is a mechanism for creating connections, should eventually be part of the California state curriculum.


AC: Teachers have a tough job. It's difficult for them to do something out­side the mandated curriculum. The website makes it easy. They can assign students to read what is already posted and/or to contribute. Building lesson plans around the website will be easy too. My son, who's a seventh- and eighth-grade U.S. history teacher in Compton, is really interested. Over half of his students are either Mexican immigrants or children of immigrants, and this will be a way for them to see the larger history they fit into.


AC: I'm eager to see the postings, which I hope will relate a newer history of California. There is no important text that tells the immigration story of the last thirty years. This website could be an important vehicle for telling that story.





My story begins in El Salvador, where I was born in 1978. During my childhood, a civil war raged throughout the country and nearly destroyed it. We lived in a poor town close enough to the fighting that we sometimes feared for our lives, but not so close that we were threatened on a daily basis. One of my earliest childhood memories is having to duck down into the leg space of our family car as we sped through a line of fire as the FMLN guerillas fought the Salvadoran national troops on opposite sides of the road leading to our home. My dad tells a story about how he and other townsmen gathered rocks and the only two guns in our town when they heard rumors that the guerillas were coming and then chased the guerillas away from town when they arrived. Life was scary for me, but not as scary as it was for my brother and sister. 

In 1980 everyone knew war was imminent. My dad's family in the U.S. wanted my parents to send my brother and sister to them illegally so that my brother would not be taken and forced to be a soldier or rebel and so that he and my sister could have a brighter future. My parents eventually gave in to my relatives' appeals and hired a coyote to bring my siblings across the border. As they were coming across, U.S. immigration officers caught them. The coyote was sent to jail and my brother and sister were taken to Mexico, where they were held in a jail cell. For two weeks no one knew what had happened to them. With me in tow, my parents searched frantically for them after learning from my relatives that the two had not arrived on the U.S. side of the border. When we finally found them, we went back home to El Salvador and spent seven more years there while the war raged on. 

Our family was always comforted by music. My father, a music lover, started a youth group that went from town to town performing theatrical numbers. I always wanted to be a part of that group, and when I was 5, my father incorporated me into the shows. Music has been a big part of my life even though I've never had a formal music education, and I've loved the stage ever since my father gave me a chance to step onto it.

In 1987 my family emigrated to the United States. When we boarded the plane, I was under the impression that we were flying to Disneyland. I found out pretty quickly that that was a lie my parents told to get me to come quietly. It worked then. But I was never quiet after that.

In fact, one of the main ways I found a home in my new country was through performance. As soon as I could, I joined the middle-school marching band and later I per-formed at rallies in high school. My interest in music got more serious when, at 19,1 was invited to be a part of a new youth salsa band called Kalichin, organized by a professional bass player named Manuel and the Mission Recreational Center to get San Francisco youths off the streets. For four years, I was the lead singer of Kalichin, performing all around the Bay Area. Manuel taught me a little about singing and stage presence, and through him I also got to see a bit of the business side of a band. 

Eventually six of us decided to leave Kalichin and start our own band, which we called Malafama, meaning "bad wrap" in Spanish. We dressed and looked like urban youths, and people were reluctant to hire us until they heard our music. With Malafama I had my first recording experience when we recorded a couple of songs at the multimillion-dollar studio donated by Carlos Santana to the Excelsior Clubhouse of the Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco.

Malafama was fun to be a part of, but I had other musical goals. After a couple of years I decided to create my own band. I was able to mud up six musicians, but that wasn't enough to do what 1 wanted to do, so I decided to go solo. At about the same time, my family moved across the Bay to Richmond, where I reconnected with two of my cousins who had started a record label and released a group album. I got my second recording opportunity when they invited me to join them. I performed with them at festivals and other venues and recorded two songs. Through them I now had a connection with a local recording studio, Sack It Up Records, and recorded a solo mixtape track.

A few months later I stumbled into the most exciting musical step I have yet taken when I invited my Richmond neighbor Tony to be my DJ when I performed. Tony has been a DJ since he was 14 years old, and he loved the idea. Healso had produced a beat and wanted to record the track with is cousin John. The two of them asked me for help organizing the song. I helped where I could, and when they heard me sing, they invited me to record the song with them. The three of us recorded the track through my connections with Sack It Up Records. We liked how we sounded together and on the spot Formed the group JCT, which I currently lead. The name I go by is Charlie T.

With JCT I've taken our music to a higher level and to bigger venues. We've produced most of our own tracks and have always written our own lyrics. We've accomplished many things, and now we even have a manager to help us get more work and recognition. My passion for music, which started when I was a small boy in El Salvador, keeps me working Lard becoming a popular and successful artist, with a record label of my own. And so, my California story continues.

California Council for the Humanities 
Network Fall 2008




Herald Staff Writer

Retired Navy Capt. Paul Trejo may be the only man who ever worked as a busboy at the Hotel Del Monte and then returned to earn a Master's degree in electrical engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School.

Navy Capt. Paul Trejo and his wife, Kathleen, spent a night in the Admiral Russell Suite at the Naval Postgraduate School's Herrmann Hall as visiting guests, he told his wife that when the building was the Hotel Del Monte he worked there as a busboy and "used to pick up the dirty ' dishes outside this room and take them to the kitchen."  His wife, Trejo said, replied, "You've come a long ways, baby!"

Busing tables at the glittering resort during the Depression gave Trejo and his co-workers
close-up views of the era's Hollywood stars. "I once saw Mickey Rooney jump up on the back of a long sofa facing the pool and run all along the top of it," said Trejo, who will speak tonight in Monterey about his experiences. When World War II broke out, the hotel became a preflight school for Navy aviation midshipmen. Trejo kept his part-time job while finishing Pacific Grove High School, pedaling his bike to the hotel to serve budding Navy fliers instead of celebrities.

The design of the big hotel dining room wasn't conducive to the normal cafeteria dining of a military mess hall, Trejo said, so the Navy kept on the waitresses and busboys and continued to serve meals "civilian-style."

The hotel "employed lots of local people," he said, and though the Hollywood crowd were big tippers, the midshipmen were not. "But we still had jobs." '

Trejo was a member of the Sea Scouts, and he and other scouts would patrol Monterey Bay in a 25-foot boat, the Sturgeon, looking for Japanese submarines during the early war years.
He recalled that the preflight school was more a weeding-out process than an instructional program.

"The midshipmen were bused to Carmel Valley and dropped off, then ran back over Laureles Grade to the school," he said. Those who couldn't stand the physical rigors of training were washed out and shipped elsewhere.

One Navy pilot returned from the war zone with a tale of escaping from a tribe of cannibals in New Guinea by pole-vaulting over the village stockade and running away.
"Everybody had to leam how to pole vault," he said, and the Navy brought in Cornelius "Dutch" Warmerdam, the first man to clear 15 feet using a bamboo pole, to teach them. Warmerdam often could be seen practicing at the old Pacific Grove High School - now P.G. Middle School - where a pole vault pit was set up.

Desire to be in uniform: The midshipmen's physical challenges didn't end at school, Trejo said. They could always find a brawl with soldiers from Fort Ord when the two groups met on Alvarado Street's back-to-back saloons on weekends.

But the sight of young men in sharp blue uniforms' and white caps at the Del Monte engendered a desire in Trejo to become one of them.

A high school classmate, John Hamilton, "had an old Indian motorcycle," he said, "and we rode to San Francisco to enlist."

Trejo had gone all through school using his stepfather's last name of Berwick, but when the Navy demanded a birth certificate and saw the surname Trejo, that held things up for a while, he said.

Trejo signed up Nov. 1, 1943, the day after his 17th birthday, but it took until the following February to be sworn in. He was accepted as an aviation cadet and sent to the University of Redlands for schooling. 

Fateful bus trip: Among his classmates, he said, were H.R. Haldeman, who was destined to become President Richard Nixon's chief of staff, and Warren Christopher, a future secretary of state.  But by then, Trejo said, the wartime aviation program was winding down and "they put 50 of us on a bus to USC and 50 on another to UCLA."

Haldeman went to the University of California-Los Angeles, where he met John Erlichman, another Nixon administration figure, while Trejo and Christopher went to the University of Southern California.

"I wonder what would have happened if I had gone on the other bus," he said. He graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering, was commissioned an ensign in the Navy and began a career that saw him serve aboard destroyers and submarines, and rise to the rank of captain.  Among his commands was a Navy air transport unit in Danang during the Vietnam War - "the only time I ever got shot at."

Developing a specialty: After retiring from the Navy, Trejo taught college physics and used his engineering background to develop a specialty in setting up planetariums at college campuses.  Trejo may be the only man who ever worked as a busboy at the Hotel Del Monte and then returned to earn a master's degree in electrical engineering from NPS, said John Sanders, special collections manager for the school's Dudley Knox Library.

Trejo will speak of his experiences at 6 p.m. today at the Monterey Maritime and History Museum at Custom House Plaza, at an event sponsored by the Monterey Peninsula Council of the Navy League, following a reception at 5 p.m.

Sanders will briefly discuss the current exhibit at NPS, "Relive the Magic: Hotel Del Monte," and show rare film footage, including a recently discovered 1939 color film of the hotel that has been made available by Pebble Beach Company. Guests can reserve a seat for the program by contacting Lois Layton of the Navy League at 625-5113.
Kevin Howe can be reached at 646-4416 or khowe@monterey .




By Jennifer Vo and John P. Schmal



The state of California is a very special place for many people. Millions have come here from other parts of the United States and from around the world to live, work, and prosper. And many of these people embrace their new lives in this western state.  As the world's fifth largest economy, California has a great deal to offer the many people who make their way to the Golden State in search of a better life.

My name is Jennifer Vo and to me and my family, California is a very special place.  This may be due to the fact that – my Chumash Indian ancestry notwithstanding – I am an eleventh-generation Californian of Mexican descent.  In 1781 - when an expedition was organized to bring a small group of civilian settlers from Sonora, Mexico to take part in the founding of El Pueblo de Nuestra la Reina de Los Angeles del Rio Porcioncula - an escort of several dozen Mexican soldiers serving under the flag of Spain were recruited.  One of those soldier recruits who took part in this important expedition was my great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather, Juan Matias Olivas, an Indian from Rosario, Sinaloa.

From my earliest memories, my family has always expressed its pride in its California roots.  When my mother, Sarah Melendez Basulto Evans, was just a teenager, she went to her grandfather's funeral in Oxnard , California .  After the church service, the family had driven to the Santa Clara Cemetery in Oxnard for the burial service.

Recounting that day thirty-nine years ago, Mom told me, "Once the graveside service had ended, my Uncle Simon [Melendez] took me for a long walk, pointing out the various tombstones for many of our ancestors.  I was amazed that he could recount so many stories and names from our family history.  As we walked along, Uncle Simon explained to me that our family had been in California for a very, very long time.  For him, this was a great source of pride.  I remember his words very clearly when he said, 'Our family has known no home but California .  This is where we belong.'  From that day forward, I have always felt a great emotional attachment to California , the land of my ancestors."

Sarah also told me that Uncle Simon had explained to her that our California family has had a long and proud tradition of military service extending back to our earliest California ancestor.  One generation after another had joined the military to defend the only land that we could call home.    And, although Mexican Americans in California have been treated unfairly at times, our resolve to defend this state and this country has never wavered. 

As I was growing up, my mother expressed these sentiments to me, and for this reason, I have always told people that I am proud to be a descendant of the California pioneers.  And, over time, I have gradually learned the details about my family's military service.  From the first moment Juan Matias Olivas entered California - and for the better part of nine generations - my family has played a role in the defense of California . And, in some cases, members of my family had to make the ultimate sacrifice to safeguard the security of California .  Over a period of two centuries, the flags, the causes, and the surnames have changed, but my family's legacy of military service to California has endured.

First Generation:

Juan Matias Olivas was born two and a half centuries ago near Rosario in what is today known as the state of Sinaloa (in the Republic of Mexico ).  On May 25, 1777, Juan was married at Nuestra Señora del Rosario Church in Rosario to María Dorotea Espinosa.  Three years later, their second child, José Pablo Olivas, came into the world and was baptized in the same church.   

On August 6, 1780, Juan Matias Olivas, enlisted for ten years as a soldado de cuera (leather-jacket soldier), attached to the Military District of Monterrey of northern Mexico .   Interestingly, Juan Matias' discharge papers of 1798 provide us with his physical description.  He was 5 feet and 2 inches in height and had black hair and black eyes.  In addition, Juan Matias had olive skin and - unlike many of his fellow soldiers - was clean-shaven, an obvious manifestation of his predominant Native American ancestry.

Joining Spain 's frontier army offered Juan and his family with great opportunities that were not available to Indians who lived in the Rosario area.  If he had stayed in Rosario , Juan Matias Olivas would have been destined to a life as a poor and lowly Indian laborer, subject to the whims of his hacienda jefe and to a society that classified him within the lower rungs of a racist caste system.

But, as a soldier serving in the Spanish military, Juan Matias would be permitted to ride a horse, carry his own weapon, have access to skilled medical attention, and enjoy free housing.  Such a profession also provided him with retirement benefits and guaranteed that his wife would receive a pension if he died while performing his duties.

At about this time, Captain Fernando Rivera was scouring the coastal cities of Sinaloa and Sonora to find and recruit 59 soldiers and 24 families of pobladores (settlers) who would make up the nucleus of an important expedition to the north.  The ultimate goal of the expedition would be the founding of the Pueblo of Los Angeles and the Military Presidio of Santa Barbara.  In the end, Rivera was only able to recruit twelve families, which would be accompanied by 59 soldiers on the northward journey.

Late in the winter of 1781, the expedition embarked.  The soldier Juan Matias, his wife -María Dorothea Espinosa, then 23 years old - and their two young children, María Nicolasa and José Pablo - took part in the 960-mile journey, arriving at the San Gabriel Mission on August 18, 1781.    In the months following their arrival at the Mission , Juan Matias Olivas and his family were housed with the rest of the soldier families near the mission.   Soon after, on the morning of September 4, 1781, the Pueblo of Los Angeles was founded, with forty-four settlers and several soldiers in attendance.  It is likely that the services of several soldiers - including Juan Matias Olivas - were needed to help the small pueblo get started.  Juan Matias, as a matter of fact, would - after his enlistment ended - make his retirement home in the small pueblo.

Early in the next year, Juan Matias Olivas and forty-one other soldiers made their way to the Santa Barbara Channel, where, on April 21, 1782, the Santa Barbara Presidio was founded.   Not long after, the families followed and the rest of my ancestor's military career would be spent at the Santa Barbara Presidio. 

As a Presidio soldier, Juan Matias Olivas and the other soldiers had a multitude of responsibilities:  Sometimes they delivered the mail to other parts of California or escorted priests to and from their destinations.  A regular escort of fifteen soldiers from Santa Barbara were posted to guard the San Buenaventura Mission. And, of course, there was always the possibility that they would be called upon to take part in an Indian campaign. (The soldados posted in New Mexico , Arizona , Texas and Chihuahua were almost constantly at war with the indigenous groups.   By comparison, California was relatively calm and the Spaniards cultivated their relationships with most of the Indian groups surrounding their presidios.)

After a few years at the Presidio, Dorotea died, leaving poor Juan Matias a widower with six children, including Pablo.  Not long after he was widowed, Juan Matias Olivas was tallied in the 1790 census of the Real Presidio de Santa Barbara . Listed as a 31-year-old widower, Juan Matias was classified was an Indian and a native of Rosario .  Four of his six children were listed as living with Juan Matias.  By now, the entire population of the Santa Barbara Presidio had reached 230 individuals, comprising 24 percent of the entire Hispanic population of Alta California .

In March 1794, Spain declared war against France . Eventually the news of this war arrived in California . The soldiers became acutely aware of the fact that both France and England yearned for the opportunity to take California into their own empires.  But it was not likely that the two hundred and seventy-five soldiers at the four presidios in California could have held off a serious invasion by a foreign power.  Nevertheless, the presidio was their home and steps were taken to safeguard the safety of their families and possessions in case of attack.

On June 1, 1794, Juan Matias married his second wife, Juana de Dios Ontiveros, at the San Gabriel Mission.  After their marriage, Matias and Juana had several children.  Then, on November 23, 1798, Juan Matias Olivas, now 40 years of age, was discharged from the military after eighteen years of service.  Two years later, Juan Matias Olivas and his family took up residence in the small pueblo of Los Angeles .  By this time, the small pueblo had seventy families, 315 people, and consisted of thirty small adobe houses.    He died a few years later.

Second Generation:

My great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather, José Pablo Olivas, the son of Juan Matias and Dorotea, had been born in Rosario, Sinaloa, on January 25, 1780 as the legitimate son of Juan Matias Olivas and Dorothea Espinosa.  But, from the age of two, Pablo grew up within the walls of the Santa Barbara Presidio.  Living at close quarters with fifty other families was no easy chore, but the inhabitants of the garrison were united in their camaraderie as the families of soldiers.  As a child, José Pablo attended the same church services as his future wife, María Luciana Fernández, the first-born child of another presidial soldier, José Rosalino Fernández.

Around the turn of the century, José Pablo Olivas stepped into his father's footsteps and became a soldier of the presidio.  In a roster of individuals dated February 17, 1804, Pablo Olivas was listed as one of the fifty-four soldiers on active duty at the Santa Barbara Presidio.  Four years earlier, he had married María Luciana Fernández.  Between 1801 and 1812, José Pablo and María Luciana would have eight children, including my great-great-great-great-great-grandfather, José Dolores de Jesus Olivas, who was baptized on Nov. 3, 1802 at Santa Barbara , and would represent the third generation of soldiers in my family.

Mexico 's struggle for independence against Spain began on the night of September 15/16, 1810 when a mild-mannered Creole priest, Father Miguel de Hidalgo y Castillo, published his famous outcry against tyranny from his parish in the village of Dolores . His impassioned speech - referred to as Grito de Hidalgo ("Cry of Hidalgo") - set into motion a process that would not end until August 24, 1821 with the signing of the Treaty of Córdova.

From 1810 through 1821, Mexico 's war of liberation interfered with the arrival of Spanish supply ships in California . Eventually, supplies dwindled to a mere trickle, making the California presidios more dependent upon the local missions for food supplies and manufactured items.  By 1813, the Commandant of Santa Barbara informed the Governor that his soldiers were without shirts and had little food; in addition, the presidio soldiers received no pay for three years, and pensions were suspended.  Four years later, on December 16, 1817, José Pablo Olivas, the second-generation soldier, died.

Third Generation:

José Pablo died when his son José Dolores Olivas was only fifteen years of age.  It was during this period of intense upheaval that José Dolores Olivas stepped into his father's shoes and served as a third-generation soldado de cuera.  José Dolores Olivas was actually the first of my Olivas ancestors to be born in California , and he would become the third generation of Olivas men to become a soldado de cuera at the Santa Barbara Presidio.  It was his destiny to see the transition of California as it passed from the hands of the Spanish empire to the newly independent Mexican state.  And he would serve as a soldier to both nations.

In 1821, Mexico had finally achieved independence from Spain , and on April 1822, the California soldiers were notified the revolt had been successful.  Almost immediately, the California presidios lowered the Spanish flag and California became a province of the new nation.  On April 13, 1822, José Dolores Olivas and the other soldiers at the Santa Barbara Presidio took their oath of allegiance to the new government in Mexico City

On June 14, 1829, José Dolores de Jesus Olivas was married to María Gertrudis Valenzuela at Mission Santa Ynez.  Dolores Olivas was listed as a single soldado de cuera and a native of the Santa Barbara .  His bride, Gertrudis, was a daughter of another presidio soldier, Antonio Maria Valenzuela and his wife, María Antonia Feliz.  María Gertrudis Valenzuela had been baptized sixteen years earlier on June 7, 1813 at the San Gabriel Mission.  Like her husband, she was the daughter of a presidial soldier and had spent most of her early years growing up at the presidio.

As José Dolores and Gertrudis prepared to start their family in 1830, they took their position as members of the growing Santa Barbara presidial community, which now numbered 604. Between 1830 and 1850, José Dolores and Gertrudis became the parents of twelve children.  My great-great-great-great-grandmother, María Antonia Olivas, born in February 1834, was the fourth-born child of this group, although she shared that position with her twin sister.

After serving out his term of enlistment, Dolores Olivas retired from the military and became an agricultural laborer.  He and his family continued to live in the vicinity of the presidio.  It was during this time that President James K. Polk of the United States devised a strategy for snatching California from the hands of the Mexican Republic .

In the fall of 1845, President Polk sent his representative John Slidell to Mexico . Slidell was supposed to offer Mexico $25,000,000 to accept the Rio Grande boundary with Texas and to sell New Mexico , Arizona , and California to the U.S.   However, the President of Mexico turned this down, and in May 1846 Polk led his country into war. 

The Mexican-American War in California ended on January 13, 1847 with the signing of the Treaty of Cahuenga.  A year later, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed on February 2, 1848, ending all hostilities between the two nations.  By the provisions of this treaty, Mexico handed over to the United States 525,000 square miles of land, almost half of her national territory.  In compensation, the U.S. paid $15,000,000 for the land and met other financial obligations to Mexico .  By the provisions of this peace treaty, the Mexican citizens living in California were offered American citizenship and full protection of the law.

The area which Mexico transferred to American control in 1848 contained a population of 82,500 Mexican citizens, 7,500 of which lived in California .  Two years later, on September 9, 1850, California was admitted to the Union as the thirty-first state.  During the Federal Census of the same year, my ancestor, José Dolores Olivas - now an American citizen - was tallied in his Santa Barbara residence as the head of a household of eleven.  My ancestor would die a few years later.

Fourth Generation:

At the time of the 1850 census, my great-great-great-great-grandmother, María Antonia Olivas, was only 15 years of age.  María Antonia Olivas was truly a daughter of the Californian military establishment.  She was descended from five pioneer California families (Olivas, Fernández, Valenzuela, Feliz and Quintero) and lived at the Santa Barbara Presidio which four of her soldado ancestors had helped to found.  Her father (José Dolores Olivas) was a retired soldier. Both of her grandfathers were California soldiers (José Pablo Olivas and Antonio María Valenzuela), as were all four of her great-grandfathers (Juan Matias Olivas, José Rosalino Fernandez, Pedro Gabriel Valenzuela, and Anastacio María Feliz).

On November 30, 1849, María Antonia Olivas was married to José Apolinario Esquivel, a native of Irapuato , Guanajuato , Mexico , at the Santa Barbara Mission.  The two of them relocated to the San Buenaventura Township to raise their family and tend their crops. Her brother, José Victoriano Olivas, four years younger than she was, would become the fourth generation Olivas to serve as a soldier in the defense of California .

The American Civil War (1861-1865) divided the American people into two camps and resulted in more casualties than any other war in American history.  Many of the hostilities in this war took place in the eastern half of North America , especially in the Southern states.  For the most part, California - which was a Union state - seemed removed from most of the battlefields and action that was taking place.

In 1863, as the Civil War raged in the eastern and southern states, the United States Government became concerned about possible Confederate incursions into New Mexico and other Union-held areas.  In order to avoid such confrontations, the U.S. Government authorized the military governor of California to organize four military companies of Mexican-American Californians into a cavalry battalion in order to utilize their "extraordinary horsemanship." 

Major Salvador Vallejo was selected to command this new California militia, with its five hundred soldiers of Spanish and Mexican descent.  Company C of the First California Native Cavalry was organized under Captain Antonio María de la Guerra.  María Antonia’s brother José Victoriano Olivas joined this company, which was made up of native troopers from Santa Barbara County .  This battalion primarily served in California and Arizona , guarding supply trains, and helped defeat a Confederate invasion of New Mexico .  José Victoriano Olivas would thus become the fourth generation of the Olivas family to serve in the military.  And this service had now been extended to three flags ( Spain , Mexico , and the United States ).

Fifth Generation:

My ancestor Regina Esquivel was born in 1851 as the daughter of José Apolinario Esquivel and María Antonia Olivas and as an American citizen. Nineteen years later, on January 3, 1870, Regina Esquivel was united in marriage with Gregorio Ortega at the San Buenaventura Mission. Gregorio was a laborer who had emigrated from southern Mexico in the 1860s.  Over the next two decades, Gregorio and Regina would become the parents of eighteen children.

Sixth Generation:

On September 16, 1875, Gregorio Ortega and Regina Esquivel became the parents of Valentine Ortega. Eighteen years later, Valentine was united in marriage with one 18-year-old Theodora Tapia, a native of the Los Angeles area.  Valentine and Theodora had five children in all, including Isabel (born in 1902), Paz (born in 1906) and Luciano P. Ortega (born in 1908). 

During the early Twentieth Century, this family lived in the Saticoy District of Ventura County, California .   Saticoy was nine miles east of the county seat, the City of Ventura .  In 1918, at the age of forty-three years, my great-great-grandfather Valentine Ortega fell victim to the worldwide influenza epidemic that ravaged the American continent at the end of World War I.

Seventh Generation:

As Isabel Ortega and her siblings grew up, they witnessed what would eventually be called the First World War.  Initially the war broke out in Europe and, it was not until three years later that America would join this conflict, with its declaration of war on Germany on April 6, 1917.  During this war, the American military was rife with discrimination against Hispanic and African-American soldiers. Soldiers with Spanish surnames or Spanish accents were sometimes the object of ridicule and relegated to menial jobs, while African Americans were segregated into separate units.  Some Hispanic Americans who lacked English skills were sent to special training centers to improve their language proficiency so that they could be integrated into the mainstream army.

My great-grandmother, Isabel Ortega, married Refugio Melendez, an immigrant laborer from Penjamo, Guanajuato.  Refugio and Isabel met during the 1920s and their first-born child was my grandmother, Theodora (Dora) Melendez, who was born in November 1927.  Dora was followed two years later by my Uncle Raymundo Melendez.  Isabel and Refugio raised their family in Saticoy, living right across the street from the Ortega family during the 1930s and 1940s. 

The Great Depression was a difficult time for my family as it was for most American families.  But the beginning of World War II was an ominous event for all Americans.  For three years, the United States avoided this war, which pitted the Axis Powers ( Germany , Italy and Japan ) against a multitude of other nations, including Great Britain , the Soviet Union, and China .

