Placido Salazar

Your San Antonio Express-News commentary 2 July 2014 regarding JFK/LBJ’s
civil rights legislation rightfully credits Martin Luther King Jr., black and white
men and women who paid a very heavy price to ‘ban discrimination’ in public
places. But, with all due respect, there is no mention of Mexican-Americans who
started the struggle against discrimination several years before MLK. (Wikipedia):
“After the (LULAC-funded Atty David Marcus) Mendez v. Westminster ISD case ended
de jure segregation of Mexican-descent children in California, (Gustavo C. “Gus”)
Garcia filed a similar suit in Texas, aided by R. C. Eckhardt of Austin and A. L. Wirin of
the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California. Delgado v. Bastrop ISD
(1948) made the segregation of children of Mexican descent in Texas illegal.

Dr. Hector P. Garcia (Founder of The American GI Forum), Attorneys Gustavo C.
Garcia, Carlos Cadena and others fought against discrimination/segregation, when
even U.S. Veterans returning from fighting in WWII, denied VA medical care,
were relegated to segregated hospital wards, because they were Mexican-

In fact, it was through the “Viva Kennedy Clubs” which were organized by Dr.
Hector, GI Forum and other Mexican-American leaders, that Kennedy and then
Johnson were able to reach The White House….. which then enabled LBJ to sign
Civil Rights legislation initiated by JFK, including The Voting Rights Act. This,
as well as eliminating the “Poll Tax” was of great benefit to all minorities,
including low-income Anglos.

Even after all the effort to fight against discrimination, racism in 2014, is still alive
and well even in U.S. Military promotions all the way up to General ranks (per
capita- only four) and in Veterans Affairs. Look no further than our continuing
struggle to secure a full-service 24/7 VA hospital for our more than 120,000
Veterans in The Rio Grande Valley (RGV). Even after the present “shocking” VA
failure to hide the denial of needed and earned Veterans’ medical care, and VA’s
acknowledgement that a VA hospital is needed in The Valley, nobody has called to
borrow my shovel, so we still wonder when RGV ground-breaking will take place.

This is why, although with very limited funding, I embarked in
producing our documentary “AGIF Heroes – Our Veterans’
Continuing Struggle,” an educational/historical work-in-progress,
attempting to bring credit to those who continue to be ignored by Texas
and U.S. history – and by news-media coast to coast.

Placido Salazar, USAF Retired Vietnam Veteran (210) 422-0378
Universal City TX

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