After decades of systemic racism and oppression, Latino Americans came together to fight for the equal opportunity and civil rights for their peers who have been historically targeted in American society.
The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) was founded in 1928 as a Hispanic civil rights organization to fight against the systemic racism and prejudice many latinos face. Today, these issues still persist –I’m looking at you, POTUS– and LULAC works full force with councils in 38 states across the country.
Iowa’s first LULAC council was inaugurated on June 16, 1965, with LULAC Council No. 306 and Ladies Council No. 308.
My late grandfather, William Rocha, served as a founding member of Council No. 306 and filled various leadership roles including President of the council until he passed away in 1982.
LULAC Council No. 306 advocated for more Hispanic teachers, police officers and firefighters so younger generations would have latino role models who served in positions of power.
Further, in the 1980’s LULAC Council No. 306 encouraged the Des Moines police department to remove restrictions that limited Latinos from becoming police officers. This lead to an increase of Latinos being accepted into the police academy.
Nationally, LULAC continues to fight for latinos civil rights under the Trump administrations aggressive rhetoric against hispanic immigrants. They protested building that infamous wall, Trump’s decision to end DACA and increase of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers.
My family’s involvement in LULAC serves as a source of great pride. Fighting for the civil rights and liberties for members of our hispanic community was a priority for my late grandfather. I try and work to fight against civil rights infringements through my internship at the ACLU of Iowa and working on this blog to educate those around me about minority communities and the struggles they face.
Do you want to get involved in LULAC? Don’t have a Council in your state? Go to LULAC’s membership page to learn more about starting a council or joining one where you live!