On December 7, 1941, everything changed.  The surprise attack on the American naval fleet at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii would bring America into this struggle against tyranny. And when Uncle Sam called for recruits, his call was answered.  By the end of the war in September 1945, sixteen million men and women had worn the uniform of America 's armed forces. 

At the time of America 's entry into World War II (1941), approximately 2,690,000 Americans of Mexican ancestry lived in the United States .  Eighty-five percent of this population lived in the five southwestern states ( California , Arizona , New Mexico , Texas , and Colorado ).  Like other ethnic groups, Mexican Americans responded in great number to our nation's dilemma.  At least 350,000 Chicanos served in the armed services and seventeen Hispanic individuals won the Congressional Medal of Honor.  

California played an important role in World War II.  Eighteen California National Guard Divisions were sent overseas, and thousands of men enlisted or were drafted.  According to the United States War Department, California - containing 5.15% of the population of the United States - contributed 5.53% of the total number who entered the Army.  Of these men and women from California who went to war, 3.09% failed to return home, representing 5.54% of the American casualties

In 1942, my great-uncle Luciano P. Ortega - the brother of my great-grandmother Isabel - was drafted into the armed forces.  For some reason, his name was Americanized to Joseph P. Ortega while he was in the service, but our family has always called him Luciano.  Luciano was attached to the 34th Infantry Regiment of the 24th Infantry Division, which was on the front lines in the war against Japan

During October and November 1944, the 24th Infantry Division was involved in the campaign to eject the Japanese from Leyte in the Philippine Islands.  Then, on November 19, 1944, Uncle Luciano was killed in action.  He was buried in the Manila American Cemetery in the capital city.  My uncle by marriage, Joseph Torres (the husband of Lucy Ortega) - who also served in the Philippines - saw Uncle Luciano's grave and informed the family of where the body had been laid to rest.  However, my great-great-grandmother, Theodora Tapia Ortega, never reconciled herself to her son's death and refused to accept it.  Instead, she continued to believe that he was missing in action and would someday return home to Saticoy.

Eighth Generation:

The eighth generation of my family was involved in two wars:  World War II and the Korean War.  Late in World War II, Chello O. Ortega, the son of Paz Ortega (a sister of Luciano and Isabel Ortega) and Laurencio Ortega, went to war.  He was the second Ortega to go to the Army from Saticoy and  - like his uncle Luciano - was sent to the Pacific Theater.  On May 8, 1945, Nazi Germany had surrendered unconditionally to Allied forces.  However, the war in the Pacific Theater continued unabated.

On June 27, 1945, a month-and-a-half after Nazi Germany had surrendered, the Oxnard Press Courier announced that Chello Ortega from Saticoy was missing in action in the Pacific Theater.  Nine days later, on July 6, 1945, the same newspaper announced the sad news that Chello Ortega had been killed in action (although his exact date of death is not known to us).  Less than two months later, Japan would surrender and peace would finally come to America after three years and nine months of war.

As World War II drew to an end, the three Melendez brothers - sons of Refugio Melendez and Isabel Ortega and brothers to my grandmother Dora - were teenagers.  Raymond (Raymundo) Ortega Melendez had been born in 1929 and yearned to join the military.  In 1945, at the age of 17 - with his parents' permission - Ray entered the American armed forces.  This would mark the beginning of a long military career, which would take him through the Korean and Vietnam Wars before his retirement in 1969.

The Korean War began in 1950, only five years after the end of World War II.  The participation of Mexican Americans and other Hispanics in the Korean War was such that the Department of Defense publication, Hispanics in America's Defense (Collingdale, Pennsylvania: Diane Publishing Co., 1997), has paid tribute to their contribution:  "The Korean Conflict saw many Hispanic Americans responding to the call of duty.  They served with distinction in all of the services…. Many Mexican Americans from barrios in Los Angeles , San Antonio , Laredo , Phoenix , and Chicago saw fierce action in Korea . Fighting in almost every combat unit in Korea , they distinguished themselves through courage and bravery as they had in previous wars."

By the end of the Korean War, all three of my grandmother's brothers, Raymond, Donald (Danny) and Simon would join the United States Army.   During this war, Uncle Ray served as an airborne paratrooper for many years.  But my Uncle Simon Melendez's experiences in the Korean War are the stuff that legends are made of.

Born on October 28, 1930, Simon Ortega Melendez was raised in Saticoy and attended Ventura Junior High School and Ventura City College .  When the Korean War started, Simon joined the 2nd Division of the U.S. Army and became a machine gunner.  It would be Uncle Simon's destiny to take part in two of the bloodiest battles of the Korean War.  The "Battle of Bloody Ridge" began in August 1951 and continued up until September 12, 1951.   On August 27, Simon was hit in the neck and legs by mortar shrapnel and in the back by grenade fragments.  At the same time, he was separated from his platoon.  For seven days, he was behind enemy lines and disoriented by torrential rains that made his weapon inoperable.

The rain did not stop until the sixth day, and on the seventh day he was able to make his way into the area of the 9th U.S. Regiment.  When asked how he managed to make his way through enemy lines for seven days, 21-year-old Simon explained that "my extreme faith in God brought me through."  Soon after this, Uncle Simon was able to have a three-day reunion with his brother Ray near the front lines.  Raymond, who had already been in the service for six years, was a paratrooper and had been stationed about a 100 miles from Simon's position.  Soon after, Simon was once again in the thick of the fighting when his unit took part in the "Battle of Heartbreak Ridge," which lasted from September 13 to October 22, 1951. 

The Battles of Bloody Ridge and Heartbreak Ridge were the two bloodiest battles of the Korean War.  By the time he left the service, Simon had been awarded the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, and three Purple Hearts.  He also founded the Mexican-American Korean War Veterans of Ventura County and became a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion.  Simon Melendez, the proud Korean War veteran, died at the age of 71 on June 15, 2002, surrounded by a family that adored him.  Even to this day, Uncle Simon's memory remains strong with me and my family, in large part because he had a larger than life personality that endeared him to everyone.

Donald Ortega Melendez, who was born in 1936, entered the service in 1954 at the tail end of the Korean War.  Like his brother Raymond, he initially joined the paratroopers.  During his first stint overseas, Donald was assigned to the 9th Infantry Regiment of the 2nd Infantry division.  He did three separate hitches overseas and was on service during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.  Uncle Donald spent 25 years in the military and achieved the rank of First Sergeant before he retired in 1979.

Uncle Ray, also an airborne paratrooper, served all around the world at one time or another and achieved the rank of Command Sergeant Major by the time he retired in 1969.  Like Donald, Uncle Ray was a career military person and does not feel that he is at liberty to discuss his military service in great detail.  Uncle Simon - after his Korean War service - had been offered a promotion too, but he decided that he was ready for civilian life.

Ninth Generation:

Four members of our family's eighth generation served in the military, possibly even more that I do not know about.  But the military tradition has carried through to the present generations and the number of Ninth Generation family members who have served in the military is hard to tally.  Luciano Ortega's daughter, Geraldine, joined the military for a long period of time.  Donald's son Daniel Melendez followed in his father's step and served as a paratrooper from 1970 to 1982.  Uncle Simon had two sons who spent a number of years in the military:  Ricardo Melendez served in the air force and Roy enlisted in the U.S. Marines.

When he was twenty years old, my mother's brother, Eusebio Javier Melendez Basulto followed in our family's military tradition by enlisting in the U.S. Army.  He served in Military Intelligence with MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) Unit 406 ASA, where he achieved the rank of Specialist, Fourth Class.  Uncle Eusebio's military career lasted from 1973 to 1985, a total of 12 years, after which he became a chemist in the civilian world.

During the extended Vietnam Conflict (1963-1973), approximately 80,000 Hispanic Americans served in the American military. Although Hispanics made up only about 4.5% of the total U.S. population at that time, they incurred more than 19% of the casualties. In all, thirteen Hispanic soldiers received the Medal of Honor during this conflict.

Continuing this trend of service into the last decade of the Twentieth Century, twenty thousand Hispanic servicemen and women participated in Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm (1990-1991). Writing in Hispanic Heritage Month 1996: Hispanics - Challenging the Future, Army Chaplain (Captain) Carlos C. Huerta of the First Battalion, 79th Field Artillery stated that "Hispanics have always met the challenge of serving the nation with great fervor. In every war, in every battle, on every battlefield, Hispanics have put their lives on the line to protect freedom."

As Mexican-American citizens of California , my family has carried on a proud tradition of military service.  When our nation has been in need, my ancestors - from the earliest days in California - answered the call with a sense of pride and obligation.  This sense of duty is a deeply held tradition to all Mexican-Americans. 

Although I have inherited my dark eyes and thick dark hair from my Mexican ancestors, I am also German and Anglo-American through my father's side of the family.  For this reason, it is not readily evident to some people that I am Mexican-American.   As a result, I have - on occasion - heard friends and acquaintances express less than flattering opinions about Mexican immigrants or Mexican Americans.

Such comments and criticisms - although they were undoubtedly based on ignorance or fear - hurt me and were an affront to my family's pride and dignity.  I can only say - in response to such hurtful comments - that I hope those people are reading this article.  If I could speak to them today, I would tell them that my family - for two centuries - has been fighting for their freedom.  And when my Uncle Luciano Ortega and my Cousin Chello Ortega were killed in action during World War II, they were sacrificing their lives for the freedom of all Californians.

DEDICATION:  This work is dedicated to my ancestors who have defended California for two centuries:

1. José Matias Olivas - Soldier in the Service of Spain , 1781-1798

2. José Pablo Olivas - Soldier in the Service of Spain , 1804-1817

3. José Dolores Olivas - Soldier in the Service of Spain and Mexico

4. José Victoriano Olivas - Civil War Veteran  (1863-1865)

5. Joseph Luciano Ortega - World War II -

Killed in action, Philippine Islands , November 19, 1944

6. Chello Ortega - World War II -

Killed in action, Pacific Theater, June 1945

7. Raymond Ortega Melendez, Korean War Veteran and Career Soldier (1945-1969)

8. Donald Ortega Melendez, Korean War Veteran and Career Soldier (1954-1979)

9.  Simon Ortega Melendez, Korean War Veteran

10. Eusebio Basulto, Jr., Specialist, Fourth Class in Military Intelligence (1973-1985).

Special Acknowledgments:  We thank Eva Melendez Aubert, Dora Melendez Basulto, Eusebio Basulto, Donald Ortega Melendez, Sarah Basulto Evans, and the Simon Ortega Melendez family for their valuable contributions to this tribute.

Copyright  © 2009, by Jennifer Vo and John P. Schmal.  All rights under applicable law are hereby reserved. 


Interviews conducted by Jennifer Vo, Sarah Basulto Evans, and John Schmal.

Spanish and Mexican military research conducted by Robert Lopez and John Schmal.

California Archives, Provincial State Papers, 1767-1822 (Archives of California , Bancroft Library, U.C. Berkeley).

Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Manpower and Personnel Policy , U.S. Department of Defense. Hispanics in America 's Defense (Collingdale, Pennsylvania: Diane Publishing Co., 1997).

Robert S. Whitehead, Citadel on the Channel: The Royal Presidio of Santa Barbara :  Its Founding and Construction, 1782-1798 (Santa Barbara: Santa Barbara Trust for Historical Preservation, 1996).

War Department. The Adjutant Generals Office. Administrative Services Division. Strength Accounting Branch. World War II Honor List of Dead and Missing Army and Army Air Forces Personnel from California, 1946 - from Record Group 407: Records of the Adjutant General's Office, 1917- [AGO], 1905 - 1981

American Battle Monuments Commission. “National World War II Memorial”  Online: 2003.

Jennifer Vo and John P. Schmal, A Mexican-American Family of California : In the Service of Three Flags (Heritage Books, 2004).


American Southwest food in Istanbul, Turkey
Activist Reies López Tijerina earns ovation, 'Ohtli' award
The Wall, a film 
The Tears of Life, a play
Joaquin Murrieta, a Bandit, Emilano Zapata and Pancho Villa, Outlaws?
A Heritage of Education in Early Tempe

American Southwest Restaurants in
  Istanbul, Turkey

Cairo, Egypt

2008, photos taken by Connie Vasquez



Activist Reies López Tijerina earns ovation, 'Ohtli' award

By Ramón Rentería / El Paso Times
Posted: 06/27/2009 

Reies López Tijerina looks at the "Ohtli" award presented to him by Mexican Consul General Roberto Rodriguez Hernandez on Friday during a reception held in Tijerina's honor. (Ruben R. Ramirez / El Paso Times)

EL PASO -- Mexican government officials on Friday paid tribute to Reies López Tijerina, one of the most radical leaders of the Chicano movement that fought for greater rights for Mexican-Americans.

An estimated 100 scholars, Chicano activists, friends and South El Paso residents gave Tijerina a standing ovation when Mexican Consul General Roberto Rodríguez Hernández presented him with the prestigious "Ohtli" award for his lifetime commitment to human rights and civil rights for Hispanics in the United States, mostly in the 1960s.

Tijerina, 82 and in failing health, now lives in El Paso. He is perhaps best known across the U.S. for leading an armed raid at the Tierra Amarilla courthouse in northern New Mexico in the mid-1960s.

"I am intoxicated with gusto," Tijerina said upon receiving the award at La Fe Cultural & Technology Center in South El Paso amid the adoration of Chicano activists who said he continues to inspire them, Mexican-Americans and others to fight for their rights.

La Fe Clinic co-sponsored the tribute with the Mexican Consulate in El Paso.

"He's part of the leadership of the Chicano movement, somebody who has spent all his life in the struggle and continues to fight for his people and continues to make the demands that are necessary for us to finally become first-class citizens," said La Fe Clinic Executive Director Salvador Balcorta. "He has given a lot of himself."

Tijerina is often described as one of the great warriors of the Chicano

movement, along with César Chávez, the California farmworker organizer; Colorado Chicano activist Rodolfo "Corky" Gonzales; and La Raza Unida Party founder José Angel Gutiérrez in Texas.

Tijerina, a former Protestant minister, was the only major activist in the early Chicano movement who served time in prison. His influence is still felt.

"Without the efforts of Mr. Tijerina, we wouldn't be here," said John Estrada, president and chairman of La Fe Clinic's board of directors.

Estrada presented Tijerina a plaque on behalf of La Fe Clinic for "his lifetime commitment to human rights, social justice activism and to the Chicano civil rights movement."

"He deserves to be recognized for all the struggles that he went through, especially at the end of the '50s and the beginning of the '60s," an epoch that was even more racist than today, said Socorro Tabuenca, academic director for the Center of Inter-American and Border Studies at the University of Texas at El Paso.

Tijerina, accompanied by his wife, Esperanza, glowed as he also received kisses, pats on the back, abrazos and white carnations in the shadow of paintings depicting César Chávez and the revolutionary leader Che Guevara, two other Hispanic icons.

Ramón Rentería may be reached at; 546-6146.
Sent by Dorinda Moreno






Border Fence Documentary Comes To South Texas
Release by Director, Ricardo Martinez 

A controversial new film about the border fence is coming to South Texas. The Wall, a documentary about the construction of a fence along the US/Mexico border will play two dates in Texas, July 17th at McAllen's El Cine De Rey and July 18th at San Antonio's Guadalupe Theatre. The film, which takes place in Arizona, California, and Texas, took 3 years to complete.
Director Ricardo Martinez captures many perspectives impacted by the fence. The Wall follows several law enforcement officials, border town residents, and the Minutemen as they each faced the reality of having a 25 foot Wall being built in their backyard.  Border residents like Gloria Garza of Granjeno watch as the fence is erected and new problems start to arrive.
Ricardo and his crew even managed to follow and track several illegal immigrants in Mexico as they prepared to cross the border, and ultimately climb The Wall.  Using never before seen surveillance footage and night vision cameras, a mysterious and sometimes dangerous world emerges.   

On the other side of the spectrum, the film features many border town residents and local officals. Small towns like Arivaca, McAllen, Granjeno, and Brownsville all make appearances in the film.  Capturing a moment in time, the film tracks the No Border Wall Coalition's grassroots efforts to organize Rio Grande Valley residents against the fence.  Showing the power of community, watch as Valley residents protest and unite to change the fence plan. 

The filming was not always sunny and nice.  Ricardo's film crew often had to scale back equipment and camp out deep in the desert to catch traffickers, immigrants, Border Patrol, and vigilante groups on camera.  Vigilante groups like the Minutemen make a particularly unsettling appearance in The Wall as Martinez captured a few of them making some 'controversial' statements about the US and Hispanics.
At one point, the film crew traveled to Altar, Mexico to interview immigrants preparing to cross the border illegally.  Made up of 'huespedes' or safehouses, the town was essentially run by the Carteles in the area, which didn't reassure the film crew of their safety. 

"Thinking back, that probably was against my better judgment, but I felt like it made a helluva story on camera," says Ricardo grinning.  "The local priest and church basically told us as long as we stuck with him, we'd be fine.  We did and in the end, it was actually kind of a nice town." 

The film plays on Friday, July 17th at 8:00 PM at El Cine De Rey in McAllen and Saturday July 18th at 8:00pm at the Guadalupe Theatre in San Antonio.  Tickets are $5. Q&A and reception follow.  Screening Details and information can be found at or 
For any questions regarding this press release, to review the film for your publication, or to contact the filmmaker email To watch clips of the film visit,,, or friend our Facebook page! 

Official Synopsis
   In 2006, Congress passed The Secure Fence Act calling for the construction of over 700 miles of fence along the US/Mexico border.  Fueled by the War on Drugs and the debate on Immigration Reform, politicians jumped at the chance to "secure our borders". They were not prepared for what followed.
    Filmed over two years, The Wall, a feature documentary, chronicles the impact of constructing a border fence along the Southwest. From policy makers to citizens of border towns in Texas, Arizona, and California, the debate elevates as residents respond to having a fence built in their backyard.
    Gloria Garza sat on her porch, in Granjeno, Texas.  She was enjoying her stretch of land by the Rio Grande River, when a man from the Department of Homeland Security arrived with a piece of paper. He asked her to sign a letter granting permission to build a 25 foot wall on her property. She thought it was a joke.
    In Nogales, Arizona, Sheriff Tony Estrada, completed his routine check of the border wall.  Since the border fence had been built, violence and immigrant deaths are steadily rising.  This is not a policy he could believe in, but few were listening.
    Determined to stop immigrant crossing, the Minutemen had taken matters into their own hands. They patrolled the area intercepting immigrants and notifying border patrol. Armed with ammunition and an ideology, they openly advocated more fencing to help their objectives.
    At the epicenter of this controversy, Wilfredo and Adan are undocumented immigrants with a lot at stake. Wilfredo is trying to get across the border and will have to pass several layers of fencing and security.  Adan waits for his father who must make the same dangerous trip he himself took several years earlier.  How will their lives be changed by The Wall?

    Director, Ricardo Martinez brings The Wall to life; intertwining rare surveillance footage and controversial interviews. He and his crew often risked their own safety while filming.
    At the forefront of the debate, the film includes commentary by The Texas Border Coalition, The Southwest Border Sheriff's Coalition, No Border Wall Coalition, the Minutemen, Border Patrol officers, congressional hearings, and more.
Sent by Walter Herbeck



“The Tears of Lives”

A new play by James E. Garcia
directed by Luis Avila

A world premiere production



 This show is appropriate for general audiences.
When: Aug. 14-16, 2009 (Evening performances at 7:30. 
Matinees on Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m.)  

Where: Playhouse on the Park, 1150 N. Central Ave.
(In the Viad Bldg. at Palm and Central Ave. ) Free parking.  

Information at 602-460-1374 or by emailing  

This show is produced by New Carpa Theater Co. ( as a special fund-raiser for the Macehualli Capital Campaign organized by  the Tonatierra Community Development Institute to preserve and develop the Macehualli Community Campus Facility in Phoenix  

Tickets $20 general admission and $10 for students. (You also may donate as much as you wish.) To buy tickets for these performances or to contribute to the Macehualli Capital Campaign, visit  

THE PLAY: Regino Ortega, an undocumented immigrant, has been living in the United States for 21 years when he’s arrested by ICE agents and Maricopa County Sheriff’s Deputies. His three young children are left behind and forced to fend for themselves. “The Tears of Lives” is a drama torn from today’s headlines that recounts the tragedy of  families ripped apart as a consequence of the nation’s latest, wide-scale crackdown on immigrants.


Joaquin Murrieta, a Bandit, Emilano Zapata and Pancho Villa, Outlaws?

Regarding the SD Union’s editorial (March 31, 2009) “Mexico’s Deadly Homage.” 

San Diego Union: Letters to The Editor, 
March 30, 2009

The editorial states, “Mexico has had a long fascination with the rogue, the rebel, the outlaw, and when the United States conquered half of Mexico in the name of Manifest Destiny, Mexicans put their hopes for revenge in scofflaws such as Joaquin Murrieta, a California bandit,” and, “ about 60 years later, during the Mexican Revolution, people rallied around a pair of outlaw insurgents: Emilano Zapata and Pancho Villa.” Your statements in your editorial slant history, and the only accurate historical fact quoted is, “the United States conquered half of Mexico in the name of Manifest Destiny.”
Your editorial’s assertion that national historical heroes: Murrieta, Zapata and Villa were scofflaws, bandits, and outlaws is a slap in the face to their historical roles and contributions. To further accuse Murrieta, Zapata and Villa of being on the same level as drug traffickers, and part of criminal pop culture crosses the line, is an affront to the national honor, and insults the intelligences of persons of Mexican ancestry on both side of the U.S./Mexico border.
In my opinion, the SD Union’s total lack of understanding and ignorance of Mexican history appears to be as “deadly” as the drug war that you editorialized about. After reading said editorial, and witnessing (for four decades) the SD Union’s lack of coverage of issues affecting the Chicano community, I fully understand why there was rejoicing in the Chicano community when the SD Union announced it had been sold!
Herman Baca, President 
Committee on Chicano Rights
710 East Third Street ·
National City, CA 91950 ·
(619) 477-3800

Cc. Community organizations, news media
Sent by Dorinda Moreno



By Christine Marin, Ph.D
Manuela Sotelo and Her Daughter, Maria: 
A Heritage of Education in Early Tempe

Manuela Sanchez Sotelo

Bilingual Community Expression
Published by the Hispanic Institute of Social Issues
Photographs courtesy of University Archives Collection. Department of
Archives and Special Collections. Hayden Library. ASU Tempe.

Maria Sotelo Miller is the daughter of Tiburcio and Manuela Sanchez Sotelo. Maria’s grandfather, Ignacio Sotelo, a Lieutenant in the Mexican government, served as the Commander of the Presidio of San Ignacio de Tubac from 1813 to 1814. In 1820, the Mexican government assigned him the responsibility of over-seeing the Tumacacori Mission in southern Arizona.

Tiburcio Sotelo came to Tempe in 1870 with his sons, José and Feliciano and his brother, Pedro. They helped the Mexican farmers who lived in the South Mountain area along the Salt River beneath
present-day 24th and 40th streets build the “Mexican Ditch”, also known as the San Francisco Canal. The Mexican Ditch brought life-saving water to their farmlands. The head of the canal was
located near what is now downtown Tempe;  and the channel extended three and one-quarter miles in a southwesterly direction toward the northern foothills of South Mountain.

The industrious nature and strong work-ethic of the Sotelo men caught the attention of Winchester Miller, a Confederate soldier from Ohio who came to Tempe via California in 1869. Miller was the first zanjero (water master) for the Hardy Irrigation Canal, later called the Tempe Canal Company when it became part of the Salt River Valley Water Users’ Association canal network. In 1871, Miller hired Tiburcio, his sons and his brother to work for him as irrigation workers. Their steady work and pay enabled Tiburcio and his sons to settle on 160 acres of land in Tempe, which was platted in 1890 by Tiburcio’s wife, Manuela, and called the Sotelo Addition. Manuela and her children forged a living as enterprising farmers within a wilderness ready for improvement by Mexican families like the Sotelos. They grew herbs, beans, squash, and corn and sold or traded their crops with other farmers.

Maria Sotelo was now a lovely, well-mannered and intelligent nineteen year-old in 1872, educated in a private school administered by the Catholic Church in Pitiquito, Sonora, Mexico. Winchester Miller, a widower twice Maria’s age with teen-age children of his own, became captivated by Maria’s youthfulness and beauty and after a five-month courtship approved by Maria’s father, Miller made Maria his bride in Tucson on January 8, 1873. Unfortunately, an ailing Tiburcio died in Florence some time before the wedding and did not see his daughter marry Miller.

Miller took young Maria to his sparse home in the settlement of Lehi, the home provided to him by the Tempe Canal, when Miller served as its Superindendent. The one-room house, fortified only by a door, bore no windows; instead, portholes served as protection against the Apache and Pima Indians nearby. The Millers soon moved to Tempe, where their first child, Anna Manuela Sotelo Miller was born in October, 1873. It is  believed that Anna is the first Anglo-Mexican child born in Tempe, a frontier example of the results of a mixed-culture marriage so characteristic of what brought prosperity and development to Tempe and what made the community unique in its own heritage of cultural diversity.

