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March 6, 2023
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Nation's Oldest and Largest Latino Civil Rights Organization Also Set to Honor Latina Founder and First Teacher for Education Program that Led to Head Start Plus Houston Astros 2nd Baseman Jose Altuve, and Hero Who Took Down Colorado Springs Mass Shooter

Washington, DC - The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) unveiled its program for the 2023 LULAC Emerge, Legislative Conference and Awards Gala, being held March 7-9 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel, 2500 Calvert Street NW, Washington, DC 20008

"LULAC is celebrating its 94th anniversary, and our theme this year is 'Proudly Honoring Our Heroes, Fearlessly Facing Our Future," says Domingo Garcia, LULAC National President. "LULAC is proud to be the matriarch civil rights organization for our country's 62 million. This means every other major advocacy Latino organization has been born out of LULAC or followed in our footsteps. Some of the most significant initiatives for Latinos in America over the past 100 years have been forged out of our work," said Garcia.

"We welcome Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, and LULAC is ready to roll up its sleeves and work with him to address some of the nation's most pressing needs stemming from immigration. Also, we salute Representative Peter Aguilar from California, who is now leading the Democratic caucus in the House as we tackle tough issues which demand bipartisan action," says Garcia.

Similarly, LULAC's event this week celebrates critical accomplishments and cites Head Start as one of its significant achievements. The pre-k program has served 37 million participants and is considered the single most successful early childhood education project in the nation's history. LULAC founded and ran the Little School of 400 in Houston, Texas, providing President Lyndon B. Johnson with the model, after which he patterned Head Start. This year, LULAC honors Isabel Verver, the founder and first teacher of the School of 400.

"Also, this year, we proudly acknowledge José M. Hernandez, who went from migrant farm worker in California to NASA astronaut," said Rafaela Schwan, LULAC Interim Chief Operating Officer. "His story is inspirational because he grew up poor and did not speak English until he was 13. Then, his parents moved back to Mexico and took him with them, but José always dreamed of going to the stars. So, when he returned to the United States years later, he was determined to fulfill his dream, and LULAC awarded Jose his first scholarship. This financial help propelled Jose into an engineering program, which was the start of taking him to the international space station," said Schwan.

Other honorees this year include U.S. Army veteran Richard Fierro, the man credited with overpowering an armed attacker at a gay-friendly nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in November 2022. With him on stage will be Javier Cazares, national gun reform advocate and father of 9-year-old Jacklyn, one of the 19 students killed by a mass shooter in Uvalde, Texas. Also, Deb Rogers, Special Assistant to DHS Secretary Mayorkas, and Dee James, Executive Director of Repatriate our Patriots. Plus, Iris Martinez, first Latina Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cooke County, Illinois, second largest worldwide.



The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is the nation's largest and oldest Hispanic civil rights volunteer-based organization that empowers Hispanic Americans and builds strong Latino communities. Headquartered in Washington, DC, with 1,000 councils around the United States and Puerto Rico, LULAC's programs, services, and advocacy address the most important issues for Latinos, meeting the critical needs of today and the future. For more information, visit https://lulac.org/