Dear Voice of the Mainland and its
readers,I am the son, of Linda Chavez, part of the 4 that went before the national board of LULAC to be completelythrown out of this organization. I have been around LULAC for 25 years, and have been a part of LULAC since I was 18
years old. In all that time, I don’t think I have ever witnessed the travesty that
certain individuals on the national boardhave tried to make my mom out to be. They say she has no respect. They say she is defiant. They say many things that
just aren’t true.
From a very early age, I was very jealous of this organization. I
t monopolized my mother’s time
more so than Idid. I could not understand how this organization could mean more to my mom, than I did. At least that is what I
thought at the time. It wasn’t until I was much older that I understood this is not the case. I remember my first state
convention in Beaumont. It was a grueling bus ride from Lubbock Texas, back when my mother was a part of Council263. It was there at that state convention in 1989 that my mother and my step-father (whom I refer to as my dad) weremarried. It was the first time in history that this had ever been done. I remember the news article about their nuptials
“Reading 2 Birds one stone”, and my parents appearing in that day’s paper
. No one quite understood why of all places,of all the circumstances, why anyone in the world would want to be married at a LULAC State convention in Texas. I didhowever.
The delegation weren’t just members of LULAC, they were family. They were truly their brothers and sisters,
and they could think of no one else they wanted more to witness this joyous occasion then Texas LULAC members. Noone and nothing meant more to my parents than LULAC did and still does. LULAC was always a part of my life. Itdominated the dinner table conversation. Even when I tried to chime in on my minor scholastic achievements in school,LULAC, was always just one conversation away to dominate what was going to be talked about. At that time, I hatedLULAC.
I didn’t understand why it was so near and dear to my mom’s heart. That is of course until I was much older.
being a class apart wasn’t really an issue. I never had to go through
the struggles of single memberdistricts. I never really knew what gerrymandering was. I
f someone asked me who Jim Crow was, I’d probably tell
them itwas some kind of Native American chief. For us, for my family, LULAC was and continues to be a very sacred entity.LULAC occupied all of my
time. Even when she was at work it was all she could talk about. She spoke so highly of
this organization, and used it as a vehicle to fight for the rights of those that didn’t know how to fight…and fight she did.
When I was finally able to start understanding what LULAC was and what it stood for, I started to believe theway my mother believed. I started seeing LULAC for what it was. It was not just the oldest Hispanic organization in theUnited States. It steered
mother’s drive to make this country a fair and equitable one so that I and my children did not
have to go through the struggles of my parents, and their parents before them. While they have fought long and hard,there are still new battles to be fought, because the war is still not over. So I joined the ranks. I not only joined to be ableto keep up with the conversations that my mother had with her peers, but also to spend more time with her. I wanted tobelieve the way she believed. I wanted to have the passion for this organization that she had. In some respects I believe Ihave it, in others, I cannot hold a candle to what this organization has meant to my mother Linda Chavez.When Joey Cardenas and my mother began to lead this organization in Texas, I remember feeling jealous onceagain, not of this organization, but of Joey Cardenas. He was the person that, in my mind, began to take my place as the
“second son” of my mother.
As I grew to know Mr. Cardenas, I knew that he too had the same passion in his belly mymother did. So the jealousy turned to respect very quickly during the Austin State convention in 2010. During thisconvention, my mother put in 18 hour days, 7 days a week. She barely took the time out of her day to eat, or to sleep to
ensure that this convention was going to be a very successful one. Keep in mind that my mother is retirement age, she’s
been fighting for and with this organization for over 30 years, and here she was killing herself to make sure that thisorganization was well represented. She asked for no recognition. She asked for no kudos. She asked for nothing inreturn, but to simply give of herself in time and in money so that someone else could get the recognition. That is howselfless she is for this organization.