Maria Sotelo Miller raised eleven (11) children. Records show that six of her children attended the Arizona Territorial Normal School in the period from 1896 to 1906. Her daughters, Anna Manuela Sotelo Miller and Clara Maria Sotelo Miller graduated from the Arizona Territorial Normal School, each with two-year teaching diplomas, becoming the first Mexican American Arizona State University alumni members. Anna taught school in Flagstaff for three years and Clara taught in Tempe and Buckeye. It is important to note that their mother, Maria Sotelo Miller, regarded education as a civic and parental responsibility. Thus, it is likely that all of Maria’s eleven (11) children attended the Arizona Territorial Normal School. Maria’s children, all born in
Tempe, are:

   1. Anna Manuela Miller, born in 1873
   2. Clara Maria Miller, born in 1874
   3. Albert James Miller, born in 1878
   4. Samuel B. Miller, born in 1880
   5. Andrew J. Miller, born in 1880
   6. Sarah “Sally” Miller, born in 1884
   7. Benjamin Miller, born in 1886
   8. Rosa Miller, born in 1890
   9. Louis Winchester Miller, born 1891
  10. Lydia L. Miller, born in 1894
  11. Laura Miller…birth date unknown

In Tempe, Winchester and Anna Sotelo Miller owned a quarter section of land adjacent to and north of the Sotelo Addition. Manuela Sotelo allowed them to join her ranch on the Sotelo Addition and the Miller ranch in order to preserve Manuela’s water rights, as the two homesteads were separated by a canal.  The Sotelo Addition, located east of Rural Road and south of the Phoenix, Tempe, and Mesa Railway, was later subdivided  when Manuela Sotelo began sharing her property with her children and their spouses and selling parcels of land to other Mexican families coming from Hermosillo, Mexico to Tempe for homesteading purposes. For example, she sold a lot 143 feet by 25 feet to Jesus Arros for $75.00.  Manuela Sotelo also held two of fifty shares (valued at $200 each) issued to the original founders of the Irrigating Canal Company, shares given to her by her husband, Tiburcio. Manuela’s entreprenurial skills and sharp business acumen, linked with her financial resourcefulness and knowledge, served her well: with her daughter, Maria Sotelo Miller, she was able to maintain a solid business ethic among Tempeans and she helped to strengthen a Mexican and Anglo-American business and social relationship in Tempe that began in 1873 and continues today.

The unions of Tempe’s prominent Anglo-American men with Mexican women (Winchester Miller and Maria Sotelo; James T. Priest and Mariana Gonzalez; Dr. Walter Wilson Jones and Alcaria Montaño; Dwight “Red” Harkins and Alica Peralta; Frederick Dick and Rosa Pauline Jaime) offer examples of mixed-cultural companionships. The results of these marriages provided the cultural and educational underpinnings for the growing community of Tempe, as evident in Maria Sotelo Miller’s story. It is important that the names of Manuela Sotelo and Maria Sotelo Miller and their contributions to the history and development of Tempe, and to Arizona, since the 1870s, be recognized and acknowledged. 

Books: Hispanic Historic Property Survey. Final Report. (Phoenix: City of Phoenix, Historic Preservation Office, 2006), p. 18.

Officer, James E. Hispanic Arizona, 1536-1856. (Tucson, Ariz.: University of Arizona Press, 1987).

Schroeder, K.J. An Historic Sketch of the Sotelo-Heard Cemetery in South Phoenix, Arizona. Roadrunner Publications in Anthropology Series, No. 6. (Phoenix: Pioneers’ Cemetery Association,
1995), pp. 13; 60-64; 67.

Dissertations/Theses: Muñoz, Laura K. Desert Dreams: Mexican American Education in Arizona, 1870-1930.  Ph.D. dissertation. History. Arizona State University, Tempe, Ariz., 2006, pp. 144; 199-201; 222.

Solliday, Scott W. The Journey to Rio Salado: Hispanic Migration to Tempe, Arizona. Masters thesis. History. Arizona State University, Tempe, Ariz., 1993.

Government Documents:
Arizona State Board of Health. Bureau of Vital Statistics. Certificate of Death. State File #242.

Maricopa County Recorder. Subdivision Plat of Sotelo Addition of Tempe, Book 1 of Maps, Page 64, filed August 23, 1890.  On file at the Office of the Maricopa County Records, Phoenix, Arizona.

Journal/Newsletter Articles:
Christine Lewis.  “The Early History of the Tempe Canal Company.” Arizona and the West. Vol. 7, No. 3, Autumn, 1965, pp. 229-230; 232

Mark Estes. “Anatomy of Early Arizona Marriages: Companionship, Status and Money.” Pulse. Vol. 27, No. 26, June 24, 1993 (Tempe: Salt River Project, 1993).

Newspaper Articles: 
“Changes During 60 Years Seen By Mrs. Miller.” Arizona Republican. (Phoenix), April 18, 1925.

“Manuela Sotelo Sold Lot.” Phoenix Daily Herald.  December 10, 1889.

Unpublished Manuscripts:
Kupel, Douglas E. “Tempe’s First Families: Soza, Sotelo and Elias.” Paper Presented to the Arizona Historical Convention, April 23, 1993.

Robinson, Dorothy. “A History of Early Tempe.” (no date). Arizona Collection. Department of Archives and Special Collections. Hayden Library. Arizona State University, Tempe.

“Maria Sotelo Miller: the Life of an Arizona Pioneer.” (no date). Arizona Collection. Department of Archives and Special Collections. Hayden Library. Arizona State University, Tempe.

Contact the Author Copyright © 2009 by Christine Marin
Hispanic Institute of Social Issues © 2006-2009

Hispanic Historic Property Survey. Final Report. (Phoenix: City of Phoenix, Historic Preservation Office, 2006), p. 18.

Officer, James E. Hispanic Arizona, 1536-1856. (Tucson, Ariz.: University of Arizona Press, 1987).

Schroeder, K.J. An Historic Sketch of the Sotelo-Heard Cemetery in South Phoenix, Arizona. Roadrunner Publications in
Anthropology Series, No. 6. (Phoenix: Pioneers' Cemetery Association, 1995), pp. 13; 60-64; 67.

Muñoz, Laura K. Desert Dreams: Mexican American Education in Arizona, 1870-1930. Ph.D. dissertation. History. Arizona
State University, Tempe, Ariz., 2006, pp. 144; 199-201; 222.

Solliday, Scott W. The Journey to Rio Salado: Hispanic Migration to Tempe, Arizona. Masters thesis. History. Arizona State
University, Tempe, Ariz., 1993.

Government Documents:
Arizona State Board of Health. Bureau of Vital Statistics. Certificate of Death. State File #242.

Maricopa County Recorder. Subdivision Plat of Sotelo Addition of Tempe, Book 1 of Maps, Page 64, filed August 23, 1890.
On file at the Office of the Maricopa County Records, Phoenix, Arizona.

Journal/Newsletter Articles:
Christine Lewis. "The Early History of the Tempe Canal Company." Arizona and the West. Vol. 7, No. 3, Autumn, 1965,
pp. 229-230; 232

Mark Estes. "Anatomy of Early Arizona Marriages: Companionship, Status and Money." Pulse. Vol. 27, No. 26, June 24,
1993 (Tempe: Salt River Project, 1993).

Newspaper Articles:
"Changes During 60 Years Seen By Mrs. Miller." Arizona Republican. (Phoenix), April 18, 1925.

"Manuela Sotelo Sold Lot." Phoenix Daily Herald. December 10, 1889. 

Unpublished Manuscripts:
Kupel, Douglas E. "Tempe's First Families: Soza, Sotelo and Elias." Paper Presented to the Arizona Historical Convention,
April 23, 1993.

Robinson, Dorothy. "A History of Early Tempe." (no date). Arizona Collection. Department of Archives and Special
Collections. Hayden Library. Arizona State University, Tempe.

"Maria Sotelo Miller: the Life of an Arizona Pioneer." (no date). Arizona Collection. Department of Archives and Special
Collections. Hayden Library. Arizona State University, Tempe.

Dorinda Moreno

Group expects to open Latino cultural center downtown Phoenix by the year’s end

PHOENIX – The Phoenix City Council this week unanimously voted in favor of a lease agreement with Advocates for Latin@ Arts and Culture Consortium (ALAC), which plans to open a first-of-its-kind Latino cultural center downtown.

The ALAC arts and cultural facility, which has yet to be named, will be housed in a city-owned building at 147 E. Adams Street between First and Second Streets, south of the downtown Hyatt Regency and west of the Phoenix Convention Center.

Torres noted that after a formal lease is signed, ALAC plans to launch the first phase of its multi-phased plan to renovate and equip the space in time so it can open for business before the end of the year. The cultural center, Torres added, will eventually present art exhibits and performances, classes, workshops, seminars, and educational programming year round. 

According to city regulations, ALAC representatives cannot receive the keys to the facility until 30 days after the lease is signed. ALAC then has between 90 and 120 days to make “tenant improvements” and other modifications to the property, all of which must be approved by Phoenix inspectors and other city officials.

“I’m very excited that ALAC received the lease,” said Phoenix Deputy City Manager Ruth Osuna, “and I’m grateful for the City Council’s support, but now the real work begins in terms of growing the center and making sure it’s a success.”

Phoenix City Council Member Michael Nowakowski, a major supporter of ALAC’s 3-year effort to open a cultural center, said, “This center will be a shining example of the rich diversity of arts that the Hispanic community has long contributed to Arizona. It will be a reminder that Latino culture and Arizona culture have been one in the same since the earliest days of what we now know as Arizona.”

For more information, contact ErLinda Torres, ALAC Board President, 602-793-1293; James E. Garcia, Creative Vistas Media, 602-460-1374


Diáspora Negra - The African Legacy in Latin America
Watts, One God, Two Cultures By Ari B. Bloomekatz

La Peña Cultural Center presents
Diáspora Negra - The African Legacy in Latin America


"Diáspora Negra" is a cultural and historical program that takes place over two days, Friday, Aug. 14 and Saturday, Aug. 15. It tells the passionate tale of African song and dance in Latin America.

According to project coordinator Gabriela Shiroma, "Diaspora Negra" will have the representation of eight countries from Latin American and the Caribbean. "It was conceived to integrate, unify, and educate the local Latin American community and general public about our cultural identity. The program emphasizes the importance of the African legacy in Latin America and how similar and how unique are the cultural expressions that unite us and that make us brothers and sisters," says Shiroma.

The free pre-concert symposiums are conducted by folklorists, dancers, and noted artists with extensive knowledge of the traditional stories, music, and customs of their particular culture or community and its African influences. 

The symposiums will be followed by evening performances that will demonstrate the music and dances from Latin America and the Caribbean. This program has been made possible in part by a grant from ACTA.

The performances are preceded by a free symposium lead by master musicians and dancers from 6:45 to 7:45pm; Performances begin at 8:30pm and are $18 adv., $20 door. 

Friday's show: Jorge Alabe, Afro-Brazilian music & dance; De Rompe y Raja, Afro-Peruvian music & dance; Hanajpacha, Afro-Bolivian music, Cantuta, Afro-Bolivian dance; Son Tambor, Afro-Colombian dance; Antioquia, Afro-Colombian and West African rhythms and music.

Saturday's show: De Rompe y Raja, Afro-Peruvian music & dance; Ensemble Ballet Folklórico Mejicano, Afro-Mexican dances; La Mixta Criolla and Aguacero, Afro-Puerto Rican music & dance; Sandy Perez y Su Lade, Afro-Cuban music.

For more information on August African Diaspora >
Fernando Torres 510-849-2568 ext. 15 or Gabriella Shiroma at 510.712.5516
La Peña Cultural Center, 3105 Shattuck Ave. Berkeley, Ca. 94795 


In Watts, One God, Two Cultures
By Ari B. Bloomekatz
Los Angeles Times, June 12, 2009


LOS ANGELES, CA — To those who know it only by reputation, the Nickerson Gardens
housing project in Watts is a forbidding place, plagued by violence and poverty and ruled by
African American gangs.

So naturally, Father Peter Banks brought 200 Latino parishioners there in December for a
posada, a Christmas ritual that re-creates Joseph and Mary’s search for a place for Jesus to be born.

Banks, pastor of St. Lawrence of Brindisi Church on Compton Avenue, thought the visit could
help burst preconceptions and break down prejudices. His Latino congregants might be surprised to learn that violent crime was down at Nickerson, that gangs were not as pervasive as they once were and that, contrary to stereotype, a majority of the residents are Latinos.

If African American residents turned out in decent numbers, the service would be another small
step toward mutual understanding.

The Latino visitors walked briskly through a parking lot and into Nickerson’s gym, some casting
nervous glances over their shoulders. Inside, mariachis in black outfits and gold ties tuned their
violins. A small group of black community leaders helped prepare champurrado and chicken

“The big struggle is the black and the brown. How do we get them together,” Banks said before
changing into white robes and leading a prayer service in Spanish. “We can bring them together
with music and food.”

The posada drew several hundred people, but they were almost all Latinos, not the integrated
crowd Banks had hoped for. Still, he considered the event a small victory. “This is major, getting
some of our parishioners to come to Nickerson, because they don’t go,” he said. “They won’t
come here. They’re afraid.”

Banks, 63, a Catholic priest from a tiny Irish village, has become an unlikely force for racial
understanding in Watts. Over more than three decades, he has watched as the community
changed from predominantly black to predominantly Latino. He’s seen racial tensions lead to
segregation within his own congregation.

His efforts to bridge the divide have been marked by humility, patience and modest expectations.
He believes the key to reconciliation is not grand projects but a multitude of small gestures.
During meals at St. Lawrence, he will ask blacks to serve Latinos and vice versa. Without
fanfare, he lends support and cash to people working to curb violence and promote
understanding in the neighborhood.

When he realized that African Americans and Latinos shared a passion for gospel music, he
made gospel standards a centerpiece of Sunday services.

“He’s able to walk between the raindrops,” said Oscar Neal, 72, owner of Jordan’s Cafe on
Wilmington Avenue, a neighborhood gathering place.

In a typical gesture, Banks recently enlisted Michael Wainwright, an African American
parishioner, to help recruit black students to St. Lawrence’s elementary school. Then he asked
Wainwright, who runs a job services program in Watts, to speak with Latino teenagers about
how to find work.

“He’s so concerned about the community. Not only Catholics, but Protestants also. Not only
blacks, but Latinos, Asians and everybody,” Wainwright said. “He walks in the developments,
all through them: Jordan, Nickerson, Imperial, Gonzac, and he talks to the Spanish people about
the importance of getting everyone together. He’s very unifying.”

Banks’ vision is embodied in a mural he commissioned that covers a wall behind the church. It
shows scenes from Latino and black civil rights struggles and a diverse group of children
surrounding the Virgin of Guadalupe and holding the flags of many nations.

In reality, many of Banks’ efforts to bring blacks and Latinos together have ended like the
posada at Nickerson Gardens, with less interaction than he would have liked.

“It’s a constant struggle,” Banks said. “I think it’s a misunderstanding and lack of knowledge of
each other. The food is different, but when you scratch the surface, we all have the same heart,
only one pair of lungs, one liver and a couple of kidneys.”

Banks grew up in Collooney, Ireland, a village of 1,100 people. “I’m one of a family of 13,” he
said. “I know what it is to be poor. We had no television, no running water, no electricity for
many years.”

As a seminarian, Banks dreamed of serving in Zambia, but the church had other plans. “You’re
going to the United States,” a superior informed him one day in 1973. Most of what Banks knew
about Los Angeles came from watching television in the common room of St. Bonaventure

Dean Martin. Frank Sinatra. Marilyn Monroe. “I had only one image of Los Angeles. It was white, it was wealthy and it was by the beach,” he said. “There was Hollywood and Disneyland. ... The TV did not show Watts.” He was 27 and had never met an African American. “I didn’t even know Watts was black,” he said.

After his plane touched down in Los Angeles, he climbed into the biggest car he had ever ridden
in, a Chevrolet. When he reached South Vermont Avenue and Century Boulevard, he thought to
himself: “This is a totally different world.”

St. Lawrence — a Spanish-style church near Compton Avenue and 103rd Street, was surrounded
by empty lots — a legacy of the 1965 Watts riots. “A barren desert,” Banks recalled. “I thought,
‘How can the church be in a city without houses around it?’ “

Banks, then an associate pastor, said he felt lonely and odd standing in front of black
parishioners whose history and culture he knew little about. So he observed carefully, asked
questions and gradually educated himself.

He got his first taste of gospel music at black funerals. A parishioner named Odessa Gilbert
introduced him to Southern cooking, including chitterlings — cooked pig intestines. “I put
pepper on it, I put salsa on it, I put everything on it so I could lose the taste of it,” Banks
remembered, laughing.

He began learning about life in the neighborhood’s four public housing projects when another
congregant, Alceda Coleman, allowed him to teach Bible class at her home in Nickerson

He gained insight into race relations when he took black women from his choir out for a meal in
Redondo Beach or Cerritos and heard them complain about being stared at. All the while, a demographic shift was occurring that would fundamentally change the neighborhood and church. Latinos — mostly immigrants from Mexico — were pouring in, and several families came to St. Lawrence, looking for a place to pray.

“I felt I would prefer for it to stay all black. It’s much easier to work with one culture,” he said.
“But the reality was they were coming. I feared the unknown. I didn’t want to learn a new
language. But I thought I can’t just let all these people be here and not do anything.”

St. Lawrence held its first Mass in Spanish for about 50 people in 1979, and there were tensions
immediately — and not just between blacks and Latinos. Some older Latino parishioners
harbored resentment toward the new arrivals.

“They called it ‘wetback’ Mass,” Banks said. “I think there was a jealousy there.”
The church held its first quinceañera the same year, and Banks went to a mission in Bolivia for
three months to learn Spanish.

He left St. Lawrence in the mid-1980s to work at San Lorenzo Seminary in Santa Ynez, CA, and
when he returned a decade later, Latino immigration had transformed the Watts parish, which
has grown from 700 families in the mid-1970s to 3,000 today. More than 90% of the
congregation is Latino.

Banks’ position in the church changed, too. He would have to walk between the raindrops.
“I didn’t want the blacks to feel that now I was going to abandon them and go over to the
Latinos. So I always had to try to say I’m for all. A child is a child, a hungry person is a hungry
person,” he said.

It’s 6 a.m. and the sun is rising above the spire of St. Lawrence as Latino families dressed in
jeans and collared shirts fill the pews for Sunday Mass.

Banks steps to the pulpit and begins the service in an Irish-tinted Spanish. “El Señor esta con
ustedes.” (“The Lord is with you.”)

“Y con tu espiritu,” (“And with your spirit”), the congregation replies. A Latino choir sings “El Amor de Dios es Maravilloso” (“The Love of God Is Marvelous”) and “Señor Ten Piedad de Nosotros” (“Lord Have Mercy on Us”). An hour and a half later, Banks is back at the pulpit for the 7:30 a.m. Mass. The audience is much smaller and mostly black, and he switches to English.
“Brothers and sisters, we’re here to give thanks to God for the gift of another day,” Banks says.
A black woman sings gospel standards, accompanied by a pianist. 

At 9 a.m. there is another overflow crowd of Latinos. The pastor is used to this Sunday morning segregation. But he is quick to tell a visitor to wait for the 11 a.m. service. This is where his community is united, if only for an hour or two.

Sure enough, at 11 the pews are packed with a mix of blacks and Latinos. Banks speaks English
and listens with a smile as the choir sings. The singer from the 7:30 service has been joined by a
saxophone, bass guitar, drums and an expanded choir that belts out gospel standards like
“Blessed Assurance.”

It took Banks years to foster the integrated 11 a.m. service, which, like the congregation as a
whole, was becoming increasingly Latino. To keep blacks coming, Banks hired a top-rate choir
leader and recruited musicians from across the city — including Eric Garcia, a Jewish guitarist
from North Hollywood.

“What you used to have is a black community, but now it’s shifted and there’s mostly a Latino
congregation, with a black choir and an Irish priest, and it was a very odd thing to me,” said
Garcia, 55.

“But one of the things that sort of intrigued me about Peter was this sort of incredible level of
honesty. ... Maybe being a poor kid from Ireland really suited him for being in the depths of

But in the church, as in the surrounding neighborhoods, the integrated service is more the
exception than the rule. “I think there’s a fair way to go, we have to admit it,” Banks said. “I get
disappointed and then I say, ‘What can I do about it?’ “

Banks recently announced that he would step down as pastor later this year to accept an
appointment as a recruiter for the Capuchin Friars in Solvang, CA. His replacement, Father Jesus
Vela, will be the second Latino leader of St. Lawrence.

Banks plans to return regularly to help Vela and continue his work at the church and school. He
recalled his arrival in Los Angeles 36 years earlier and said that being dropped off in Watts was
one of the best things that ever happened to him.

“I’ve grown old here. ... My guts and my soul are tied to this area,” he said.
“There’s still bridges to be built.”
HCM/lLatino News Clips  6.12.09

ESTRADA COMMUNICATIONS GROUP, INC. 13729 Research Blvd • Suite 610-219 • Austin, TX • 78750 • T (512) 335-7776 • F (512) 335-2226



Raquel Welch lauds Native American culture
Eagle & Condor: Powwow and Aztec Dance & Dialogue
Judge restores tribal recognition 
Cherokee Removal Forts
Raquel Welch lauds Native American culture By Victor Morales, 
Today correspondent,
Jun 19, 2009



Sent by Dorinda Moreno


Eagle & Condor: Powwow and Aztec Dance & Dialogue

What:      Eagle & Condor: Powwow and Aztec Dance & Dialogue
When:     Saturday August 15, 2009, 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Where:    San Marcos Activity Center, 501 E. Hopkins, San Marcos, TX
Cost:        Free to the public
Contact:      Dr. Mario Garza, (512) 393-3310,
Indigenous Cultures Institute joins the City of San Marcos Arts Commission and Parks and Recreation Department in presenting "Eagle & Condor: Powwow and Aztec Dance & Dialogue," at the San Marcos Activity Center, 501 E. Hopkins, from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM on August 15, 2009.
This event focuses on the ancient prophecy of the Eagle and the Condor, which is present in many Native American traditions.  It speaks to the reuniting of two distinctly different cultures, ways of seeing and being, that ultimately brings the world into balance and harmony.   In honor of this prophecy, the event presents the dance traditions of two distinctly different cultures: the Eagle of the North, represented by the Eagle Point, northern powwow drum and dancers, and the Condor of the South, represented by the Aztec dance group Cuicani In Xochitl.
In an afternoon of dance and dialogue, Eagle Point will perform first, highlighting powwow dancing, with explanations preceding each of six dances - men's traditional, men's fancy, men's straight, women's fancy-shall, women's jingle, and women's buckskin.   Next Cuicani In Xochitl will present a multi-discipline performance combining poetry, dance, song, and a dynamic slide-show demonstrating the secrets of the Aztec dance tradition.
After both presentations, a panel discussion with members from both groups will interact with the audience and talk about the two traditions.  At the conclusion of the panel discussion, the public is invited to a reception so that they can sample Native American foods while talking informally and taking photos with all the dancers.
"Eagle and Condor" is an exciting afternoon of indigenous culture, in preparation for a thrilling new, two-day powwow that is coming to San Marcos in August 2010:
The Sacred Springs Powwow: Reuniting the Eagle and the Condor.
For more information, visit or call (512) 393-3310.
Sent by



Judge restores tribal recognition



sacramento: A small band of Indians whose ancestors settled in the Sacramento region thousands of years ago is an official tribe again, a half century after Wash­ington took away the group's federal recognition.

U.S. District Court Judge Jeremy Fogel on Monday announced his approval of a settlement that restores federal recognition to the Wilton Rancheria, one of 41 California tribes that lost official status with federal legislation passed in 1958.

"This has been a long, drawn-out journey, but an­other one begins," said Ma­ry Tarango, co-chair of the Wilton Miwok Indian Com­munity, one of two groups of Native Americans that filed lawsuits in 2007 seeking to restore federal recognition.

The settlement clears the way for Tarango's group and one headed by Henry Sangmaster; the MeWuk Indian Community of Wilton Rancheria, to form a tribal government and write 
a constitution.





Cherokee Removal Forts
by Randy Golden
exclusively for About North Georgia 


The Trail of Tears is a tragic tale of force winning over decency, and power winning over justice. While the focus today remains on the route traveled and the journey itself, for eight years prior to the event Cherokee were confronted with their future on a daily basis. Illegal stockades were built on Cherokee land, intended to house Cherokee people long before their forced journey on "The Trail of Tears." 

Removal Forts in Georgia

As settlers moved into the area these forts were built for the express purpose of housing the Cherokee before their removal. Sources list the following forts (Counties are listed based on present political boundaries):    
Pickens County Fort Newnan (Talking Rock Fort)
Cherokee County
Fort Buffington (East of Canton) Fort Sixes (Camp Hinar Sixes)
Forsyth County
Fort Campbell Fort Scudders (Fort Eaton, Frogtown)
Lumpkin County
Fort Dahlonega (or Fort Embry)
Towns County
Fort Chastain
Walker County
Fort Cumming (LaFayette)
Murray County
Fort Hoskins Camp (Fort) Gilmer
Gilmer County
Fort Hetzel (East Ellijay)
Gordon County
Fort New Echota (Fort Wool)
Floyd County
Fort Rome
Polk County
Fort Cedartown
Bartow County
Fort Means (Kingston)


One hundred yards east is the site of Fort Gilmer, built in 1838 to garrison U.S. troops ordered to enforce the removal from this region of the last Cherokee Indians under terms of the New Echota treaty of 1835.   One of seven[sic] such forts erected in the Cherokee territory, Gilmer was the temporary headquarters of Gen. Winfield Scott, under whose command the removal was effected. The reluctant Indians were brought here and guarded until the westward march began 

Aong the other Cherokee Removal Forts were Fort Red Clay, Fort Cass (about four miles south of present-day Charleston), Fort Marr in Old Fort, all in Tennessee and Fort Butler in Murphy, North Carolina. 

Cherokee Forts are built :

Earliest of the forts in Georgia, known as Camp Hinar Sixes, was built in September, 1830, shortly after the Congress passed the Indian Removal Act of 1830. This camp was used to house members of the infamous Georgia Guard who took it upon themselves to brutalize the Cherokee even though at this time the settlers were illegal immigrants. In one instance in 1830, during the construction of the camp the Guard, without provocation, destroyed equipment that Cherokee miners were using to extract gold. The Georgia Guard did not officially exist until December of that year. 

After Cherokee Nation vs. Georgia, in which the Supreme Court refused to hear a case about Georgia extending its laws on the Cherokee, construction on the forts sped up. A year later the settlers were stunned when the Court ruled that Georgia could not extend its laws on a sovereign nation such as the Cherokee, but were again heartened by Andy Jackson's rumored statement (he probably never said it), "Well, John Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it." 

Georgia Settlers and Removal 

Settlers were greatly divided on the issue of removal. Families that had lived in the Nation before the Georgia Gold Rush tended to be more supportive of the Cherokee. One reason for the strong bond was the acceptance of them by the tribe. White settlers were easily accepted into Cherokee society. The reverse was not true. In general, Georgians viewed the Cherokee as somewhat higher on the social level than slaves, but not much. Another reason that settlers were greatly divided was the support Cherokee had given struggling early settlers in their time of need. 

Some settlers would taunt the Cherokee, telling them the forts were to be their new home. With great concern, Principal Chief John Ross and Whitepath, among others, journeyed to Washington to meet with Jackson. Jackson hypocritically told them "You shall remain in your ancient land as long as grass grows and water runs." In early 1835, before the Treaty of New Echota, work began on road improvements to move the Cherokee to the starting point for their removal. 

Military Operations begin 

After Major Ridge and other members of the Treaty Party sign the Treaty of New Echota, The Principal People hoped their leaders would get it modified so they might stay on their ancestral land. Even while a Cherokee delegation was in Washington Governor George Gilmer of Georgia and Secretary of War Joel Poinsett were plotting the invasion. 

Local operations began on May 18, 1838, mostly carried out by Georgia Guard under the command of Colonel William Lindsey. The first Cherokee round-up under orders from United States General Winfield Scott started on May 25, 1838 with General Charles Floyd in charge of field operations. 

General Scott was shocked during a trip to inspect Fort New Echota when he overheard members of The Guard say that they would not be happy until all Cherokee were dead. As a result, he issued meticulous orders on conduct and allowed actions during the action. Troops were to treat tribal members "with kindness and humanity, free from every strain of violence." Each Cherokee was to receive meat and flour or corn regardless of age. Scott's orders were disobeyed by most troops that were not directly under his control. 

Occupying the Forts 

Built to protect the settlers from the Cherokee in 1814, Fort Marr is the only remaining portion of a Cherokee Removal Fort. This blockhouse, built in each corner of the standard removal fort featured gunports drilled every two feet or so(inset). 
Some Cherokee reported to the forts, not knowing the fate that awaited them, simply because John Ross had told them this is what they should do. Others stayed and were working in the fields when the soldiers came. The Georgia Guard had identified Cherokee homes. Aided by troops from Alabama, Florida, North and South Carolina, and Tennessee, Georgia militia would typically approach a home and enter the house. The resident(s) would then be forced to leave. The amount of time given residents to collect belongings varied greatly. Some were forced to leave immediately while others had enough time to sell valuables to local settlers at bargain rates. There are numerous instances where settlers attempted to intervene when the Guard was being particularly rough on a family. 

Conditions at the forts were horrible. Food intended for the tribe was sold to locals. What little the Cherokee had brought with them was stolen and sold. Living areas were filled with excrement. Birth rates among the Cherokee dropped to near zero during the months of captivity. Cherokee women and children were repeatedly raped. Soldiers forced their captives to perform acts of depravation so disgusting they cannot be told here. One member of the Guard would later write, "During the Civil War I watched as hundreds of men died, including my own brother, but none of that compares to what we did to the Cherokee Indians."

Towards the Trail 
For a number of reasons nothing seemed to go right during the removal. The round up that began in mid-May was completed on June 2, 1838. Some Cherokee were forced to live in these conditions for up to five months before the start on the journey whose name is "Nunna daul Tsuny (Trail Where They Cried)." 

As many as one-third of the 4,000 deaths as a direct result of the removal can be attributed to conditions in the prisons. Unfortunately, many of the Cherokee Removal Forts are unmarked and lost to time. 

Update, May 2003: Since this article first appear on About North Georgia in 1998, interest in the Cherokee Removal Forts has grown. This article was reprinted in the Trail of Tears Newsletter and members of the organization have been working on preserving sites in Georgia and other states.







"On October 12, 1492, a man came ashore from Columbus' caravel Santa Maria and thanked God for their having safely crossed the uncharted seas. That man was Luis de Torres. He was the first Jew to land on American soil."

Forward to Portraits Etched In Stone, Early Jewish Settlers 1682-1831 by D. DeSola Pool, (Columbia Un. Press, N.Y., 1952) 

"Writing a Jewish friend, Luis de Santangel, Treasurer of Aragon, Columbus announced the discovery of America from a voyage which he had made into unknown seas in a fleet Banned in part by Jewish sailors, and on which he was guided by nautical tables compiled by one Jew, printed by another, and presented to him by a third."

Early American Jews by Lee M. Friedman, (Harvard Un. Press, 1934)

"In the spring of 1658, fifteen Spanish Portuguese Jewish families arrived In Newport, R.I.. (p.281) "The Jews who settled in Newport were a cultured group. They spoke a number of foreign languages. This proved to be of inestimable value to them in maintaining business connections with distant countries, (p.288)

Leaders were Aaron Lopez, Jacob Rodriquez Rivera, Jacob Pollock, and Isaac Touro.

Isaac Touro married Reyna Hayes of Boston, eventually instrumental in building the Touro Synagogue. 1759, during American Revolution moved first to New York than Kingston, Jamaica, died 1783 at the age of 46 

Touro Synagogue restored by bequest from son Abraham in 1820.  Son Judah left over $500,000 for Catholic, Protestant and Jewish charities.

Bulletin of the Newport Historical Society, #159, Vol. 48

In a 1695 report by Governor Archdale of Charleston, South Carolina reference is made to a Sephardlc. After reciting how In the year some Yammassee Indians met some Spanish Indians and captured them, he states, there were three men and one woman; they could speak Spanish and I had a Jew for an Interpreter. The Jews of South Carolina from the Earliest Settlement to the End .of the American Revolution by Leon Huhner, American Jewish Historical Society, #12, N.Y. City, 1899.

July 1733, forty Jews landed in Savannah, Georgia. Arrangements were made by Alvaro Lopez Suasso, Francis Salvador, Jr. and Anthony Da Costa.

December 21, 1733, town lots, gardens and farms are distributed to Dr. Samuel Nunez Ribeiro, Abraham Minis, Isaac Nunez Henriquez, Moses Le Desma, Benjamin Sheftall and Abraham Nunez Monte Sano.

Major Noah by Isaac Goldberg, Jewish Publication of America, 1938




August 1: 278th Anniversary of the First Civil Government of San Antonio
The daughters of Beatriz Quintanilla, DNA Study of Crispin Rendon
30th Texas State Hispanic Genealogical & Historical Conference
Hispanics Have Been in Texas Since November 6, 1528 by Dr. Lino Garcia, Jr.
Saturday, August 15: Battle of Medina Memorial Service
Lt. Colonel Bernardo Gutierrez de Lara (extract) by Jose Antonio Lopez
Tejano Land Grant Movement
Medal to commemorate the role played by Tejanos in Texas' Independence
Friends of Casa Navarro Seeking Supporters
The Vaquero Capitol of Texas and the United States
New Guide to Spanish and Mexican Land Grants in South Texas
Family History Book of Pasquale Leo Buquor and Maria de Jesus Delgado Hebbronville's Texas Tropical Trail (TTT)
The Birth of the City of Pearsall by Richard G. Santos

Organized July 20, 1731

August 1, 2009: Anniversary Luncheon 
Radisson Hotel Market Square, 502 West Durango
12:30 P.M.

Introduction of Speaker: Robert H. Thonhoff, Texas Author and Historian
Featured Speaker: Dr. Light T. Cummins
Educator, Historian, Author, and State Historian of Texas, 2009
“The Isleno Heritage in the History of the American South and Southwest” 
Price per person: $28.00, Reservations only, RSVP by July 27, 2009 to Dorothy Perez, 
Make check to Canary Islands Descendants Association 
112 Logswood, Universal City, Texas 78148-3618
Sent by Larry Kirkpatrick


The daughters of Beatriz Quintanilla
Great, great, …..grandmother of many people from the
Mexican States of Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, Tamaulipas and
from the U.S. border States


Beatriz was the mother of four children, three girls and a boy; Maria Trevino, Isabel Quintanilla,
Juana Trevino and Joseph Trevino. She gave each of them something only a mother can give,
her mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). Her son Joseph had children but without her mtDNA. Juana
Trevino gave her mother’s gift to her seven children all boys; Alonso Trevino, Pedro Garza,
Marcos Alonso Garza, Blas Garza Falcon, Diego Trevino, Francisco Garza and Joseph Trevino.
It served them well, as they all multiplied, but none of them could pass their mother’s gift to their
children because only a mother can pass mtDNA to the next generaton. It fell on her daughters
Maria Trevino and Isabel Quintanilla who both had three girls to extend the maternal line. The
ebb and flow of the maternal line scenario continued with each generation. Beatriz probably has
a million descendants now. The author has a PAF database of over 62,000 of them but only
about 1,500 carried the secret to Beatriz’s maternal ancestry. A secret that will be revealed
someday by testing someone who can follow their mother’s ancestral line back to Beatriz.
Hopefully the table on the following pages will aid in finding the answer that so many are
waiting for.

Here is an example of the fifteen-generation mother-daughter direct line starting with Beatriz and
ending with the late Ignacia Gutierrez of South Texas: Beatriz Quintanilla, Maria Trevino,
Sebastiana Trevino Quintanilla, Maria Rodriguez, Clara Fernandez Renteria, Maria Garcia
Renteria, Gertrudis Trevino, Maria Teodora Villarreal, Ana Maria Gonzalez Solis, Maria Rafaela
Gutierrez, Maria Gertrudis Vela, Maria Asuncion Uribe, Maria Benicia Zapata, Maria Josefa
Vidaurri, Ignacia Gutierrez.

From time to time this report will be updated with additional data. June 30, 2009
[Crispin has compiled data to identify direct female pedigrees which would trace back to and carry the mtDNA of Beatriz Quintanilla. Go to this website and review the 1,497 Women who share the same mitochondrial DNA as Beatriz Quintanilla.  PLEASE search it out and see if YOU might be a living descendant, a direct link.  Perhaps your DNA will supply information that can help all the Daughters of Beatriz Quintanilla. ]




30th Texas State Hispanic Genealogical & Historical Conference
September 24th -27th

To be held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel Dallas - near the Galleria on Midway Road. 
Please visit our web site @
Dorina Alaniz Thomas, Ph.D.   
Pres/Co-founder of HOGAR de Dallas, Conference coordinator
1822 Gross Road
Dallas, Texas 75228 
(214) 324-3677




by Dr. Lino García, Jr.


Pánfilo Narváez left Spain on June 12, 1526, for the voyage to the New World. On board the five vessels were 600 men, also on board, and serving as treasurer for the expedition was Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca. It took them four months to cross the Atlantic Ocean, arriving in Santo Domingo. He remained there for forty five days, losing some of his men to desertion .From there, Nárvaez sailed to Cuba, although his expedition was almost destroyed by a hurricane.

In the year 1527, Narváez sailed with five ships and about 400 men, sailing to the coast of Florida and arriving in northwestern Florida in mid June, 1528, and they remained there for about four months, but were faced with dangers from Indians, and food shortages. He decided to leave Florida by sea, having established himself and his crews as the first Europeans Hispanics to appear on what is now the United States of America.

Later on , using five make shift ships, he left the Bay of Horses with about 250 men. It was named so because their horses were slaughtered to provide much needed food. On September 22, 1528, Narváez and his men left Florida, after having first brought into the United States of America the horses, cattle, goats, and the ranching industry that was prevalent in Medieval Spain . The horses later on in Tejas or Texas would provide much needed transportation in such endeavors as the herding of cattle which was also brought in mass into Tejas or Texas by the Spanish settlers around 1749. The cattle (beef) were later on driven up north to feed the soldiers during the American Revolution, and later on would also help feed the emerging American Industrial Revolution . This was done by Hispanic (Tejano) cattle and ranching families before any other cattle baron appeared on the Tejas / Texas scene; and almost one hundred years before the King Ranch drama became part of Texas history. 2.)

On November 6, 1528, the barge carrying Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca and his men landed on Galveston Island. Andrés Dorantes de Carranza, with about forty others including an African slave named Estevanico landed there the previous day, making them the FIRST Hispanics ( Tejanos now) and non-Indians to land in what is now Tejas or Texas. Those named: Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, Andrés Dorantes Carranza, Estevanico, and Alonso Castillo Maldonado—later known as the Four Ragged Castaways—were the only ones to survive the Narváez expedition.

This is the beginning of Spanish exploration and eventual settling of Tejas or Texas, with the big expeditions of land grants or “porciones” given to individuals who had initiated the exploration of the land, and who were deemed worthy by the Spanish Authorities to receive and work the land in the name of the Spanish King. In 1749- 1767 land grants or “ porciones” were given in thousands of acres at one time, and with this began the bringing into what is now Tejas or Texas what we see prevalent today, like ranching, and cattle drives, and long before the Chisholm Trail, or the King Ranch, were established, Spanish Land and Cattle barons roamed the entire state of Tejas or Texas. These hardy individuals became the “vaqueros” upon which culture the modern Cowboy built his image.

Between November 6th., 1528 when Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca and Pánfilo Narváez first landed in Tejas or Texas until 1848 when Tejas or Texas became part of the United States of America, or about THREE HUNDRED YEARS, towns, villages, cattle drives, ranching, banking, and all kinds of commerce were the daily life of Texas Hispanics or Tejanos.

Between 1528 and the present, there is a total of 479 years or almost FIVE centuries of Hispanic/Tejano presence on Tejas or Texas soil long and certainly long before any other European culture arrived. This presence translates into the Spanish language being the first 
3.)  European language spoken in Texas or Texas, the catholic religion was the first organized religion that appeared on the Tejas scene, and later leading to the christianization of the native population, the first system of public schools outside the missions in Villa San Fernando ( later San Antonio de Béxar), compulsory and tuition free were established in 

1746 for the children of Spanish soldiers and citizens, thus setting the base upon which the modern schools were established, and furthermore there were several Spanish Missions established on Tejas soil, as well as banking, townships, and everything that makes a civilized society was present in Tejas or Texas before 1848.

Sadly . during the 20th century and down to the present, Texas history has over emphasized the Battle of the Alamo, and has practically ignored almost three hundred years of Hispanic presence and history in Tejas or Texas that was prevalent before 1848 when Tejas became part of the United States of America. Thus, Tejanos and Texans of all persuasions are being robbed of the richness of the Medieval Spanish Culture and History that was first brought into this land by the early Spaniards 1528 and that , throughout the years, has made this state unique from any other state in the union. We must all keep this in perspective as the national debate on immigration prevails.

Written by:  Dr. Lino García, Jr.- Professor Emeritus of Spanish Literature- 
The University of Texas-Pan American-Edinburg, Texas
381-3441 office 383-5423 home e-mail: drlinogarcia@SBCGlobal.Net 


Saturday, August 15, 2009

Battle of Medina Memorial Service

Our Lady of Mt Carmel Catholic Church
18555 Leal Road, Losoya, Texas


The community of Losoya welcomes you to the “Battle of Medina Memorial Service.”  The event will begin at 12 noon in the air conditioned community hall. 
The “Battle of Medina,” was the biggest and bloodiest battle for freedom ever fought on Texas soil. The Republican Army of the North consisted of three to four hundred American volunteers, two to three hundred Native Americans and nine hundred to one thousand Tejanos. Out of this number only one hundred would survive. 
Many Mexican Americans have sacrificed their lives defending freedom and democracy. Over a thousand Tejanos were killed in one battle alone in defense of these causes. But this conflict was not on foreign soil. Not on the beaches of Normandy, Viet Nam or Desert Storm, although Tejanos were there, but much closer to home in south Texas, less than 20 miles south of San Antonio. The “Battle of Medina,” the forgotten history of these Tejanos, these first sons and daughters of the State of Texas…..unknown and unrecognized for their ultimate sacrifice.
 And now it is time to honor those that fought and died for freedom 197 years ago.
For more information contact: Dan Arellano, Chairman
Directions: From San Antonio go south on Hi 281(Roosevelt Ave.) past loop 410 stay on HI 281 until Martinez –Losoya Road and turn left. At the corner there is a Conoco station and Southside San Antonio High School. Mt Carmel will be on the left about ¼ mile.





Lt. Colonel Bernardo Gutierrez de Lara


The month of April is very special in Texas history.  It was during this month that the seeds of Texas self determination were sown in 1813.  In response to Father Miguel Hidalgo’s September 16, 1810 “Grito de Dolores”, Lt. Colonel Bernardo Gutierrez de Lara defeated the Spanish Royalist forces in the regional capital of San Fernando (San Antonio).  On April 1, 1813, he took possession of the Spanish Governors’ Palace and the Alamo.  He became the President (Governor) of the First Texas Republic.  On April 6, he signed the first Texas declaration of independence and on April 17, he signed its first constitution.


Who was this Texas hero and how was he and other Tejanos involved in lighting the spark of liberty in Texas way before Sam Houston, Jim Bowie, and Davy Crockett?  Don Bernardo was born in 1774 on the banks of the Rio Grande back when the river was not the political boundary that it is today.  As a young man, he was unhappy with Spanish rule.  He was commissioned as a Lt. Colonel in the Mexican Army, and named Chief General of the Texas Army.  After organizing his forces, he won many battles and declared independence for Texas.    


Betrayed by two members of his staff and taking responsibility for the killing of the Spanish Governor by his staff, he resigns.  On August 18, 1813, under a new commander, the Texas Army is defeated by the Spanish at the Battle of Medina, twenty miles south of San Antonio.  Over 800 Tejano patriots died on the battlefield.  The Texas Historical Commission calls it the bloodiest military battle on Texas soil.  Sadly, a few years later, 189 Texas patriots will die at the 1836 Battle of the Alamo and their death is what is now remembered annually.  However, the loss of the 800 Tejanos does not receive that level of respect even though they died for the same fundamental values of equality, freedom, liberty, and justice for all in Texas. 


While in exile in Louisiana, Don Bernardo and his soldiers helped Gen. Andy Jackson defeat the British at the Battle of New Orleans.  Returning to a free Mexico in 1824, he became the first governor of the new state of Tamaulipas.  He was also rewarded with several other important posts that he led to the best of his ability.  He filled the position of Commandant General of the four Eastern Provinces of Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, Texas, and Tamaulipas.  Because of ill health, he resigned his positions and retired to his home in Revilla.  Alas, he had lost all his wealth.  Showing no bitterness, he never blamed anyone for his reversal of fortune.  He had lived his life to the fullest doing what he loved best: serving others.  He died in Villa de Santiago, Nuevo Leon, in 1841.


Finally, Tejanos have been ignored for too long in mainstream Texas history books.  Of the many monuments at the state capitol, none honor their contributions.  To correct that error, the state legislature has approved the funds to erect a Tejano monument.  The model is ready.  Please write or call Governor Perry and ask him to approve the building of the monument on the south lawn of the capitol.  In the final analysis, “Texas history without Tejanos is like a story with no beginning.”

                                                            Jose Antonio Lopez, Author

                                                            “The Last Knight (Don Bernardo Gutierrez de Lara

                                                                Uribe, A Texas Hero)”




Tejano Land Grant Movement

Hi! Thought you might be interested in supporting this cause:
Please join:
Sent by Walter Herbeck


Medal to commemorate role played by Tejanos in Texas' Independence


To All Tejanos and Texians,
       Viva Fiesta y Viva Tejas! The first ever medal to commemorate the role played by Tejanos in Texas' Independence is now available. Please contact Vivian Carranza at (210) 673-3584 to purchase your Tejano Heritage Medal for only $10 each.



Friends of Casa Navarro

We appreciate your support and participation in our effort to help raise the profile of
José Antonio Navarro and the historic site!

If you have not yet renewed or joined Friends - PLEASE DO! $25- individual, $40 - family.
Continue to receive the newsletter - Invitations to events! Or to make a donation: 
Contact Casa Navarro (210) 226-4801 or mail in to: Friends of Casa Navarro,
228 So. Laredo, San Antonio, Texas 78207.
Visit the Friends Web Site
Sent by Walter Herbeck



Hebbronville, Texas is

“The Vaquero Capitol of Texas and the United States!”  




Texas Tropical Trail 2009 historic event 

Photo by R.J. Molina

Hebbronville Vaquero Festival Parade


Author and Brochure Designer: R.J. Molina

Published: Jim Hogg County Historical Commission

June 2009


More local historic sights:


1.    Historic Garza House (1893-1968)

2.    New York Store (1909-Present)

3.    Jim Hogg County Courthouse (1913) (West addition-1981)

4.    Viggo Hotel(1915-1976)

5.    Scotus College-(1926)


Some of Jim Hogg County

Historic Ranches/Communities

(Over 100 years Texas Patents)


1.     Noriecitas (Sp 1740 Patent>1835)

2.     Agua Nueva de Abajo ( Spanish> 1750 &  Texas Patent in 1836)

3.     El Randado (1767 Patent>1830)

4.     Agostadero del Sordo (1804)

5.     San Antonio Viejo (1805)

6.     Palo Blanco (1809)

7.     San Rafael de los Encinos (1809)

8.     Las Animas/Alberca Abajo (1811)

9.      Santa Teresa (1812)

10.   El Peyote/Puerto Ranch (1820)

11.   Las Moritas (1828)

12.   San Rafael (1830)

13.   Las Vivoritas/Santa Rita (1830)

14.   San Antonio de Baluarte (1830)

15.   Las Animas/San Javier (1830)

16.   La Noria-Santo Domingo (1831)

17.   Agua Nueva de Arriba (1831)

18.   Santo Domingo de Arriba (1831)

19.   Santo Domingo de Abajo (1832)

20.   La Blanca (1834)

21.   Agostradero de Javali (1834

22.   Las Cuevitas (1836)

23.   La Sal Colorada (1836)

24.   Palitos Blanco (1836)  

25.   El Colorado-Guerra (1886)

26.   La Violeta (1880)

27.   Alta Vista (1890)

28.   Brazil (1891)

29.   La Mota/Helen Ranch (1895)



Welcome to Hebbronville’s Texas Tropical Trail 2009 historic event


Photo by R.J. Molina


Jim Hogg County Historic Jail

(1914- 1986)




I. B. Gutierrez – Chairman

R. J. Molina - Vice Chairman

Idalia G. Davila – Secretary

Bryan B. Gonzalez Jr. - Treasurer


Members:  Toni Garza, Tony Salinas, Azalia Perez, Humberto Martinez and Jorge Peña

          Upon completion of the Texas-Mexican railroad from Corpus Christi to Laredo, Texas (1881), more European, Mexican, Tejano and eastern American entrepreneurs and land speculators followed into the Pena Station area. 

          In 1913, Jim Hogg County was formed after local ranchers and political advocates petitioned Texas legislators to form a new county.  Hebbronville (1883) was part of Spanish “Noriecitas” land grant (1740).   Hebbronville became the county seat in 1913. 

          After Jim Hogg County elections were held, County Judge A.C. Jones and Commissioners H. C. Yeager, R.H. McCampbell, Rueben Holbein and J. F. Hardcastle voted and approved a motion for the construction of a county jail.  

          The H. T. Phelps Company, a San Antonio architectural firm, was contracted for the new jail design.  Building firm Ewing and McGee, the lowest bidder at $6,217.00 was awarded the contract.

          A well known San Antonio steel company named The Southern Structural Steel Company was contracted for the cells, doors and window guards for $3000.00 which was paid by Ewing and McGee.  

          Jim Hogg County officials purchased the additional hardware, doors, windows, and interior furnishing from the Corpus Christi Hardware Company.                   

          On May 11, 1914 the county court approved the completion of the Jim Hogg County Jailhouse.  The initial sheriff salary was $500.00 per annum plus a monthly fee for horse/stable expenses located on the eastern side of the jail.

          The Trans Nueces historic area with historic ox cart and railroad commerce from the Gulf coast to the border influenced many Texas western cowboy and Indian themed radio shows, silent/talking movies, and TV shows. Many western gallantry programs were inspired by the area’s history, legends, myths, and brush country books.  

          Due to building and jail space requirements along with its modern laws and technology, the Jim Hogg County jail and sheriff’s office location was moved to the present day location at 211 E. Galbraith Street (old First National Bank building) in 1986.

          In the late 1980s, a 99 year lease of the historic jail with the Museum Foundation of Hebbronville was approved by the Jim Hogg County judge and commissioner’s court. 

          In 2008, Jim Hogg County Judge Guadalupe (Lupe) Canales along with Commissioners Ruben Rodriguez, Abelarado (Valo) Alaniz, Sandalio (Sandy) Ruiz, and Antonio (Tony) Flores voted to donate $4,000 out of the hotel/motel tax funds for the exterior painting and stucco repairs of the historic jail preservation.  

          The Museum Foundation of Hebbronville (MFH) has utilized the historic jail for tourism, educational and heritage events.                                                                 

          Relics, artifacts, and photographs have been donated and loaned to MFH for public displays during local events.  Interior historic jail preservation is pending on grants, donations and future fundraising efforts.



                    Written by R. J. Molina



The following is the “concurrent” list and titles of Texas’ Jim Hogg County Sheriffs from 1914 to 2009.


 Elected Sheriff and “Tax Collector”


Oscar Thompson-First Sheriff

Pat Craighead

P.B. Harbison

Alonzo Taylor

Rafael De La Garza

C. I. (Lile) Treviño

Juan Lino Ramirez

Gilberto Ybañez-Last Jim Hogg County Sheriff of the Historic Jail


Elected Sheriff


Erasmo “Kiko” Alarcon-Current Sheriff of Jim Hogg County  



New Guide to Spanish and Mexican Land Grants in South Texas

Ernesto, Galen:
I agree with you Ernesto.  That is the reason why I sent you the information; I knew you would like the new guide.  I was happy that you stated so in writing.  The Texas General Land Office -- and especially Galen Greaser -- deserve a real big hand of applause on this one.
The New Guide to Spanish and Mexican Land Grants in South Texas is really a fine reference book.  It certainly contains a wealth of the history of the 23 early Settlements in El Seno Mexicano.  Its detailed account also corrects or clarifies some of the problems I noted in my book (switching of landgrants and others) and also fills some of the gaps that I found hard to address.  For instance, I knew two of my abuelos -- Javier Peña (father) and Joseph de Jesus Peña (his son) had gotten their Porciones (2 and 3) in Laredo, but could not figure out why they did not get them in Revilla.  The new guide explains this and much more.  I am extremely happy that the GLO availed itself of so many book sources -- especially mine and Jose de La Peña (stated in the Bibliography).
In sum, Galen, you all did an exceptional job on the new guide. 
For those of you who want to buy this book, here is where to get it:
Galen D. Greaser
Translator, Spanish Collection
Archives and Records Division
Texas General Land Office
1-800-998-4456 (option 2)
Once again, congratulations and best regards,  Jose M. Pena



Family History Book of 
Pasquale Leo Buquor and Maria de Jesus Delgado 

Dear Friends,
        I wanted to let you know that I have a Web Site.
        I am so excited to finally have it up.  My cousin, Terry Conboy, did this for me and I think she did a great job.  Terry has been instrumental in encouraging me to write Buquor's Biography (which I hope to have finished by 2010), and selling the Family History Book of Pasquale Leo Buquor and Maria de Jesus Delgado to our family of our genealogy.  I have sold over 40 already and she tells me more orders are coming.  She comes from a very large family and they all want to know about our ancestor.  When I was in Texas in March I met so many relatives who thanked me for doing this.  It was quite rewarding. 
        We are still building on the web site and more information will come out from time to time.  This "passion" of mine has been so much fun, educational and rewarding.
      Attached are news articles of the Texas Ranger Ceremony for my ancestor, P. L. Buquor, which I attend and spoke of his life.  There were over 70 of my cousins including and dignitaries of the local area in attendance.  Just thought you'd be interested in what I've been doing with my spare time.
        Love, Sylvia Villarreal Biznar

Hebbronville's Texas Tropical Trail (TTT)


Dear Tejano Friends,
The Jim Hogg County Historical Commission, Museum Foundation of Hebbronville and Hebbronville Chamber of Commerce is hosting the Hebbronville's Texas Tropical Trail (TTT) area's historic presentations and TTT board of directors meeting.  Everyone of you are cordially invited.
We appreciate IBC Bank in assisting in hosting the event opening at 9 am on Tuesday June the 16th. The tour of Scotus College (1926) will follow along with other events and presentations ending at 3:30 or 4 pm.  The public is invited to attend the Texas Tropical Trail event in Hebbronville.    
Sincerely American Tejano, R.J. Molina
Jim Hogg County Historical Commission-VP
Museum Foundation of Hebbronville-member
Tejano Monument board member






Even though the state legislature created Frio County in 1858 it was a political paper gesture as the land mass at that time was under the jurisdiction of Bexar, Uvalde and Atascosa counties. All land donations and warrants issued from the early 1840’s to 1871 were filed first in the Bexar Land District (Bexar County) and later at Uvalde, Atascosa and even Medina County when it issued land to colonists of the Henri de Castro Colony. It was not until May 22, 1871 that Frio County was formally organized and Frio Town designated the county seat. Just six years later an election was held proposing to move the county seat to a more centrally located site. The proposition lost but only temporarily as the same issue was posted again in 1883 and carried. By that time, however, a railroad camp site called Pearsall had been established by the International Great Northern Railroad Company. The railroad campsite named after IGN Vice President Thomas W. Pearsall was established in 1881 as the rail line from San Antonio to Laredo set camp at a site from which they could draw water from the well at the Wagner sheep farm located at what is now Moreno Park at Rio Grande and Mulberry streets. 

On May 13, 1882, the Texas and New York land Company platted and filed the unincorporated “Town of Pearsall”. The township was located on 2,000 acres east of the railroad tracks. This allowed the rail company to establish a depot for loading cattle and agricultural products. The platted township identified the site of the county courthouse and the railroad unincorporated township surveyed as two square miles from the center point of the front door. The relocated Commissioners Court had its first meeting on August 27, 1883. It was also at this time that most residents of Frio Town moved to Pearsall. For the first time in history, an 1882 Texas State map showed Pearsall along the IGN railroad line.

On July 2, 1891, The New York and Texas Land Company field another plat. This time the land in question was west of the railroad tracks. Using current street designations, the addition was bounded by West Colorado extending north to West Neches Street. The eastern boundary extended from the railroad tracks to Plum Street. 

The unincorporated township existed until October 5, 1909 when the Frio County Judge declared Pearsall to be an incorporated community. The first City Council election was held October 19, 1909 and the first meeting occurred on November 1, 1909. The newly incorporated city was again surveyed and described in City Council Minute Book One, page 31, as lying east of the IGN rail road tracks. As recorded in both the Minutes of Commissioners Court (Volume 5, page 191) and Volume One (pages 31) of the Minutes of the Pearsall City Council, the first city council was composed of duly elected (a) Mayor E. A. Lilly, (b) Marshall James Armstrong and (c) Aldermen J. E. Berry, Ed Roberts, S. J. Duke, D. H. Neeley and L. H. Smith. The first council meeting was held November 1, 1909 at which time Mr. G. M. Atkinson was elected City Secretary. 

Having seated the new City Council members, the first order of business was to pass an animal control ordinance. Quoting form Volume One of the City Council Minutes, Ordinance 1 reads: “… to prohibit hogs, goats, sheep, cattle, burros and horses from running at large within the city limits. …. The penalty for impounding all animals shall be one dollar, except hogs, goats and sheep 25 cents a day and burros which shall be 50 cents. For the feeding of animals remaining in pound … 10 cents a day for goats and sheep, 25 cents a day for burros, 50 cents for cattle and horses and 25 cents a day for hogs.”

Six months later, On April 5, 1910, the second city council election occurred. E. A. Lilly was re-elected Mayor. The four elected Aldermen were incumbents J. E. Berry, Ed. Roberts L. H. Smith and S. J. Duke. New elected council member was W. T. Thompson. Mr. W. H. Harris was elected City Secretary. James Armstrong was re-elected City Marshal and took his oath at next meeting held April 13, 1910. At that time construction of the city’s first high school was completed. Also in 1910, Mexican rebels being organized in San Antonio by Francisco I. Madero Jr. were frequently passing through Pearsall as they plotted the overthrow of President Porfirio Diaz. The beginning of the Mexican Revolution of 1910 and the overthrow of one government after the other until 1929 saw an increase in Mexican migration to Pearsall and surrounding area. 

On March 12, 1912, the City of Pearsall contracted the Pearsall Water, Ice and Electric Company to lay, extend and maintain the city’s water and electric lines for a period of 25 years. 

As recorded in City Council Minutes, Volume One, pages 49-50, the company had “the right to use all the streets, alleys, lanes, public ground or grounds and all other places under the control of the City of Pearsall as far as may be deemed necessary or advisable…. for the proper conduct of the business or businesses and for the laying, extending and maintaining at all times, day or night… for the purpose of furnishing the City of Pearsall and the inhabitants thereof water for fire, domestic, manufacturing and all other purposes… and further for the purpose of furnishing the City of Pearsall and the inhabitants thereof with electric light and power….”. The contract was signed by Mayor E. A. Lilly and attested by City Secretary W. H. Harris. 

The third city council election was held on Tuesday April 2, 1912 and installed the following day. Elected Mayor was L. H. Smith with Aldermen J. Long, W. J. Tyner, Sid Martin, and W. T. Thompson. James Armstrong was re-elected City Marshal. W. H. Harris was elected City Clerk. Six days later George W. Curtis was appointed City Treasurer. Interesting enough, Curtis is thereafter considered an alderman and a voting member of the City Council. 

For the next several years the council passed one ordinance after another concerning streets, alleys, curbs, water hydrants, fire-fighting equipment, animal control, utilities and traffic control. The incorporated City of Pearsall was finally beginning to develop beyond its un-incorporated infancy. It is imperative to note that the original (1882) township and later (1909) incorporated City of Pearsall and plat thereof, describe the city as east of the railroad tracks with an un-named small addition west of the tracks. The area west of the railroad tracks and around the Catholic Church saw a growth of mom and pop stores, bakeries, a Spanish Language Movie Theatre, restaurants, bars and social-insurance organizations such as The Woodmen of the World. By 1917 the West Pearsall area saw the surveying and layout of Colonia Alta Vista where 50 by 140 foot lots were sold for $50 to $75. The contractor advertised the streets as being 50 feet wide, alleys 20 feet wide and the subdivision had four wells providing free water to the residents. West Pearsall would soon carry the aroma of pan dulce, barbacoa, while and la lechuza, la llorona and other ghostly spirits roamed the streets at night.

Pearsall, Texas Centennial Gazette News; Vol. 1, No.1, May 1, 2009

When Pearsall was incorporated in 1909, it was a typical rural railroad town with a loading passenger depot with corrals used as holding pens, warehouses for seasonal agricultural products and a small ice manufacturing plant. Upon its incorporation and seating of the first City Council, the aldermen immediately passed resolutions dealing with animal control, a volunteer fire department and contracting services with electricity and telephone services providers. Ten years later, a new batch of office holders turned their attentions to street repairs. A bond was passed in 1919 and the following year a Chicago based investment company began to sell shares at five cents a piece. Although the contractual agreement called for non discrimination of any sorts in paving streets, Elm and Oak streets received immediate attention as they were the two main thoroughfares. All other streets, and especially the streets and paths west of the railroad tracks, remained impassible after any rain. In fact, people who grew up along Willow, Peach, Mulberry and West Rio Grande have all reported certain blocks that became “swimming pools after a heavy rain”. 

Because there was no city water system, most homes and businesses in Pearsall had backyard wells. The 1929 Loma Vista Addition advertised one water well per block. Those who did not have a water well or access to one in their neighborhood, contracted a water salesman who daily dragged or hauled a barrel of water to his clients. Many homes also had “a rain water barrel” in which to collect rain water for bathing and/or washing both of which were done outside. There was also no city sewer system so all homes and businesses had an outhouse in their backyard. Although outhouses were usually located as far as possible from the house and water well, the water supply was still being contaminated. Therefore, all water had to be boiled before it was used for cooking, bathing or washing. Wire or rope lines were stretched across the backyard for drying clothes and many times during the hot summer, dry months the clothes were covered with a fine thin layer of rust orange colored sand or a beige caliche coating.

The Mexican Revolution which started in 1910 and extended to 1939 had an economic, demographic and entertainment impact on the recently incorporated City of Pearsall. University of California graduate Francisco I. Madero Jr., fled Mexico and temporarily settled in San Antonio. There he authored the Plan de San Luis calling for a nation wide rebellion against Mexican President Porfirio Diaz. Madero set November 20, 1910 as the day for the uprising. In mid November he traveled from San Antonio through Pearsall to Cotulla. He was met at Cotulla by the Flores brothers who took him by wagon to Carrizo Springs. The Dimmit County sheriff and U.S. Secret Service both reported his arrival and that he left shortly thereafter for El Rancho de el Indio. Agents of the Secret Service complained that although county deputies were camped within eye sight from Madero and company, no one supposedly saw him leave El Indio for the old Camino Real Crossing at the Rio Grande called Paso de Francia. Madero’s plan was to meet a cousin with 200 men at the Rio Grande then enter the village of Guerrero, Coahuila. Instead, the cousin showed up with two men and four horses. Disappointed, Madero returned to San Antonio via Cotulla and Pearsall under the ever watchful eyes of the U. S. Secret Service. The Mexican Revolution of 1910 finally started in Chihuahua and Madero made his way to El Paso disguised as a railroad worker. Diaz resigned the following year and the revolution was in full force for the next two decades.

The Mexican Revolution that saw one government after the other fall from 1910 to 1939, impacted the United States, Texas and Pearsall. During that period, 5 former Presidents of Mexico resided temporarily in San Antonio. They were not alone as there ere also 29 former Cabinet Members, dozens of generals, colonels and senior officers of both the regular and rebel armies. International authors, composers, performing artists, doctors and educators also migrated to Texas along with the political refugees and exiled. The anti-Catholic Cristero Uprising also prompted five Bishops and thousands of priests and nuns to make San Antonio their temporarily home before dispersing through the Southwest and Midwest. For a while, the Mexican Catholic Church of Texas existed along but separate from the Archdiocese of Texas. Also migrating to the United States were the conscripted soldiers and their families. The working class, farm workers and ranch hands joined them. They were welcomed in the Winter Garden Area as the agricultural fields as well as cattle ranches needed experienced workers. 

The First World War saw many native born Tejanos as well as first generation children of Mexican migrants volunteer for military service. Pearsall was no different and along with their non-Hispanic neighbors from across the tracks, saw service in Europe. On the home-front, meanwhile, the Mexican immigrants formed U.S. patriotic societies such as the Sons of Liberty and Sons of Freedom. They also organized and formed mutualist societies to assist each other in times of need. Many became funeral assistance organizations such as La Union de Pearsall. Others formed local chapters of Woodmen of the World such as the Membrillo Chapter that met on Apple Street a few paces from Comal Street. Scant photographs of the Pearsall groups, weddings and patriotic functions exist but each documents the unknown history of West Pearsall.

                                                        UNION MEETING

The Great Depression of 1929 affected the East Coast and industrial Midwest more than the Winter Garden Area. In Pearsall and surrounding area, the agricultural fields became primer providers of much needed vegetables and fruits as well as beef, goats and sheep. Most of the local trade was done by bartering labor for food and though currency was practically non-existing, the people of Pearsall did not starve. The abundant wild game and native edible plants softened the negative impact of the Great Depression. 

At the end of the 1930’s as World War II approached, many families still used kerosene lamps for light, had outhouses and a water well on their back yard and unpaved streets throughout Pearsall. At the beginning of World War II Pearsall could best be described as a young community united and divided by railroad tracks. The town was still divided by the railroad tracks and each side had its own theatres, churches, streets, entertainment sites, social organizations, Boys Scouts, Girl Scouts, CYO sport teams (primarily baseball) and schools. The day after the Japanese Imperial Navy attacked Pearl Harbor young men from both sides of the tracks volunteered and enlisted in the U.S. Armed Forces. The winds of change were in the air but the grounds from which they blew were in the Pacific, African, Aleutian, and European Theaters of Operation. The infant years were over as Pearsall entered its childhood years.

Pearsall Centennial Gazette News, Vo. I, No 6, June 17-18, 2009
Sent by Juan Marinez 


Spanish Consul and Education Attache Tour historic Canarian Sites in Louisiana
Bishop-elect Shelton J. Fabre   


Antonio Matarredona, Education Consultant for the Spanish Education Project at Louisiana State University and Jean Hodgeson Nauman at historic Galveztown settlement.



Baton Rouge , Louisiana , March 6, 2009.  Mr. Antonio Matarredona, Education Advisor for the Spanish Education Project at Louisiana State University , aided by several members of the Canary Islanders Heritage Society, hosted a tour of local sites that date to the Spanish Period in Louisiana . The sites included the Galveztown and Valenzuela settlements in Ascension Parish and a historic neighborhood of Baton Rouge known as Spanish Town.  Special guests for the day included the Hon. Daniel Chamorro, Spanish Consul of Spain in New Orleans , Mr. Gonzalo González de Lara, Education Attaché of the Consulate of Spain in Miami , and Col. Thomas Ryan, Historian of the Louisiana National Guard.  Mr. William Hyland, Historian of St. Bernard Parish, accompanied the guests to Baton Rouge .


          The first stop on the tour was a visit to the Louisiana State Museum located in Baton Rouge near the State Capitol.  Mr. John Sykes, the Educational Manager of the State Museum , welcomed the tour group and escorted them to a conference room where they could have coffee and hear introductory presentations by the participating members of the Canary Islanders Heritage Society of Louisiana.  The speakers and commentators included John and Janelle Hickey, Joan Alemán, Jean Nauman, William Carmena, and Paul Newfield.            John Sykes, Education Manager of Louisiana State

                                                          Museum at Baton Rouge, leads tour of historic 


          John Hickey gave an overview of the history of the Galveztown and Valenzuela settlements.  Joan Alemán and Jean Nauman showed slides that highlighted various projects undertaken by the Canary Islanders Heritage Society to preserve, teach, and celebrate their Canarian heritage in Louisiana. 


          Following the presentations, Mr. Sykes led the group on a walking tour of the famous and colorful neighborhood of Baton Rouge called Spanish Town , which dates to 1805. The area was first settled by the Canary Islanders who abandoned Galveztown after Spanish Louisiana was transferred to France then to the U.S.A.   As Mr. Sykes escorted the group, he reviewed the history of Spanish Town and pointed out historical houses that still exist today.  Unfortunately, none of the original homes of the Canary Islanders have survived.


          The group then traveled to the site of Galveztown, a former Canary Islanders’ settlement located in East Ascension Parish, at the confluence of the Amite River and Bayou Manchac.  At this site, the group walked through the general area where the Villa de Gálvez had been located in late eighteenth century; however, today nothing remains of the town, not the old military fort, nor the church, not even the large cemetery.  A small section of the Galveztown site is currently being tested by Dr. Rob Mann, Southeast Regional Archaeologist at Louisiana State University , who is teaching excavation techniques to a class of adult students, some of whom are descendants of the Canary Islanders.  The students are examining soil samples at the site and uncovering interesting artifacts such as ceramics, glass, and pieces of brick that date to the Spanish Period. 


          After leaving the Galveztown site, the tour group took a lunch break at a restaurant in the town of Gonzales and then headed for the west side of the Mississippi River to Donaldsonville.  They stopped at the Ascension Catholic Church to view the monument dedicated in 2000 by the Canary Islanders Heritage Society of Louisiana in honor of their Canarian ancestors.  The tour group stood silently as Paul Newfield read a tribute that he had written in the year 2000 titled “They Came in Ships”, a sentimental salute to the brave Canary Islanders who left their homeland in eighteenth century and immigrated to Louisiana .

           The group continued their tour on the west side of the Mississippi River following the banks of Bayou Lafourche to the vicinity where, in 1779, the Spanish Governor of Louisiana , Don Bernardo de Galvez, placed Canarian families in lots along the bayou.  He named the settlement Valenzuela. 


          As an intact settlement, Valenzuela lasted longer than did Galveztown; nevertheless, in the Valenzuela site today, as in Galveztown, there is no visible marker in the terrain that can be traced back to the first Canary Islanders who lived there.  However, in Louisiana today, their descendants and their Spanish surnames abound on both sides of the Mississippi River.




L-R: Paul Newfield; Mr. Antonio Matarredona, Education Advisor for the Spanish Education Project at Louisiana State University;  the Hon. Daniel Chamorro, Spanish Consul of Spain in New Orleans;  Jean Hodgeson Nauman; John and Janelle Hickey; Mr. William Hyland, Historian of St. Bernard Parish; Mr. Gonzalo González de Lara, Education Attaché of the Consulate of Spain in Miami; Joan Alemán



By Jean Hodgeson Nauman
Canary Islanders Heritage Society of Louisiana




Bishop-elect Shelton J. Fabre


    Bishop-elect Shelton J. Fabre was born on October 25, 1963 in New Roads, Louisiana. He was the fifth of six children born to Luke and Theresa Vallet Fabre. He attended Catholic elementary and high schools in New Roads graduating from Catholic High of Pointe Coupee as valedictorian in 1981. He was ordained a priest on August 5, 1989 by Bishop Stanley Joseph Ott, after studying at St. Joseph Seminary College in St. Benedict, Louisiana and The American College of the Catholic University of Louvain in Leuven, Belgium. He holds a Master of Arts degree in Religious Studies from the Faculty of Theology of the 'Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Leuven, Belgium.

     Before coming to Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish as Pastor in 2004, Bishop-elect Fabre served in many offices within the Diocese of Baton Rouge, including pastor of the parishes of St. Joseph in Grosse Tete and Immaculate Heart of Mary in Maringouin, and parochial vicar at St. George Parish in Baton Rouge and St. Alphonsus Liguori in Greenwell Srpings. He also served briefly as' parochial vicar of St. Joseph Cathedral in Baton Rouge and St. Isidore the Farmer in Baker.

Bishop-elect Fabre was granted an indult of permission from the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura in Rome to function as a Defender of the Bond within the Diocesan Tribunal. He is also a longtime elected member of the Clergy Personnel Board, is the chaplain to St. Joseph's Academy in Baton Rouge, and is chair of the diocesan priests' Pastoral Planning Committee. He has also led the diocesan Office of Black Catholics, served as Dean of the Northwest Deanery, and been a member of the College of Consultors, the Presbyteral Council, and the Diocesan School Board.

Bishop-elect Fabre was appointed Titular Bishop of Pudentiana and Auxiliary Bishop to the Archdiocese of New Orleans by Pope Benedict XVI on December 13, 2006. Archbishop Hughes has announced that Bishop-elect Fabre will be appointed an archdiocesan Vicar General and pastor of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Parish on Esplanade Avenue in New Orleans.

Bishop-elect Fabre's ordination to the episcopacy will take place on Wednesday, February 28, 2007 at 2:00 p.m. in historic St. Louis Cathedral on Jackson Square in the French Quarter of New Orleans.

Father Shelton, we are grateful to you for the profound effect you have had on our lives as individuals, and as a parish family. Today we rejoice and celebrate with you on your appointment as an Auxiliary Bishop to the Archdiocese of New Orleans. Please keep us in your heart and prayers as you will be in ours and may the Sacred Heart of Jesus bestow abundant grace and blessings upon you always!

Thank you to everyone who gave of their time and talents to make this celebration possible.

Sent by Paul Newfield, Jr. III



Crossover Dreams of a Bronx Bachatero
CENTRO and Telemundo Tampa Partner To Provide Hurricane Preparedness

Crossover Dreams of a Bronx Bachatero
By Jody Rosen
New York Times, June 7, 2009


NEW YORK, NY — IF you’re a pop star keen to avoid intrusive fans, it’s probably best not to
conduct interviews in your luxury automobile, parked in the middle of a thronged Manhattan
block, at the height of the evening rush hour. Yet on a recent Thursday evening, the singer-songwriter Anthony Santos was doing just that: fielding a reporter’s questions while lounging in the front seat of his Range Rover, in a not-quite-legal parking space a few steps from a cineplex
in Union Square.

Mr. Santos, 27, is the frontman of Aventura, a quartet that specializes in the slinky Dominican
ballad style called bachata. The group has helped make bachata’s romantic tidings and spiky
guitar syncopations a staple of Latin radio; Mr. Santos, Aventura’s suave, sweet-voiced singer —
best known by his nickname, Romeo — is a major star and heartthrob. But he and his band
mates, Bronx-bred New Yorkers of Dominican descent who sing in both Spanish and English,
are nearly invisible in the [white] news media. Even in their hometown their renown varies from
block to block.

“If I’m in a Latin neighborhood, and I walk into a restaurant, I might not be able to eat,” Mr.
Santos said. “They’ll be there with the cameras, ‘Romeo, Romeo!’ Down here, though” — Mr.
Santos gestured to the indifferent crowd milling on the sidewalk outside the movie theater —
“it’s not like that.”

What is the definitive 21st-century New York musical act? A pop critic would probably point to
one of the city’s arty indie-rock standard bearers, like TV On the Radio or Animal Collective, or
to a rapper like Jay-Z. But pose the question to Latin music fans — or to hit radio listeners in
Latin America, the Caribbean and Europe — and the answer will likely be Aventura, whose
blend of bachata with R&B, hip-hop and big-city attitude has created a swaggering, distinctly
New York style.

The result is a juggernaut. Over the last decade Aventura has racked up millions of record sales
and established a near-permanent perch in the upper reaches of the Billboard Latin charts, while
graduating from South Bronx clubs to arena tours of Latin America. But the group’s reach
extends beyond the Hispanophone world. It has topped the charts across Europe and has had hits
as far afield as Israel. Its 2002 breakthrough hit “Obsesión” was the No. 1 song in Italy for 16
consecutive weeks.

“It’s very difficult for Latin music in the States to be broadly popular because it’s such a big
country, and it’s so segmented, said Leila Cobo, the executive director for Latin content and
programming at Billboard magazine. “But Aventura is extremely popular everywhere —
nationally, even globally. They are a phenomenon.”

In the U.S., though, that phenomenon is circumscribed by language and ethnicity. Aventura is
ubiquitous in the Latin media, but absent from Top 40 radio and major network talk shows.
Those outlets that do address Latin music tend to prefer the quirky and obscure, ignoring
mainstream sounds embraced by millions.

Aventura hopes to change things with the release this week of its seventh album, “The Last”
(Premium Latin/Sony International). It is the group’s most explicit overture yet to non-Latinos,
with dashes of rock and collaborations with Top 40 artists like Akon and Ludacris. It is also
Aventura’s surest, catchiest record, a chance for Anglophone tastemakers (and perhaps a few of
those Union Square commuters) to discover New York’s headiest hybridizers — not shaggy
Brooklyn art-rockers, but a Dominican-American boy band last seen headlining Madison Square

Aventura’s hybrid is rooted in the lilting sound that first emerged in the Dominican Republic in
the 1960s. Bachata began as spare country music: love ballads crooned over acoustic guitar
picking and stark percussion. But by the early 1980s a new generation of bachateros had plugged
in their guitars and sped up the tempos, gentrifying a sound that had long been stigmatized as
seedy hick music. It was this more pop-friendly second-generation bachata — singers like Luis
Vargas and Antony Santos — that Aventura’s members heard during their Bronx boyhoods.
When he was 13, Mr. Santos joined a church choir in a ploy to meet girls. Instead he discovered
he could sing and began developing the voice that is Aventura’s signature: a high, fluttering
falsetto, carrying both softness and bite. He started experimenting with songwriting and
eventually formed a group, Los Teenagers, with another vocalist, his cousin Henry Santos Jeter,
and a pair of brothers, the guitarist Lenny Santos and the bassist-rapper Max Santos, who are
unrelated to Anthony.

The quartet honed its skills playing club dates in New York and New Jersey, building a grassroots
following among young Dominican-Americans. In 1999 the band signed a record deal with
the independent label Premium Latin, which changed the group’s name to Aventura (Spanish for
“adventure”) and released a 12-song CD.

That album’s title, “Generation Next,” broadcast Aventura’s bravado. But it wasn’t until 2002,
with the international hit “Obsesión,” that the group found a sound worthy of its bluster. A
yearning come-on, “Obsesión” was, like most Aventura songs, written by Mr. Santos, arranged
by Lenny and anchored in bare-bones bachata: a wafting melody, a jittery guitar line, chattering
rhythms from bongos and güiro.

The singing, though, veered towards R&B, with curling melismas and speedy vocal syncopations
reminiscent of R. Kelly and Beyoncé, and the lyrics included hip-hop-style boasts about clothes
and Lexus cars. It was a sharp departure from bachata orthodoxy, and Aventura upped the ante
by recording an English-language “Obsesión” remix. It called its next album “We Broke the
Rules,” and purists rose to the bait, criticizing the group for sullying bachata and dismissing it as
the “Dominicano ’N Sync.”

The band members clearly relish their role as bachata apostates. On the spoken intro to the new
album Mr. Santos declares, “Criticism was our motivation.” Sitting in his car, he recalled, “In the
beginning, people would look at us and say, ‘This isn’t bachata, this is too urban,’ or ‘This is
some kind of Backstreet Boys thing.’ ”

Aventura responded with more provocation. The members nicknamed themselves K.O.B., short
for “Kings of Bachata,” and posed for an album cover in Beatlemania-era get-up, with matching
suits and moptops. (On record and onstage Aventura’s Fab Four have sharply defined roles:
Anthony is the love man and star; Henry, 29, the clown; Lenny, 29, the craftsman and music
nerd; Max, 27, “the thug one.”)

Musically they have pushed bachata into new territory: singing (and rapping) in slangy
Spanglish, collaborating with reggaetón stars like Don Omar and Tego Calderón, even mashing
up bachata and Bollywood with “Un Chi Chi.” As the hits have piled up, the band’s critics have
been replaced by followers — U.S.-based, pop-oriented bachata acts like Xtreme and Toby
Love, a former Aventura backup singer. In several songs on “The Last,” Mr. Santos slips in a
taunting catchphrase apparently directed at the imitators: “Y’all can’t do it like we do it.”
The band’s success is a familiar New York story. For decades the city has been a laboratory of
cultural cross-pollination; like Latin jazz and salsa innovators before them, Aventura has infused
a Caribbean folk music with New York feistiness and savoir faire to capture the sensibilities of
its own generation of Latinos.

“Aventura are clearly speaking to bilingual, bicultural youth for whom the old, straight-
Dominican ways of presenting themselves doesn’t reflect who they are,” said Deborah Pacini
Hernandez, an associate professor at Tufts University and the author of “Bachata: A Social
History of a Dominican Popular Music.”

“I think we put the cool in bachata,” Mr. Santos said. “In the old days maybe kids would hear
bachata and say, ‘O.K., I love the song, but, you know, this guy dresses like my grandfather.’ ”
Mr. Santos certainly isn’t grandfatherly, but there is something old-fashioned in his appeal. He
specializes in sensuous love songs — declarations of passion, brokenhearted plaints, pleas for
forgiveness — singing with a courtliness reminiscent of balladeers like Julio Iglesias.
But the songs aren’t gooey valentines. On “The Last” songs like “Su Vida” — a hard-edged
portrait of a prostitute — and the catchy hit “Por Un Segundo” mix tenderness and toughness,
slang and sharply drawn details.

“He’s a very good songwriter,” Ms. Cobo said of Mr. Santos. “He doesn’t just sing straight love
songs. There’s always a strong narrative.”

If concert audiences are any indication, Aventura’s stories hold special meaning for Latinas.
Even in the songs that are the roughest on women — like the new album’s “Peligro,” a bitter
rant about a gold-digger — Mr. Santos’s lyrics, like his quavering voice, carry a vulnerability
that sets Aventura apart from the coarser sexual politics of rap and reggaetón.

Listening to “The Last” it’s clear that Aventura hopes to broaden its audience beyond that core
constituency. The current single, “All Up 2 You,” has a thudding dance beat that verges on Eurodisco, and Auto-Tune-slathered guest vocals by the R&B star Akon and the reggaetón duo Wisin & Yandel. Then there’s another dance-pop song, “Spanish Fly,” featuring a rap by Ludacris and reggae-flavored hooting by Wyclef Jean. The inclusion of Mr. Jean is an eyebrow raiser: is it any coincidence that Aventura called on the guest star of the most successful Latin crossover hit in
recent memory, Shakira’s 2006 smash “Hips Don’t Lie”?

In truth “Hips Don’t Lie” was only a quasi-crossover; the music nods to cumbia and reggaetón,
but Shakira sings in English. A Spanish-language Hot 100 hit remains rare — as much of a
novelty as “Macarena,” the goofy 1995 blockbuster by Los Del Rio of Spain. But given shifting
demographics and business models — a growing Latino music audience and a fragmented pop
marketplace — Latino artists may not desire, or need, a place in the mainstream hit parade.
Ludacris, who raps in charmingly accented Spanglish in his “Spanish Fly” guest appearance,
might well covet a piece of Aventura’s audience as much as the band does his.
Still, Mr. Santos is not coy about his crossover ambitions. The question is: Will his band mates
be along for the ride? The new album’s title, “The Last,” refers to the end of Aventura’s
recording contract with Premium Latin, and several songs teasingly suggest that it is the group’s
swan song.

Back in his Range Rover, Mr. Santos acknowledged plans for “solo projects,” regardless of
whether Aventura breaks up. It is not hard to envision Mr. Santos finding mainstream solo
success. He has sung in English, his first language, on all of Aventura’s albums, and would bring
fresh charisma to the ranks of R&B and pop lotharios. Aventura’s genre-blending experiments
have proven that bachata is portable. It is tempting to imagine Mr. Santos leading a Dominican
incursion into the Top 40 the way Dominican baseball players have conquered another national

But he has different ideas. “Whether I’m doing my solo project or we’re continuing with
Aventura, this is the last full bachata album,” he said. “I’m not saying I’m going to leave behind
bachata totally. But I want to do a lot of different stuff.”

“The Last” ends with something different, a romping dance number in the accordion-propelled
merengue típico style. The song, “Gracias,” is the closest Aventura comes to an out-and-out
farewell to its fans. It is also a classic piece of New York chutzpah: a boast masquerading as a
thank you note.

“Gracias,” Mr. Santos sings, “por su admiración/Por sus aplausos y tanto amor, amor,
amor.”—“Thank you for your admiration/For your applause and so much love, love, love.”
ESTRADA COMMUNICATIONS GROUP, INC. 13729 Research Blvd • Suite 610-219 • Austin, TX • 78750 • T (512) 335-7776 • F (512) 335-2226


CENTRO and Telemundo Tampa Partner To Provide Hurricane Preparedness Information To Hispanics in Tampa Bay 

June 30, 2009, 12:10 pm  
La Voz de Dalton El Periódico de la Comunidad Hispana en Español 
TAMPA, Fla., June 29 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ -- CENTRO, the leading Spanish-language weekly publication in the Tampa Bay area is pleased to announce a partnership with Telemundo Tampa to provide Hurricane preparedness information to Hispanics in the Bay area effective June 27 though November 31, 2009.
The objective of this partnership is to provide emergency preparedness relevant information in Spanish through a multimedia approach through print, online, and television. Telemundo, will air a 25 second capsule monthly. CENTRO will feature a dedicated Hurricane weather page the last Friday of every month (June 26, July 31, August 28, September 25, October 30)., will feature an interactive Hurricane guide linked to The content is provided courtesy of meteorologists from News Channel 8's Storm Team 8, and
"We are very happy with this important partnership. Together, Telemundo and Centro can better inform our community and help them get ready for the possibility of a hurricane," said Jayme Ribeiro Neto, General Manager of Telemundo Tampa.
WRMD Telemundo Tampa is owned by ZGS Communications, a Hispanic-owned media company headquartered in Arlington, Virginia that owns or operates 12 Spanish-language television stations, representing the largest group of independent stations affiliated with the Telemundo television network. WRMD prides itself on its commitment to service, local programming, and the celebration of Hispanic heritage. Telemundo, a U.S. Spanish-language television network is the essential entertainment, news, and sports source for Hispanics and a leading international player in the entertainment industry with presence in more than 100 countries worldwide. Broadcasting unique national and local programming for the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population, Telemundo reaches 93% of U.S. Hispanic viewers in 210 markets.
CENTRO Grupo de Comunicacion is a Spanish-language print, and online media operation of the Florida Communications Group. The Florida Communications Group (FCG), owned by Media General, includes newspapers, broadcast television and online operations in West Central Florida. It incorporates Media General's converged operations in Tampa, including The Tampa Tribune and, the No. 1 newspaper/online combination in the Tampa Bay market; WFLA-TV, (NBC) the market broadcast news leader at 5, 5:30, 6 and 11 p.m. weeknights. FCG also includes Highlands Today, Hernando Today, 12 weeklies, and several shopper and niche publications. Source: Scarborough 2008 Release 2; Nielsen Media Research, November 2008 Sweeps Period, Adults 25-54 and Household Ratings
SOURCE CENTRO Grupo de Comunicacion
 Received through Google Alert


Rumbo al Bicentenario de la Independencia de Mexico
     Por Jose Leon Robles De La Torre 
Translating Documents
Inocencio Uresti 
Medallas de Oro en la Olimpiada Nacional 2009, México, D. F.
Miguel Hidalgo: the Father who fathered a country (1753–1811) by Jim Tuck 
INAH firma acuerdo con Google para difundir patrimonio
The MexicoGenWeb Project is Accepting Volunteers
History of el Nuevo Reino de Leon (1577-1723) By Eugenio Del Hoyo
     Translated by Edna G. Brown








General Guadalupe Victoria

Tomo II, Libro 1o. de mi obra inédito: "La Independencia y los Presidentes de México", se toman los siguientes datos.

Gral. don Guadalupe Victoria, cuyo nombre verdadero era José, Miguel, Ramón, Adaucto Fernández y Félix. Fue el primer Presidente de México del 1o. de octubre de 1824 al 31 de marzo de 1829, nació el 29 de septiembre de 1785, en el pueblo de Tamazula, Providencia de Nueva Galicia, ahora ese lugar pertenece al Estado de Durango, siendo hijo de don Manuel Fernández y de doña Ma. Alejandra Félix.

Ingresó a las armas de los independientes cuando era estudiante de Derecho, y su bautizo de fuego fue cuando incorporado a la división que comandaba don Hermenegildo Galeana, en su primera batalla el 25 de noviembre de 1812, en Oaxaca, con ardoroso fuego de juventud, arrojó su espada al otro lado de unos fosos que le impedían el paso, diciendo: ¡Va mi espada en prenda, voy por ella! Y arrojándose tras de su acero sin medir el peligro que podía costarle la vida, cumplió su palabra y atacando con furia a los realistas, seguidode los demás compañeros, obtuvieron un triunfo rotundo y decidió llamarse Guadalupe Victoria, en honor de la Virgen de Guadalupe y su primera victoria.

El Congreso de Veracruz le hizo un reconocimiento por sus méritos en campaña. Victoria Presidente: después de varios años de lucha por la Independencia de México, llegó el momento de elecciones para elegir Presidente de México. Victoria regresó de campaña a la Ciudad de México para estar al pendiente del resultado de las elecciones con base en la Constitución de 1824. Resultó electo Victoria y como vicepresidente el general don Vicente Guerrero, quienes tomaron posesión de su cargo el dos de octubre de 1824.  

Durante su mandato vino a México como Ministro Plenipotenciario de los Estados Unidos, Joel R. Poinset, que traía instrucciones secretas para proponer el anexamiento de tierras a los Estados Unidos, más abajo de los límites divisorios del Tratado de 1819. Hizo gran división entre los jefes mexicanos, implantado su partido Yorkino, contra el Escocés.

Le tocó a Victoria el Plan de don Manuel Montaño, que pertenecía al bando escocés, contra los yorkinos.

Efectuadas las elecciones, entregó el poder al Gral. Vicente Guerrero, que resultó electo contra el General Nicolás Bravo, el 1o. de abril de 1829, retirándose a una hacienda que alquiló en las inmediaciones de Martínez de la Torre y Tlapacoyan, Veracruz, con su esposa doña Felipa Meza e hijos e hijas y entre sus descendientes se encontraba como bisnieta doña Felipa Cruz Victoria y Flores que todavía vivía en el año de 1953 y un señor Victoria Gómez, que escribió una documentada biografía de Victoria... el Gral. Victoria, ya viudo, en 1841 contrajo segundas nupcias con doña Ma. Antonia Bretón con la que no dejó descendencia.

El Gral. Guadalupe Victoria, benemérito de la patria, enfermó en noviembre del 41 y se recluyó en su hacienda de Tlapacoyan, Ver., de donde fue trasladado a Tesitán, Puebla para su atención médica, donde murió 21 de marzo del 43 a la edad de 57 años, seis meses y ocho días, sus restos estuvieron en Perote por algún tiempo, luego a la Ciudad de México.



 General Vicente Guerrero

General de División, Mariscal de Campo don Vicente Guerrero Saldaña, fue el segundo Presidente de México, y caudillo de la Independencia.

Datos del Tomo II, Libro 7 de mi obra "La Independencia y los Presidentes de México", inédita, con 69 libritos en trece tomos y con 6,190 cuartillas. Ahora corresponde este artículo al segundo Presidente del México Independiente, General de División, Mariscal de Campo don Vicente Guerrero Saldaña y Campos de Rodríguez, nacido el ocho de agosto de 1782 en el pueblo de Tixtla del hoy Estado de Guerrero y su nombre completo fue Vicente Ramón, hijo de don Juan Pedro Guerrero y de doña Ma. Guadalupe Saldaña y Campos Rodríguez, de arraigo religioso ancestral, creció ejerciendo el trabajo de arriero con una buena recua de burros caminaba por los caminos del sur, de pueblo en pueblo llevando mercaderías para su venta.

Al iniciarse la guerra de independencia en 1810, Guerrero se sentía entusiasmado por la causa de la libertad, uniéndose a las fuerzas de Morelos que comandaba don Hermenegildo Galeana el mes de octubre de 1810, con el nombramiento de Capitán ordenado por Morelos, participando en varias acciones de combate, pero la mayor victoria fue lograda el 23 de febrero de 1812 contra las fuerzas realistas que mandaba De Llano, luego se unió a Morelos en las desgraciadas luchas de 1813 en Carácuaro y Valladolid.

En 1815, Guerrero ya comandaba ejército con el que se enfrentó a las fuerzas realistas de Armijo, obteniendo algunos triunfos. Después de varios años de lucha sirviendo al gobierno de Victoria, fue postulado candidato a la Presidencia de la República por el Partido Yorkino, contra el General Gómez Pedraza, que postulaba el escocés, obteniendo Guerrero el triunfo el 1o. de septiembre de 1828. El 1o. de abril de 1829, tomó posesión de la Presidencia, teniendo problemas con el Ministro Plenipotenciario de los Estados Unidos Joel R. Poinset, que traía instrucciones de dividir a los jefes mexicanos y obtener territorio para su país. También traía fuerte lucha contra el General Anastasio Bustamante, lográndose que el Congreso imposibilitara a Guerrero para ejercer el Supremo Poder Ejecutivo, por lo que con un regular ejército se cuela a los caminos del sur que tan bien conocía para combatir al poder que lo desalojaba de la Presidencia, el cuatro con fecha cuatro de febrero de 1830, siendo perseguido fuertemente por el ejército en el poder.

Guerrero se embarcó en el Puerto de Huatulco a bordo del Bergantín Colombo el 25 de enero de 1831, a donde fue invitado por el capitán don Francisco Picaluga, para un almuerzo, pero éste lo traicionó y lo entregó a las autoridades enemigas y el ocho de febrero de 1831, lo llevaron prisionero al convento de Santo Domingo en Oaxaca.

Fue interrogado, procesado y sentenciado a muerte, con mucha prisa, ejecutando la sentencia, en mi pueblo de Cuilapa el 14 de febrero de 1831, se le condujo al costado del curato del pueblo y puesto de rodillas fue ejecutado, sepultando sus restos en la iglesia del curato. El traidor Picaluga, huyó al extranjero.

El General don Antonio López de Santa Anna, compadre y amigo de Guerrero, logró que el Congreso declarara, postmortem, a Guerrero benemérito de la patria el cuatro de abril de 1833.

Los restos de Guerrero, por acuerdo del Congreso de Oaxaca, fueron trasladados de Cuilapa a Oaxaca y posteriormente fueron trasladados a la Ciudad de México y depositados en la Columna de la Independencia.

El Estado de Guerrero lleva su nombre por decreto expedido por el presidente don José Joaquín de Herrera el 27 de octubre de 1849.



Translating Old Documents

Viola,  Prima, you have more experience than I do with translating old documents.  A 5th, also a 6th cousin - once removed, Helen Wallace asked for help.  She needs assistance to translate this Spanish document pertaining to her great- grandparents.  
Reading old Spanish documents is difficult. I was able to enlarge the document to fill an entire page, but I am guessing at some words, every now and then.  A marriage  investigation document is my conclusion, after seeing the word, Matrimony in the 4th line from the bottom.  Maybe the document is faded, but I suspect that the ink bleed from the opposite side of the page.  I am wondering who is Dona Luisa Rodriquez?.
Eddie Garcia

Dear Eddie,
Here are the transcription and translation of the marriage. 
I have also added some comments.

D. Antonio Oli
veira soltero con
Ma. Luisa Tamez
Junio 30, 1850

En la Villa de San Miguel de Bustamante ayuda de Parroquia de Villa Aldama en treinta de Junio de mil ochosientos cincuenta. Yo el Bachiller Jose Antonio Gonzalez Guerra, cura interino de esta Villa, Case, infacie Ecclesia; a Dn Antonio Oliveira originario y vecino de la Villa de Camargo, con Maria Luisa Tamez, originaria y vecina de Vallecillo, hija legitima de D. Juan Tamez y Da. Luisa Rodriguez difunta. Habiendo se prescedido a la informacion y proclamas, segun dispocision Consiliar, en tres dias festivos que lo fueron en 23, 24, y 29 del presente Junio, y se presencio a el Matrimonio a el que asistieron como Padrinos
D Benito Cazo y Da Felicidad Cazo; Lo que para dar de constancia firme
        Jose Ant.o Gonz.z Guerra

In the Villa of San Miguel de Bustamante, chapel of Villa Aldama on the 30th of June of 1850, I, the degreed Jose Antonio Gonzalez Guerra, interim curate of this Villa, married  (in the church) Don Antonio Oliveira, native and resident of the Villa of Camargo; to Maria Luisa Tamez, native and resident of Vallecillo, legitimate daughter of Don Juan Tamez and Doña Luisa Rodriguez, deceased. Having the information and banns preceded, according to the Council’s (of Trent) disposition, on three holy days which were on the 23rd, 24th, and 29th of the current month of June, and the Marriage took place, in which the padrinos who attended were Don Benito Cazo and Doña Felicidad Cazo; To certify I signed,
Jose Antonio Gonzalez Guerra


Some notes:
•    Bachiller = Literally means bachelor, as one who has passed the first university examination. In the church records this title usually referred to the priest to indicate he was a degreed curate.

•    Infacie Ecclesia =  This latin phrase literally means “in the face of the church’ or in front of the church or altar. The phrase is found in varied spellings, but means the same thing, that the event happened in a church. In this case, the marriage took place in the “ayuda de Parroquia” which literally means an aid of the main parish. It was usually a chapel in someone’s hacienda or in a smaller town.

•    The name of the father of the bride: At first reading I saw it as Jesus, but the more I looked at it, the more I doubted myself, and thought it could be Juan. I checked the IGI and there was a Juan Tamez who married Maria del Refugio Santos on the same date (30 June 1850) in the same church. So it would  appear that Maria Luisa and Juan had a double wedding.

The IGI also showed another Oliveira. Francisco Oliveira married Maria Micaela Elizondo on 28 August 1850 in the same church. Francisco and Antonio are most likely brothers. Maybe Francisco’s marriage record has the names of the parents.

•    Disposicion Consiliar refers to the Council of Trent. This was the ecuminical council that met in the 16th century in Trent, Italy, to set up the rituals of the Catholic church. The two requisites mentioned here are the “información” and the “proclamas.” The información matrimonial was kind of an application where testimony is given by all the parties involved, swearing to their “singleness” (not currently married, promised to marry someone else, widowed, or having a relationship that required a dispensation). The second requirement was the “proclamas” which is one of the words found to mean banns. Other words are “monestaciones” or “amonestaciones.” There may be others I cannot recall right now.

•    Tres Dias festivos refers to the days that the banns were heard. According to the Council of Trent decree, the banns had to be announced on at least three separate days during the time of the Mass. Since Mass was a daily occurance, and each day is a festive one, the three days of the banns did not necessarily have to be on Sundays.

Just one more word on this document. The padrinos have the same last name. If it were a married couple it was more likely that the woman would have used her own surname. But it may have happened that the priest did not know it, did not ask to record it, or that they may have been cousins with the same last name.  Another possibility is that the couple are brother and sister, or father and daughter. Interesting also, is that the parents of the groom were not named.

I enjoyed working on this document. I probably gave you more information than you really wanted, but I always like to have additional background on the documents. Good luck in your research!

Abrazos, Viola
My blog: 






- 1st Marriage: 
Inocencio URESTI (1853-1934) married on 22 July 1875 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Victoria, Victoria County, Texas, Emily Carmen MORA.  Before marriage, Inocencio  participated in a cattle drive to Kansas City.  He was the son of Jose Guadalupe URESTI and Maria Francisca GARCIA (married on 16 Nov 1835 in Matamoros, Nuevo Leon, Mexico).  His grandparents were from Nueva España, below the Rio Grande:  Jose Ramon URESTE and Gregoria MOYA, (m. 23 Dec 1795), also Simon GARCIA and Maria Rafaela RIVAS.  In contrast, Emily’s birth in Nacogdoches, about 1856, and died was and buried on July 1889 in Nursery, Texas) had ancestors from there and Louisiana, then in Texas Territory under the Spanish government and Mexico.

According to Nacogdoches County Census records (while part of Mexico, 1832-1835, also US Texas Census) Emily’s father, Jose Emidio MORA, (b. 1831), in Texas and Maria Isadora PANTALEON (1833-1870) was born in Louisiana.  The MORA grandparents, Juan MORA in 1800 and Maria Carmel YBARRO in 1812, were both born in Texas.  A family member has indicated that YBARBO, was a descendant of Antonio Gil YBARBO (1729-1809) and the Founder of Nacogdoches was born in Louisiana.  The great-grandfather, Mariano MORA was also born in Louisiana about 1774 and his wife, Trinidad PROSELA, was born in Texas.                    

1876-1887 children of URESTI and MORA:  Manuel Mora U (+ Carmen …. & Lena LOPEZ); Hilario “Eli” (+ Josefina GONZALEZ ¹; Jose Ramon (died within 3 years); Inocencio Jr. (+ Magdelena GONZALEZ ¹); Vidal (+ Antonia GONZALEZ ¹); Maria Guadalupe (+ Julius HENSON); Francisco, a single man. (¹ Josefina, Magdelena, and Antonia GONZALEZ, from Nursery, were sisters.)  URESTI RANCH - - The original URESTI Ranch consisted of 20 acres in Spring Creek, Victoria County, Texas where Inocencio  and a few of his siblings were born.  The Nursery, Texas ranch, 442 8/10 acres, about 10 miles NW of Victoria, was purchased by Jose Guadalupe URESTE on 17 July 1854, for $500 from Francisco Santiago De LEON, grandson of Empresario Martin De LEON who was adopted by his Uncle, Francisco De LEON.  Guadalupe’s brand was U bar V (U-V) and Inocencio, was vested in half of the ranch, had a bar U (-U) brand.  The other half of the ranch was vested to  Florencio URESTI.  Another brother, Julian URESTI, who relocated to San Diego, Texas, accepted cash for his vested interest, ¼ of ranch. The ranch was part of the Estate of Sylvestre De LEON Grant.  Before the purchase, Francisco Santiago De LEON baptized Inocencio URESTI on 27 Feb 1854.  In 1856, Francisco Santiago became Inocencio’s brother-in-law upon marrying his first wife, Matilde URESTE, the mother of his 6 children. 

- 2nd Marriage:   Inocencio URESTI, born 27 Dec 1853 in Spring Creek, Texas; died in Nursery, Texas; married on 9 Dec 1889 at St. Francis de Paula Catholic Church, San Diego, Duval County, Texas, (2) Maria GARCIA.  She was born on 17 May 1871 in San Diego; died on 17 June 1955, San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas.  Maria was the daughter of Jose Maria GARCIA and Maria Matiana PEREZ (married, 17 Apr 1844 in Mier, Tamaulipas, Mexico).  Her grandparents were Jose Remigio GARCIA and Maria Isabel FLORES, also Jose de Jesus PEREZ and Maria Inez GONZALEZ.  The grave site of Inocencio URESTI and Maria GARCIA is located at Victoria, Texas Evergreen Cemetery, near a statue honoring Martin De LEON, the founder of the Victoria Colony. 

1892-1911 children of URESTI and GARCIA:  Amando (+ Isabel DeLEON, a descendant of Martin DeLEON); Eloisa (d. abt 1900); Alberto (d. 1913); Maclovia (+ Jacobo ALVARADO); Enrique (+ Carmen HERNANDEZ); Gilberto (d. 1912); Eduardo (+ Guadalupe ORTIZ, had 75th marriage rite); Samuel (+ Fela CAVAZOS); Sofia¹ (+ Arturo A GARCIA, also a Julian FLORES descendant);  All of Inocencio’s 64 grandchildren were born between 1897 to 1960.  Before Amando was born, Inocencio URESTI, was appointed in Victoria to served as School Board member of Spring Creek, No. 5, for Victoria’s School District from 1 Sep 1892 to 3 Aug 1896.  A brother, Julian URESTI, was also School Board Trustee in his community, shared in-laws and their children were double cousins. (¹ Sofia U GARCIA, 1911-2007, and double cousin, Gregoria URESTI, 1875-1978, daughter of Julian URESTI, lived longer than their siblings.)  Gregoria also became the last resident of "The Uresti House" in San Diego, Texas that was purchased by Duval County, then restored as a Historical Landmark, which is now a museum. 

The URESTI brothers, Julian and Inocencio, married GARCIA sisters, who were the great-granddaughters of Jose Julian FLORES. Julian and son Ventura FLORES were granted the San Diego Land Grant by the Spanish government in early 1800’s; then the Republic of Mexico on 22 July 1831 granted the perfected grant of 39,680 acres.  (location, Duval and Jim Wells Counties;)  Julian FLORES (+ Maria Teresa RAMIREZ) was the grantee of “San Diego de Arriba” and Jose Ventura FLORES was the grantee of San Diego de Abajo”.  640 acres, 320 acres from each track, was surveyed and set aside for the township of San Diego for the public's benefit (church, school, parks, city lots, etc.). 

Eddie U Garcia – (760) 252-3588 –


México, D. F. a 23 de junio de 2009 Número:825 


En el marco de la Olimpiada Nacional 2009, los integrantes de la delegación “Mexicanos en el Exterior” obtuvieron en días pasados dos preseas de oro como resultado de su destacada participación en la máxima justa deportiva nacional. 

Carlos Rubén Navarro, quien es originario de Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, y residente en Dallas, Texas, obtuvo la medalla de oro en la especialidad de taekwondo, correspondiente a la categoría Juvenil Menor Fly (13-14 años).

La competencia tuvo lugar en el Centro de Alto Rendimiento de la ciudad de Tijuana, Baja California.  Asimismo, Emiliano Kaptain Arce, quien radica en Washington, D.C., logró una presea de oro en esgrima en la categoría de Cadete Mayor (16-17 años).

La justa deportiva fue en la ciudad de Mexicali, Baja California, en donde se dieron cita los mejores atletas de México de este deporte.

Ambos atletas coincidieron en que es un gran orgullo participar en representación de los mexicanos que radican fuera de México. También indicaron que no se trata de la victoria en una competencia más, sino de la mejor forma de expresar el orgullo de ser mexicanos.

La delegación “Mexicanos en el Exterior” compite en las siguientes disciplinas deportivas de la Olimpiada Nacional 2009: bádminton, canotaje, ciclismo, esgrima, fútbol, tenis y taekwondo. A la fecha, la delegación ha obtenido 4 medallas: las 2 de oro antes señaladas, así como 2 de bronce correspondientes a fútbol femenil y atletismo, en la especialidad de 110 metros con vallas.


Miguel Hidalgo: the Father who fathered a country (1753–1811) 
by Jim Tuck 


Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla had the unique distinction of being a father in three senses of the word: a priestly father in the Roman Catholic Church, a biological father who produced illegitimate children in defiance of his clerical vows, and the father of his country. Though Guadalupe Victoria was, like Washington, his country's first president, Hidalgo was, like Washington, the man who launched a colonial independence struggle against a European mother country that had become excessively oppressive.

Hidalgo was born on the Corralejo hacienda near Pénjamo, Guanajuato, on May 8, 1753. His father, don Cristóbal, was of middle-class creole background and served as the hacienda's administrator. Sent to the Colegio San Nicolás in Valladolid, Hidalgo received his bachelor's degree in theology in 1773 and was ordained in 1778.

But he never took his priestly vows too seriously. He fathered two daughters out of wedlock, read the anti-clerical works of the French Encyclopedic philosophers and seemed to regard the Church as a sort of sinecure which would provide him with a regular income. Among classmates he was known el zorro, "the fox."

Hidalgo's two outstanding characteristics were as an entrepreneur and a humanitarian, with the roles inextricably intertwined. After ordination, he steadily mounted the hierarchical ladder, each time serving in a richer and more desirable parish. In 1803, at the age of fifty, he arrived in the Guanajuato town of Dolores accompanied by an entourage that included a younger brother, a cousin, two half sisters and two illegitimate daughters. His elder brother, a man of influence, had helped him attain this coveted parish, which brought in between eight and nine thousand pesos revenue annually.

Once ensconced in Dolores, Hidalgo turned over most of the clerical duties to one of his vicars, Father Francisco Iglesias, and devoted himself almost exclusively to business, intellectual pursuits and humanitarian activity.

In a strenuous effort to improve the economic well-being of his parishioners, Hidalgo turned his house into a night school for local artisans. He started a pottery factory, ran a leather curing process, grew mulberry trees for the nourishment of silkworms, cultivated vineyards and olive groves, and established workshops for carpentry, harness making, blacksmithing and weaving wool.

Hidalgo's political and intellectual growth was nurtured by membership in the literary societies that were so prevalent in colonial Mexico in the early 19th century. These literary circles, which soon became political circles, were the true incubators of the independence movement in Mexico.

Hidalgo's impulse toward freedom for his people was also fed by a strong egalitarian instinct. At both Dolores and San Felipe, his previous parish, Hidalgo opened his house not only to Frenchified creole intellectuals from whom he derived many of his ideas but also to downtrodden Indians and mestizos. It was Hidalgo's empathy with the masses that would be both his great asset and fatal flaw once the independence movement got started.

An intellectual comrade -- later to become a comrade in arms -- was a young captain named Ignacio Allende. Allende headed one of the political-literary circles in Querétaro and he and Hidalgo soon became active co-conspirators against Spanish rule. This spirit intensified in 1808, when Napoleon installed his brother Joseph as king of Spain. Though the rebellious creoles in Mexico shared with Napoleon the ideals of the French Enlightenment, they believed that by now Napoleon had become a power-hungry despot and they had no wish to pledge allegiance to his brother. So they originally rallied to the cause of the deposed Bourbon king Ferdinand VII, who later turned out to be an ultra-reactionary.

Hidalgo and Allende had originally planned the rising for December 8, 1810. But there were leaks among the conspirators and plans for the rebellion were sniffed out by the magistrate of Querétaro. Fortunately for the conspirators, his wife, Josefa Ortiz, was a strong supporter of the rebellion. Though the magistrate locked her in her room, she signaled her next door neighbor, Ignacio Pérez, to come over. Through the keyhole she told Pérez, a fellow conspirator, that her husband planned to arrest Allende. But Allende had already left to confer with Hidalgo and decide what to do to meet the emergency.

The result was Hidalgo's famed grito ("shout") from his pulpit at 11 p.m. of September 15. Though the grito is hailed today as a declaration of independence from Spain, is reality it was a declaration of defiance against Joseph Bonaparte and the Spaniards resident in Mexico as well as a declaration of allegiance to the very undeserving Ferdinand VII.

Gathering together a Peter-the-Hermit force that was as much a mob as an army, Hidalgo and Allende at first swept everything before them. Gathering adherents like a snowball rolling downhill, this mob-army numbered several hundred when it captured San Miguel (today San Miguel de Allende), 6,000 when it entered Celaya, 20,000 when it rolled into Guanajuato, 50,000 when it overran Valladolid and 82,000 as it engulfed Toluca and menaced Mexico City.

Though Hidalgo and Allende were excommunicated September 24 by the bishop of Michoacán, this didn't seem to bother a man who seemed daily to be thinking of himself more as a general than as a priest. On October 19, as his large but ragtag force was preparing to march on Mexico City, Hidalgo was named generalissimo of all rebel forces and outfitted with a garish blue, scarlet, black and gold uniform that made him resemble a Roxy usher.

Hidalgo's peasant army, in the tradition of the jacquerie of 14th century France, settled scores against the ruling elite with vengeful brutality. San Miguel, Celaya and Guanajuato were all sacked, with peaceful citizens the victims of mob violence. In Valladolid, the courageous canon of the cathedral went unarmed to meet Hidalgo and exacted a promise that the atrocities of San Miguel, Celaya and Guanajuato would not be repeated. The canon achieved a partial victory. Though wholesale destruction was not repeated, Hidalgo was furious when he found the cathedral locked. (He had wanted to say a prayer of thanksgiving.) So he locked up all the Spaniards, replaced city officials with his own and looted the city treasury before marching off toward Mexico City.

While Hidalgo didn't order the violence, he seems to have been powerless to control it. This brought him into conflict with Allende, a disciplined and orderly professional. Friction between the two started as early as the initial engagement at San Miguel. When a mob ran through the town, Allende tried to calm its members down by striking at them with the flat of his sword. The brought a rebuke from Hidalgo, on grounds that Allende was mistreating the people. This was the first of many quarrels, disputes that would inevitably take their toll.

Hidalgo, in truth, was even less qualified to be a general than he was to be a priest. With Mexico City almost in his grasp, he inexplicably turned back toward Guadalajara. His army began to melt away and was down to about 40,000 when he was defeated at Aculco on November 7 by the able royalist general Felix Calleja.

However, Hidalgo entered Guadalajara in triumph and was able to raise his force to 100,000. All the city's dignitaries and officials still believed that Hidalgo represented the wave of the future. The excommunicated priest was hailed as a liberator, fiestas were given in his honor and he was accorded the title of Supreme Highness.

All the while, Calleja was marching on Guadalajara. Against Allende's advice, on January 14, 1811, Hidalgo concentrated his entire force at Calderón bridge at the eastern outskirts of the city. There the bunched up peasant army was systematically butchered by Calleja's smaller force of seasoned campaigners. Particularly damaging to Hidalgo was the fact that a royalist canon ball hit his munitions dump and set off a holocaust behind the lines.

Calleja entered Guadalajara and Hidalgo and Allende regrouped their forces at Zacatecas. Angered by Hidalgo's ineptitude, Allende assumed supreme command and demoted Hidalgo to a civilian post in charge of political affairs. Having heard of a new rebellion in San Antonio de Bejar (today, San Antonio, Texas), they moved north to join it. But on March 21, in the mountains of Coahuila, they were ambushed by a traitor and turned over to the Spanish authorities.

Because he was a priest, albeit an excommunicated one, Hidalgo was turned over to the bishop of Durango for an official defrocking. On July 30, 1811, he was shot in Chihuahua. With a gallantry that impressed all, Hidalgo calmly instructed members of the firing squad to aim for the right hand that he placed over his heart.

Despite his failings as a priest and a general, Miguel Hidalgo was still a great man. His compassion for the underdog, his hatred of injustice and his intelligent and creative approach to economic development all contribute to his well-deserved title as father of his country.

Published on October 9, 2008 by Jim Tuck © 2008 | Contact Jim Tuck

Sent by Dr. Armando Ayala 
Lecturer EMERITUS 2003 
Ca. State Univ.-Sacramento 
Multilingual/Multicultural Ed. Dept. 
College of Education

INAH firma acuerdo con Google para difundir patrimonio


Tiene como objetivo potenciar el interés de los usuarios de internet por la antropología, arqueología e historia de México
EFE, El Universal, Ciudad de México Martes 16 de junio de 2009

El patrimonio histórico mexicano inundará internet a partir de hoy gracias a que el motor de búsqueda Google ha puesto su tecnología al servicio del Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (INAH), con un acuerdo conjunto firmado este martes.
El convenio, que no lleva aparejado desembolso económico alguno por las partes, aspira a potenciar el interés de los cibernautas en antropología, arqueología e historia, como parte de una estrategia que sensibilice sobre la importancia de la conservación de los bienes culturales de México, y, al mismo tiempo, fomentar la visita del público a estos lugares.
Además del buscador tradicional, el INAH utilizará las herramientas de Google Earth, Google Maps y la plataforma de video en internet Youtube, donde tendrán su propio canal:
El Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia "colgará" en ese sitio videos de los bienes culturales resguardados en museos, información de las tradiciones de los pueblos indígenas y detalles de los proyectos de exploración arqueológica.
Con la tecnología satelital de Google Earth, el público podrá obtener la ubicación geográfica y los planos generales de los museos, zonas arqueológicas y monumentos históricos.
Google Maps brindará una guía con direcciones y rutas desde diferentes ubicaciones y mostrará cómo llegar a cada uno de los destinos culturales del país y el tiempo estimado de trayecto, datos que serán registrados en los sistemas de posicionamiento global (GPS).
Por su parte, el INAH brindará la información, las fotografías y los videos que se incluirán en los servicios de la plataforma Google.
El director de Google México, John Farrel, destacó que con este proyecto el buscador cumple con su objetivo de "organizar toda la información del mundo y hacerla accesible y útil".
Un total de 27 millones de internautas mexicanos emplean las herramientas de Google, lo que -según diversas encuestas- representa entre el 85% y el 92% del total.
Youtube ya cuenta con entre diez y quince millones de usuarios mexicanos diarios, y ese portal ya tiene mil millones de visitas diarias en todo el mundo.
"Antes de tomar una decisión sobre una compra o un viaje, la gente se mete a internet para informarse", explicó Farrel, de ahí la importancia de difundir en la red los destinos turísticos mexicanos.
Por su parte, el director del INAH, Alfonso de María y Campos, destacó que la institución está trabajando cada vez más con las nuevas tecnologías.
El directivo puso como ejemplo el micrositio creado para la exposición Zares, que estuvo este año en el Museo Nacional de Antropología y que recibió 93 mil visitas virtuales, y el de Teotihuacán, en exhibición desde hace dos semanas y que suma ya 5 mil visitas.
De esta manera, durante la alerta sanitaria a causa de la epidemia de gripe A en México, unas 10 mil personas pasearon "en línea" diariamente por los sitios arqueológicos y exposiciones virtuales del INAH.




The MexicoGenWeb Project is Accepting Volunteers


"The past isn't dead. It isn't even past."
William Faulkner

Do you possess mad genealogical skills that you'd like to share with the rest of the world? Do you dream of being a genealogy superhero? If so, do we have a place for you!

Since 1998 MexicoGenWeb has been a free, non-profit, non-commercial, all-volunteer organization providing access to genealogical and historical records, and offering a place for people to connect and share information with each other about their Mexican heritage. MexicoGenWeb, a project of WorldGenWeb, first appeared online December 6, 1998 and was sponsored by Mike Jarvis, of Tucson, Arizona, USA.

Of the 30 Mexican states only seven currently have a Volunteer State Coordinator. Would you, or someone you know, be interested in becoming a Volunteer State Coordinator?

A MexicoGenWeb Volunteer State Coordinator is something of a national treasure. A Volunteer State Coordinator salvages the fragile past by helping others connect the threads of their family histories.

How I Became Involved.
In 2003 I began searching for my father's long lost family in Texas. TexGenWeb, the Texas counterpart to MexicoGenWeb, was an inestimable help to me. Through the TexGenWeb project I was able to locate and contact dozens of aunts and uncles and cousins whom I had never met before. In 2006 we had our first family reunion and family members who had not seen each other in decades were reunited.

The success with my Texas family inspired me to search for the family of our adopted son who is of Mexican heritage. After years of searching I found that my son's people came out of Chihuahua, Mexico, through El Paso, settling in Los Angeles County, California. We have met my son's grandparents and cousins and this reunion has added a great deal to all of our lives. It was my gratitude to the MexicoGenWeb project that moved me to volunteer to be the coordinator of the State of Chihuahua, and then a co-coordinator of Mexico with my partner Rosanna Parra.

Family Values in Practice
Volunteer State Coordinators touch peoples' lives in a profound and timeless way. It is no exaggeration to say that Volunteer State Coordinators salvage information that is in danger of being lost forever. Mexico's past is rich and vibrant and the whole world gains when we preserve and promote this treasured heritage.

Volunteer State Coordinators are not required to reside in the state they serve, or even in Mexico, nor are they required to speak Spanish (or, on the other hand, English), though we welcome and have a need for Mexican residents and native speakers. Volunteer State Coordinators may work as partners or singley. As little as a few hours a month is enough to keep your site updated, though you are encouraged to add to your site as much as you like. If you don't know much about websites or don't have an Internet connection, but you do have information to share, we will be happy to post it for you.

Volunteer State Coordinators are the website managers for their states and are responsible for finding links and genealogical content relevant to those searching in their states. This content might include birth, baptism, marriage, military and death records, Bible records and other documents, photographs, family histories and genealogies, personal narratives and diaries, and other historical information.

Resources are available to the Volunteer State Coordinators to help them easily locate this information. They may also link to content on the main MexicoGenWeb website that updates automatically, keeping their state sites fresh and current.

Each orphan state currently has a place holder and general content. Volunteers may tart up these place holders with fresh colors and designs and easily add new content, or they may archive the place holder and start from scratch with their own unique look and feel.

I am available to answer questions and help new volunteers transition their sites.

Please consider joining with us and being a part of this important work. Contact us today.
Teresa Sitz





Translated by EDNA G. BROWN 
Corpus Christi
, Texas 

The translated text at :  




a. Francisco de Garay and his intentions of colonization on the Las Palmas river (1519-1523)         b. Hernán Cortés and Nuño Beltrán de Guzmán also entered said colonization (1523-1528).          c. Identification of the Las Palmas River 
d. Other trips through the northeast (1529-1573) 

a. Legends, lies, and fantasies 
b. Alberto del Canto, founder of Santa Lucía (1577) 
c. The town of San Luis, foundation of Carvajal (1582) 
d. Gaspar Castaño de Sosa and his entry to New Mexico (1590-1591) 
e. Diego de Montemayor and the foundation of Monterrey  (1596) 
f. Character of the conquest of the New Kingdom of León 

a. The problem of the Judaisers in el Nuevo Reino de León 
[Author skips “a” and call “b” by that name, etc.] 
b. Genealogical tree of the Carvajales 
c. The passengers of the Santa Catalina 
d. Soldiers and inhabitants [non-existent] [Settlers of el Nuevo Reino de León in the Carvajal 
    epoch (1582-1590)] 
e. Jewish quarter in Monterrey? 

a. The three Diegos (1596-1612) 
b. Don Agustín de Zavala and his lieutenants (1614-1626) 
c. Land of living war 
d. Useless fight against misery 

CHAPTER VI    CONSOLIDATION OF THE NUEVO REINO DE LEON (1626-1664)                        a. Humanists in the Nuevo Reino de León 
b. The truth regarding the first town of Cerralvo 
c. The ten-years war 
d. Socio-economic panorama 
e. Foundations, calamities, and other events 

a. Concessions and Indian Congregations 
b. War without end 
c. New foundations 
d. Mines and sugar mills 
e. Parade of governors 

a. The seminary college 
b. Fray Antonio Margil de Jesús 
c. Barbadillo and Victoria 

[For bibliography and charts see original book pages 503 - 635.]

Sent by Mira Smithwick



History of the Dominican Republic
Historical Society of Trinidad and Tobago, Translated letter 1589 of Juan Gamez
Cuban Church Awarded 2009 National Restoration Prize
Colloquium on Hemingway Highlights Cuba’s Influence on the Writer

History of the Dominican Republic


Editor:  My grandson, Collin Skousen is currently serving a Spanish mission in the Dominican Republic for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  He will serve for two years. Naturally, the first things I did when I heard his assignment was to the Dominican Republic was to do a web search, and explore the history of the region.  Hopefully, within the next two years, I will be able to include some first hand comments.   


The Dominican Republic was explored by Columbus on his first voyage in 1492. He named it La Española, and his son, Diego, was its first viceroy. The capital, Santo Domingo, founded in 1496, is the oldest European settlement in the Western Hemisphere.

Spain ceded the colony to France in 1795, and Haitian blacks under Toussaint L'Ouverture conquered it in 1801. In 1808, the people revolted and captured Santo Domingo the next year, setting up the first republic. Spain regained title to the colony in 1814. In 1821 Spanish rule was overthrown, but in 1822 the colony was re-conquered by the Haitians. In 1844, the Haitians were thrown out and the Dominican Republic was established, headed by Pedro Santana. Uprisings and Haitian attacks led Santana to make the country a province of Spain from 1861 to 1865.

President Buenaventura Báez, faced with an economy in shambles, attempted to have the country annexed to the U.S. in 1870, but the U.S. Senate refused to ratify a treaty of annexation. Disorder continued until the dictatorship of Ulíses Heureaux; in 1916, when chaos broke out again, the U.S. sent in a contingent of marines, who remained until 1924.

A sergeant in the Dominican army trained by the marines, Rafaél Leonides Trujillo Molina, overthrew Horacio Vásquez in 1930 and established a dictatorship that lasted until his assassination in 1961, 31 years later. In 1962, Juan Bosch of the leftist Dominican Revolutionary Party, became the first democratically elected president in four decades.

In 1963, a military coup ousted Bosch and installed a civilian triumvirate. Leftists rebelled against the new regime in April 1965, and U.S. president Lyndon Johnson sent in marines and troops. After a cease-fire in May, a compromise installed Hector Garcia-Godoy as provisional president. In 1966, right-wing candidate Joaquin Balaguer won in free elections against Bosch, and U.S. and other foreign troops withdrew.

In 1978, the army suspended the counting of ballots when Balaguer trailed in a fourth-term bid. After a warning from President Jimmy Carter, however, Balaguer accepted the victory of Antonio Guzman of the Dominican Revolutionary Party. In 1982 elections, Salvador Jorge Blanco of the Dominican Revolutionary Party defeated Balaguer and Bosch. Balaguer was again elected president in May 1986 and remained in office for the next ten years.

In 1996, U.S.-raised Leonel Fernandez secured more than 51% of the vote through an alliance with Balaguer. The first item on the president's agenda was the partial sale of some state-owned enterprises. Fernandez was praised for ending decades of isolationism and improving ties with other Caribbean countries, but he was criticized for not fighting corruption or alleviating the poverty that affects 60% of the population.

In Aug. 2000, the center-left Hiplito Meja was elected president amid popular discontent over power outages in the recently privatized electric industry, but in May 2004 presidential elections, he was defeated by former president Leonel Fernandez (1996 –2000). Fernandez instituted austerity measures to rescue the country from its economic crisis, and in the first half of 2006, the economy grew 11.7%.

On May 16, 2008, incumbent president Leonel Fernandez was reelected, taking 53% of the vote. He defeated Miguel Vargas of the Dominican Revolutionary Party, who won 41%.

See also Encyclopedia: Dominican Republic
U.S. State Dept. Country Notes: Dominican Republic
National Statistics Office (In Spanish Only) .



The Historical Society of Trinidad and Tobago, 
Publication No. 810. 
Juan de Gamez to the King of Spain. 
Source: British Museum.  Additional Mss. 35315.

Published by the courtesy of the Trustees of the British Museum. 

Translated from the Spanish 

SANTO DOMINGO, 24th June, 1589.



Sire - I came to the town of Santo Domingo in pursuance of my duties and found here Pedro de Angulo, your Governor of the Island of Jamaica who showed me the depositions of a Frenchman who he had taken in Jamaica and from which I learnt that there were English boys in the Island of Trinidad and in the Delta of the River Urinoco learning the language of the Indians.

I believe that this statement is correct and I have to urge upon Your Majesty the danger and trouble which may arise from this. Moreover the Governor of Cumana, Roderigo Manuel Nunez Lobo, is to settle Trinidad and has a license from this Royal Audiencia to do so. This should not be allowed without considering the suspicion cast upon him by these depositions of the said Frenchman. The said Roderigo Manuel Nunez Lobo is a portuguese and this Island controls the entrance of the River Urinoco and is the landing place of almost all the French who come to the Indies.

The Viceroy of New Spain has arrived at this town and to him Pedro de Angulo referred the matter. The Viceroy was also told that I was here dealing with matters of importance and from me he enquired as to the position of these lands as one who had knowledge of them. If Your Majesty does not order the settlement of this Island, much trouble will result.

This Island of Trinidad is a fertile land, abounding in food, in wood and herds of animals and well populated with Indians who cross to the River Urinoco in native boats. In this way they reach other rivers well populated with large towns from which gold is obtained to trade with the Spaniards from Margarita and with the French. A great quantity of gold is brought down and for it the Indians get implements with which to work.

The Viceroy ordered me to write to Your Majesty about the settlement of Trinidad for which there would be necessary 150 men of whom 50 should be local people from Margarita and Cumana and the Government of Venezuela and 100 from other places. Ten thousand ducats will be necessary for supplies.

It is advisable that Your Majesty should entrust this settlement to some one in the Indies who will understand how to gain and pacify this Island go up the rivers and settle there. 

Neither English nor French should be allowed in the Urinoco where they now go to trade, make boars and get provisions. They take interpreters and go to Margarita and raid the pearl fisheries. Sometimes the Indians warn the Spaniards at Margarita for which they are paid, whereupon knowing that there is a pirate near the Island, the pearl fishery is stopped for some time until it is known that he has passed. 

May Your Majesty order that which you may consider best. 

May God preserve Your Majesty. 


Santo Domingo, 34th June, 1589.



Cuban Church Awarded 2009 National Restoration Prize

On Mon, Jun 29, 2009 at 8:45 PM, Cuban News Agency wrote:
MATANZAS, Cuba, June 29 (acn) The Cuban Church San Pedro Apostol of this city has received the National Restoration Prize annually granted by the Cultural Heritage Council on the island.   The award was officially given during a ceremony presided over by the head of the Cuban Association of Architects and Construction Engineers (UNAIC), José A. Macías, and by the director for Heritage in central Matanzas province.

City historian Ercilio Vento expressed that this is a well deserved prize for one of the paradigmatic buildings of this city, known as The Athens of Cuba, along with Sauto Theater, the two of them exquisite works by Italian architect Daniel dall´ Aglio.    

The temple, of neoclassic style and located in Versalles neighborhood, in the city of Matanzas, opened its doors with a solemn mass on May 15, 1870.     The harmony of lines on its façade and interior areas turn this basilica into one of the most beautiful on the island.

As a coda to this ceremony, the Matanzas Chamber Choir, conducted by Dr. José A. Méndez, offered an exclusive presentation of the Cantata by baroque German composer Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767), which was received by the public with a standing ovation.

The prize-giving ceremony coincided with celebrations for the laying of the foundation stone of the church, named after Saint Peter.

At present, the dossier with the documents on the building’s restoration process to be presented to the National Heritage Council is being prepared, which will also serve to propose the declaration of the church as a National Monument of the Republic of Cuba.

Premio Nacional de Restauración 2009 a iglesia cubana
Cuban News Agency


Colloquium on Hemingway Highlights Cuba’s Influence on the Writer

HAVANA, Cuba, Jun 19 (acn) Cuba’s influence on American writer Ernest Hemingway’s literature, especially on his book “The old man and the sea” was highlighted this Thursday by one of his countrymen, Andrew Feldman, in this capital.

      Feldman, who has spent several months in Cuba researching on Hemingway, is one of the experts attending the 12th International Colloquium dedicated to the author of “A Farewell to Arms”, which opened at the Ambos Mundos Hotel in Havana where Hemingway lived before definitely moving to his Finca Vigia house in the locality of San Francisco de Paula.
      During two days of discussions, the group of researchers from Cuba, Italy and the United States talked about the translations made of Hemingway’s works, the museum at the Finca Vigia, his yacht “Pilar” and his relation with Cuban writers.

        Ada Rosa Alfonso, director of the Finca Vigia Museum, acknowledged the favourable results of the rehabbing and renovation works performed in this place and dubbed as more comprehensive Hemingway’s image reflected on the about 20 works that will be analyzed in the event.  Susan Wrynn, curator of the Ernest Hemingway’s collection at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in the United States, offered a lecture on this collection.  

Cuban News Agency  
Sent by Dorinda Moreno



La Guerra de la Independencia
Castellano, the Mother Tongue 

La Guerra de la Independencia 
a través de los fondos del Archivo Histórico Nacional

Se acaba de publicar, en la web oficial de la Subdirección de Archivos Estatales del Ministerio de Cultura,de España, el sitio web "La Guerra de la Independencia a través de los fondos del Archivo Histórico Nacional", que pone a disposición de todo el público el resultado de la identificación, descripción y digitalización de los fondos que conserva el Archivo Historico Nacional de España, relativos a la Guerra de la Independencia.

Puede consultarse en el siguiente enlace:

Sent by Custodio Rebollo


Castellano, the Mother Tongue

These websites will help clarify why Spain chose to call Spanish: Castellano plus the other languages spoken in Spain.

Sent by Rafael Ojeda




Iberoamericana Books  
El español está de vuelta en Filipinas




With the arrival of summer sales in Spain, we would like to offer you all of the following titles at a discounted price of 25% off. We have compiled some lists so that you can see which books have been placed on sale. Clicking on each link will open a pdf file and allow you to browse through our inventory. You may also find these items on our website (


América Latina – Literatura y Cultura
Argentina - Paraguay - Uruguay – Literatura y Cultura

Bolivia - Ecuador - Perú – Literatura y Cultura
Caribe – Literatura y Cultura
Chile – Literatura y Cultura
Colombia - Venezuela – Literatura y Cultura
México - América Central – Literatura y Cultura


If you would like to refer a friend or colleague to us, contact us:


Iberoamericana Editorial Vervuert
C/ Amor de Dios, 1
E-28014 Madrid
Tel.: + 34 91 429 35 22
Fax: + 34 91 429 53 97
Vervuert Verlag
Elisabethenstr. 3-9
D-60594 Frankfurt
Tel.: + 49 69 597 46 17
Fax: + 49 69 597 87 43



El español está de vuelta en Filipinas  EFE

Anthony Villanueva ya sabe saludar en español. Este adolescente forma parte del millar de alumnos que participa desde esta semana en el plan piloto que ambiciona devolver la lengua de los antiguos colonizadores a las aulas de Filipinas.

Quince institutos de secundaria repartidos por las 17 regiones del archipiélago han comenzado a impartir este idioma como asignatura optativa, en una iniciativa que responde a la voluntad personal de la presidenta, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, de retomar esta enseñanza en el sistema educativo filipino.

Precisamente, Arroyo, conocida hispanófila e hispanohablante y miembro de la Academia Filipina del Español, fue recientemente galardonada en España con el premio Don Quijote por esta medida, que ha visto retrasada su implantación debido al aplazamiento del comienzo del curso escolar ante la expansión de la gripe AH1N1.

"Buenos días niños, soy la nueva maestra de español", escribe en el encerado Zenaida Nicolas, una de la treintena de profesores que impartirá la materia.

Nicolas estudió el idioma en sus años mozos, antes de que la presidenta Cory Aquino lo eliminara de los planes de estudio en 1987; y por eso fue una de las dos funcionarias elegidas por el Instituto de Ciencias de Quezón City (Manila) para que lo transmita a los chicos de este centro para alumnos destacados.

Esta mujer, que se define como una maestra por vocación, explica orgullosa que el español cosechó una notable aceptación entre los niños de tercer año a los que se ofertó como asignatura optativa, junto al francés, el teatro, el periodismo en inglés y el periodismo en tagalo.

La mitad de los 250 alumnos de ese nivel, de catorce y quince años, eligió el castellano, para el que sólo había ochenta plazas disponibles en la escuela.

Joseph Benjamin Bacud, un cerebrito de catorce años vestido con el uniforme escolar típico de Filipinas y la cara cubierta del acné propio de su edad, fue uno de los que logró un puesto.

"El español es un idioma global. No sólo se habla en España, sino también en Latinoamérica y en Estados Unidos. Además, es fácil porque tiene muchas palabras en común con el tagalo y me sirve para comprender mejor la historia de nuestro país", suelta Bacud con desparpajo, en el castellano rudimentario que asegura que aprendió de manera autodidacta por internet.

Pese a ser el segundo idioma con más hablantes del mundo, el español dejó de usarse hace décadas en Filipinas y, por eso, Nicolás y sus compañeros tuvieron que renunciar a sus vacaciones de verano para asistir a un curso exprés del Instituto Cervantes de Manila que los capacitó para impartir los primeros rudimentos del castellano.

"Estudiamos siete horas diarias, seis días a la semana, durante un mes y medio. Fue bastante duro. Pero los tutores se volcaron y nos explicaron que no teníamos que dominar la lengua sino adquirir las herramientas para poder dar el primer curso", cuenta Nicolas en su precario español, salpicado de palabras en inglés y tagalo.

"Tenemos miedo de enseñarles algo erróneo pero de lo que se trata en esta primera fase es de que los alumnos dominen un nivel básico y se aficionen", explica otra profesora del centro, Lisa Gapas.

Nicolas, Gapas y el resto de docentes completarán las doscientas horas de lengua y cuarenta de didáctica que efectuaron en la institución española con un curso no presencial que las mantendrá pegadas al ordenador dos horas al día desde julio a marzo próximos, según cuenta Juan Rovisco, del Cervantes.

Algunos de los profesores pasarán incomodidades para completar esta segunda parte, como los docentes de la provincia de Cagayan, obligados a usar los computadores del Ayuntamiento porque carecen de conexión a la red, tanto en el colegio como en sus casas.

Sin embargo, las autoridades españolas están satisfechas con el arranque del programa.

"Hay 5,6 millones de estudiantes en bachillerato y un millar de alumnos puede parecer muy poca cosa. Pero no pretendemos reintroducir el español como lengua oficial o competir con el inglés. Esto consiste en ir sembrando para que el idioma se vaya expandiendo, poco a poco", explica el diplomático Álvaro Trejo, de la Embajada de España.

"Ahora mismo, no hay suficientes profesores para todos los institutos. Por eso, el objetivo de esta primera fase es que de aquí salgan maestros que formen a los futuros enseñantes", añade Trejo, como representante de la autoridades españolas, que han colaborado con la financiación de la formación profesoral y la provisión de material escolar, a través del Instituto Cervantes y la AECID.

Un asesor técnico en Educación se incorporará en julio a la Embajada para implementar la colaboración con este proyecto, que tendrá que superar una incógnita en 2010 antes de seguir adelante: Las elecciones en las que saldrá elegido el sucesor de Arroyo, quien podría ser menos proclive que su antecesora hacia esta lengua hablada por más de 400 millones de personas en todo el mundo.



Civilians in Bataan and the Death March by Ricardo T. Jose
Splendid Little War

Civilians in Bataan and the Death March
by Ricardo T. Jose

[The following speech by Rico Jose, Professor of history at the University of the Philippines, was delivered at a recent commemoration of the Battle of Bataan, held at the Battling Bastards of Bataan memorial in Capas, Tarlac. James Litton provided me with the text.   Email sent by Jose Calugas, Jr. (son of the Filipino CMOH Jose Calugaz WW II.)    to Rafael Ojeda,  6/26/2009.]

      On the subject of Bataan and Corregidor, quite a lot has been written on the soldiers, on the fighting men, both regular or guerrilla (irregular). There are many memorials to the different battles and units in Bataan and Corregidor. 

       But what about the civilians? The civilians were also there in the battles of Bataan and Corregidor, and the aftermath - the Death March and prisoner of war experience at Camp O'Donnell in Capas, Tarlac. The civilians and their contributions fell into several categories, some of which will be discussed in this essay. In the first place, most of the Philippine Army soldiers - the bulk of the defenders of Bataan - were in fact civilians,
army reservists called to active duty. Many other civilians volunteered for and were accepted into the US Army Forces in the Far East (USAFFE) as officers or enlisted men. 

      But as to the civilians per se: first, we must mention the residents of Bataan, whose homes suddenly became battlegrounds. There are no memorials to them and their experiences in the campaign. They evacuated to the southern part of Bataan where refugee camps were set up for them, and where food and other basic commodities were rationed. Two camps were set up, one near Little Baguio and the other in Cabcaben. But some - many? - tried to help the Bataan defenders in their own ways - food, first aid, whatever they
could do. Bankeros helped obtain fish; they also transported intelligence agents behind Japanese lines and even to Manila. The Bataan resident suffered the same hardships as the soldiers - shortages of food, and of medicine, of basic necessities. They got sick, they were wounded by shrapnel and a number died in the campaign - unsung and unknown. When Bataan surrendered, they were forced by the Japanese to march to the north, since the southern part of Bataan was to be used as a staging point by the Japanese in their assault against Corregidor. This "civilian death march" was similar to the Death March of the soldiers, though they were treated more leniently by the Japanese and were fed. They were freed upon reaching the northern part of Bataan. But they had to march by day and suffered the same ravages under the hot April sun. Many of them allowed Bataan defenders to join them - giving them civilian clothes to change into, and posing as wives or family to prevent the Japanese from suspecting that they were escaping. After Corregidor fell, these civilians were allowed to return to their home towns where they rebuilt their shattered homes. 

      In Corregidor too, there were civilians - in the different barrios, the largest of which was San Jose in Bottomside. Many were families of Philippine Scout soldiers on the island, but others were long-time residents of the island fortress. Before the war started, the majority were evacuated to Manila or elsewhere; in the end they lost their own home town and were never able to return to their pre-war abodes. Some of the civilians, however
- technical men particularly, such as engineers - stayed on with the Harbor Defenses of Manila and Subic Bay, part of the USAFFE. At least one helped the POWs after the surrender by locating sources of water in the 92nd Garage encampment. 

      Another category of civilians in Bataan were those who evacuated into Bataan from Manila and provinces neighboring Bataan, such as Pampanga and Bulacan. Many of them saw Bataan as a safe refuge while waiting for the American reinforcements to arrive. Many were ordinary civilians seeking safety and escaping the clutches of the Japanese. Others were families of USAFFE officers and men, believing that it would be safer to stay with the
USAFFE rather in Japanese occupied towns. As with the local residents, many tried to help in whatever way they could - by giving first aid, driving vehicles or doing whatever work they could do.

      There were those whose professions brought them to Bataan - particularly drivers, whose buses and trucks were commandeered by the USAFFE. It was they who transported USAFFE troops from place to place before Bataan, and wound up in Bataan. Many were not processed, had no papers or appropriate military contracts, much less dog tags or other identification. They were not carried on rosters of soldiers. A number of them were killed
in the fighting; their families received no compensation because they were not recognized as veterans. 

      Among those civilians who came to Bataan from Manila was a mixed group of foreign nationals - expatriates working in Manila. Among them were24 Americans, two Australians, sixteen British, fourteen Czechoslovaks, one Russian, six Poles, and one Swiss.  They volunteered for service with USAFFE in a civilian capacity, and were assigned to the Quartermaster Service where they served gallantly - some even going behind enemy lines to take food. In one instance some of them went into Japanese territory to dismantle a rice mill and bring it back to USAFFE lines, where it was put into operation. A number of them died in Bataan or the subsequent POW captivity. 

      Another group of civilians were the Filipino nurses in Bataan. At that time there was no Army Nurse Corps in the Philippine Army, and Filipinas who wanted to serve as nurses with the USAFFE worked in a civilian capacity. There were around 25 of them, who had volunteered for duty in US Army hospitals in Fort Stotsenberg and Fort McKinley. They witnessed the air raids on the camps and tended the wounded who came flowing in afterwards. When War Plan Orange was put into effect, they joined the hospital staff in
the two general hospitals in Bataan, where they served courageously. Some were wounded when Hospital No. 1 was bombed by the Japanese. While the American nurses have been given accolades in books and through memorials, the Filipina nurses have not been given much recognition. 

      During the Death March, Filipino civilians showed their gratitude to the defenders of Bataan by giving them food and water - particularly in the towns of Samal, Lubao, Bacolor, San Fernando and others. They sympathized with their countrymen and the Americans, and came out of their homes with prepared food. The Japanese tried to drive them away and kicked the containers of water and while seizing some of the cooked food. Some of the
food was even thrown into the dusty road. The civilians wrapped food in banana leaves and threw these to the prisoners of war since the Japanese kept them away. Some of the civilians were rudely pushed about, and some may even have been bayoneted and killed (confirm this). It was a unique show of solidarity between the civilians and the defenders, American, Filipino or whoever. Some looked for relatives or people they knew, but all unselfishly gave whatever they could even though risking life and limb. 

      Others civilians along the way helped the prisoners of war (POWs) escape. Some gave them civilian clothes to change into; others mingled with them if the occasion permitted, and snuck out one or two POWs. Some brave elderly women wearing long skirts approached columns of soldiers, or when they were at rest, and encouraged one - or even two - to hide under her skirt. When one defender managed to sneak under her skirt, she very
carefully moved away from the POW group, the hidden POW crawling under her. A number of POWs were able to gain their freedom in this way. The women's names have not been recorded. 

      Towns along the railroad also aided in the Death March. The residents prepared food and water and threw them to the POWs. Not all the POWs were loaded into boxcars; others were in open cattle cars; some of the boxcar doors were opened by Japanese guards - and it was into these cars that the people from Angeles and other towns by the railroad threw their
contributions. A small package containing cooked rice and other food fell into the lap of one Bataan defender (Sgt. Marfori). The sender enclosed a short note stating that he had stolen the rice from the Japanese, and had personally cooked it as a contribution to the brave defenders of Bataan. He signed his name and added that he was willing to help in any other way. It moved Marfori to tears.  [NB also Dan Dizon letter]

      Again bankeros in Bataan aided the defenders get away by taking them to Hagonoy by sea (although some of them charged for it). 

      The townspeople of Hagonoy showed much valor in sheltering these escaped POWs and not reporting them to the Japanese and keeping them out of the eyes of Japanese spies. They fed and sheltered them as best as they could until they were well enough to go to their homes. 

      The people of Capas opened their doors to the families of POWs looking for their loved ones. Some of the residents opened their houses and provided what they could, even though Capas at that time was a very small and poor town. Local officials provided what they assistance they could to the thousands of outsiders looking for their loved ones, outsides who put up tents and patchwork shelters. 

      Civic groups from Manila, specifically the Red Cross, and the Volunteer Social Aid Committee (VSAC) specifically organized by socialites to aid the prisoners - ordinary people and also members of Manila's elite, beauty queens and upper class families - went to Capas railroad station with food, water and medicine. The Japanese guards shouted at them, kicked their wares and threatened them with bayonet jabs, but the women - among them Josefa Llanes Escoda (and her husband, Antonio), Helena Benitez (who later became Senator), Conchita Sunico (a pre-war Manila Carnival Queen) and others, members of Manila's high society - gave up their comfortable homes to provide comfort for the dirty, sick defenders, despite Japanese threats and punishment. Some of the food and assistance got through (not all the Japanese guards were brutal). Lt. Rafael Estrada and his group received carefully prepared sandwiches, nicely wrapped, and almost wept. He noted
that those who had prepared the sandwiches had cut off the borders- obviously upper class - and he wept because the POWs could have eaten more had those borders not been cut. The VSAC later even organized a benefit concert in Manila to raise funds for the POWs. This was courage of another type, unfortunately unsung and unremembered by most Filipinos. But the former POWs remember and are grateful. 

      Beginning late in June 1942, the Filipino POWs were released gradually. Another form of courage manifested itself at this time. In order to be released, the Filipinos needed guarantors to sign their release papers. Most of the guarantors were mayors and governors of the towns and provinces where these POWs came from. But other mayors and governors signed release papers even for POWs who did not come from their own administrative
areas, just so they could be released. If they were caught doing this by the Japanese, they would have been punished and perhaps worse. But these local officials voluntarily offered to sign for the release of some POWs. 

      For those POWs who could not return home - either because they came from towns or provinces that were not "pacified", or because there was no transportation for them to go home, or because there was no one to meet them at the release station - concerned organizations like the YMCA in Manila cared for the released POWs by setting up convalescent homes for them, so that the POWs could get well and regain their strength before moving on. Ads were put in the local papers urging people to employ released soldiers, as many of them had no jobs since the war had also cost them their employment.

      As they were released, the municipal government of Capas further provided assistance to the POWs. Lt. Felix Pestana and a friend, on being released, realized that what valuables they had might be tempting targets for thieves. Lt. Pestana and his friend went to the municipal hall to ask if they could leave these valuables - a wallet, a watch - for safekeeping, until such time that they could return to claim them. The person at the desk
said they certainly could. In the wallet was Lt. Pestana's pay which he had received regularly during the Bataan campaign. Years passed before Pestana could return to Capas, and he was sure the wallet was lost. Sometime after the war ended, he and his friend went up to the Capas municipio to ask if they still had these items. The person at the desk said yes, they were still there, intact, and they had been waiting for them to claim the items all
this time. Others had also left their valuables with the government and had claimed them earlier. 

      The American POWs, of course, were never released and were eventually moved to another POW camp in Cabanatuan. Jose Llanes Escoda and her husband Antonio, and other concerned civilians - including a German priest, Fr. Theodore Buttenbruch  (SVD) - actively solicited food, medicine and other items which they could provide to the American POWs. A young lady afflicted with leprosy, Joey Guerrero, served as one of their conduits (the Japanese would not touch her because of her leprosy) and thus she successfully got
aid - as well as messages and information - into and out of the camp. The Escodas and Fr Buttenbruch were eventually arrested by the Japanese and were executed. 

      The Bataan veterans remember the assistance given by the civilians in their hearts. Individually, some of the veterans tried to look for their benefactors to personally thank them. After the war, Sgt. Marfori, every time he went up north from Manila, would stop by the towns he had passed as a POW on the train. He asked about the man who prepared the rice for him, seeking to thank him. But he never found him, after numerous attempts to
locate him. No one even knew his name. 

      In the 1980s, the Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor, Inc. installed a number of "Eternal Gratitude" markers in towns that assisted them during the campaign and the march. The first four were in Samal, Bataan; Lubao, San Fernando and Bacolor in Pampanga - a solemn tribute to the civilians in those towns. 

      The US recognized some of the civilians who aided the POWs with the highest medal the US government could bestow on civilians - the Medal of Freedom. Fr. Buttenbruch, Joey Guerrero and others were given due recognition. Similarly, the Philippine government also recognized the work of some of its civilians with the Legion of Merit. Josefa Llanes Escoda is now memorialized in the 1000 peso bill. The main building of the Society of
the Divine Word in Quezon City (a prewar building) was only a few years ago named Buttenbruch Hall. But few people today recognize the contributions of these people. There is no memorial in Mount Samat or in Camp O'Donnell commemorating the unselfish efforts of these civilians to help in their country's defense or to aid their countrymen and their allies who fought for them. It is high time a memorial be established for them. 

Sent by Rafael Ojeda

"A  Splendid  Little  War"
 The Spanish-American War

Is has been said somewhere that "There has never been a good WAR or a bad PEACE."  War is a horrible human experience, disrupting world harmony and taking the lives of young men and women before their time.  The United States of America was conceived in revolution, tested in a great civil war, and tempered through its westward expansion by armed conflict.  Perhaps Thomas Jefferson best summarized the inevitability of war, as well as its desired outcome, in his letter to William Smith in 1787 when he wrote:

"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.  It is it's natural manure."

In the spring of 1898 the United States went to war with the empire of Spain.  It was our Nation's first major conflict since the Civil War, and the first major foreign war in our Country's brief history.  It was a war for which the United States was unprepared militarily, but a war that had been looking for an excuse to happen for a quarter-century.

It was a war that lasted less than a year from declaration of war to signing of the Treaty of Paris ending it.  Violent conflict spanned a period of only 115 days with less than 400 American combat deaths.  It was an unqualified victory for the United States, a success that propelled the young nation to the forefront as a world power.

It was a foreign war that received popular support on the home front, considered by many historians to be our most popular war.  It was glamorized in the media, indeed even instigated to some degree by the leading news publishers of the day.  In the early days before war was declared but when conflict appeared imminent, New York Journal publisher William Randolph Hearst sent the famous Western artist Frederick Remington to Cuba to sketch Cuban insurgents fighting for their independence from Spain.  After several months, Remington had found little to draw and wired New York, "Everything quiet, no trouble here.  There will be no war.  I wish to return."  Hearst reportedly responded to Remington's appraisal of the situation in Cuba and his request to come home with the following: 

"You furnish the pictures and I'll furnish the war."

When at last war with Spain did come, a nationalistic press sensationalized the defeats of the enemy and embellished the heroic actions of American soldiers.  Several national heroes emerged "larger than life". Theodore Roosevelt would be propelled into the White House within 3 years, in large part on the basis of the stories of his exploits during the war.   Just before the war began, Roosevelt summarized the sentiment of the American public well in a speech to the Naval War College when he said:

"No triumph of peace is quite so great as the supreme triumphs of war."

As a direct result of that brief, first major foreign war, the face of America changed forever.  The Spanish American War led to the liberation of Cuba, a continued American presence in the Philippine Islands, American expansion to Guam and Puerto Rico, and the construction of the Panama Canal.   It was a war fought largely by citizen soldiers from the National Guard and led to the reorganization of our reserves under the Dick Act of 1903.  On the fields of combat, lifetime friendships were formed.  Upon their triumphal return, American soldiers were hailed as heroes in their hometowns.  

Indeed, from the perspective of United States history, if ever there were a good war, it was the Spanish American War.  Shortly after hostilities ended in Cuba and the United States entered a period of negotiations for the peace treaty to end the Spanish American War, John Milton Hay was appointed Secretary of State by President William McKinley.  Years later when Theodore Roosevelt occupied the White House, Hay wrote the President about that war.  In that letter he summarized the conflict with a quote that came to be linked with the first war of American expansion beyond her borders.  

He called it: "A  Splendid  Little  War"


Surgeon General's Family History Initiative, USDHHS
Bisabuelos, Pagina de Genealogia, Apellidos, Linajes
Finding Newspaper Reports on the Web
Saltillo, Coahuila church records digitized 
Connecting Civil War Pension Files 
Genealogy - History - 200 countries access
New Resources at   

Surgeon General's Family History Initiative
United States Department of Health & Human Services


Health care professionals have known for a long time that common diseases - heart disease, cancer, and diabetes - and even rare diseases - like hemophilia, cystic fibrosis, and sickle cell anemia - can run in families. If one generation of a family has high blood pressure, it is not unusual for the next generation to have similarly high blood pressure. Tracing the illnesses suffered by your parents, grandparents, and other blood relatives can help your doctor predict the disorders to which you may be at risk and take action to keep you and your family healthy. 

To help focus attention on the importance of family history, the Surgeon General in cooperation with other agencies with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has launched a national public health campaign, called the Surgeon General's Family History Initiative, to encourage all American families to learn more about their family health history. 

National Family History Day, 2008
Acting Surgeon General Steven K Galson, M.D., M.P.H., has declared Thanksgiving 2008 to be the fifth annual National Family History Day. Over the holiday or at other times when families gather, the Surgeon General encourages Americans to talk about, and to write down, the health problems that seem to run in their family. Learning about their family's health history may help ensure a longer, healthier future together.

My Family Health Portrait
Access My Family Health Portrait web version 

Americans know that family history is important to health. A recent survey found that 96 percent of Americans believe that knowing their family history is important. Yet, the same survey found that only one-third of Americans have ever tried to gather and write down their family's health history.

Because family health history is such a powerful screening tool, the Surgeon General has created a new computerized tool to help make it fun and easy for anyone to create a sophisticated portrait of their family's health.

This new, revised version of the tool, called "My Family Health Portrait" is a web-enabled program that runs on any computer that's connected to the web and running an up-to-date version of any major Internet browser. The new version of the tools offers numerous advantages over previous versions, which had to be downloaded to the user's computer, but only those running the Microsoft Windows operating system. 

The web-based tool helps users organized family history information and then print it out for presentation to the family doctor. In addition, the tool helps users save their family history information to their own computer and even share family history information with other family members. The tool can be accessed at 

The Surgeon General makes the tool freely available to all users. No user information is saved on any computer of the U.S. federal government. See the Privacy and Security Policy on the tool for more information.

When you are finished organizing your family history information, the tool will create and print out a graphical representation of your family's generations and the health disorders that may have moved from one generation to the next. That is a powerful tool for predicting any illnesses for which you should be checked. 

For more information on other activities of the Office of the Surgeon General, please visit




BISABUELOS, Pagina de Genealogia, Apellidos, Linajes


Bisabuelos es una página de microhistoria familiar. Tiene como punto de partida la historia de nuestros ocho bisabuelos, nacidos todos en el siglo XIX (ver menú en la parte superior izquierda), y se extiende hacia sus antepasados y sus descendientes. Nuestra familia tiene sus raíces en España (Cornisa Cantábrica, Castilla, La Mancha, Andalucía...), pero ya desde el siglo XVI, algunos de nuestros antepasados, se establecieron definitivamente en la Nueva España, actualmente México.

       Para comprender mejor el contenido de esta web, se pueden leer los siguientes artículos: ¿Qué es la microhistoria?; Una investigacion de microhistoria familiar y Raíces familiares cristianas.

       Las ocho secciones de este sitio son:

1) Apellidos y linajes familiares (unos 500).
Lugares de donde proceden esos linajes (unos 80).
Biografías de algunos antepasados.
Gen-mex: Linajes novohispanos
Gen-med: Linajes medievales.
Árboles genealógicos.
Bitácora: notas sobre los avances en esta investigacion.
Enlaces de otras páginas web interesantes.

       Juan Bernardo Domínguez y Gálvez (1783-1847) es uno de nuestros tatarabuelos (ver biografía). Nació en La Habana, Cuba, el 13 de diciembre de 1783. Sus padres fueron el Capitán Juan Domínguez, nacido en Cañete la Real (Málaga) y doña Gertrudis de Otero y Roso, nacida en Puerto Real (Cádiz) e hija del Contador General del Ejército y Real Hacienda de la Provincia de la Luisiana, don Bernardo de Otero. Al cumplir los doce años de edad, Juan Bernardo ingresó como Cadete en el Regimiento de Infantería Fijo de la Luisiana,