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Fronteras: Symposium highlights Latino civil rights efforts of the past, present and future

The fight for Latino civil rights has deep roots in San Antonio.

Prominent civil rights organizations like the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project, Mexican American Youth Organization, the Raza Unida Party and MALDEF all have ties to the city.

San Antonio recently marked 50 years of the school walkouts and the civil rights hearings.

Despite a rich history and legacy, advocates argue the topic of Latino civil rights shouldn’t just be glossed over in a textbook chapter or celebrated once every 50 years.

San Antonio-based Mexican American Civil Rights Institute will celebrate the fight for Latino civil rights this month with a 2-day symposium, Movement/Movimiento for Change.

Sarah Zenaida Gould is the executive director at the Mexican American Civil Rights Institute (MACRI)
Courtesy of Sarah Gould
Sarah Gould is the executive director at the Mexican American Civil Rights Institute (MACRI)

Sarah Gould, the executive director of MACRI, says the organization has worked to contribute to the ongoing conversation.

“It's really important to remember that Mexican American civil rights history is American history,” she said. “What I like to say is that we’re expanding the story of civil rights in the United States.”

Voting rights will be one topic covered at the symposium. Gould emphasizes why it’s important to learn about a history of disenfranchisement of Latino voters through efforts like redistricting and voter suppression.

“What I love to emphasize through history is, ‘Look at what our ancestors did. Look at what our antepasados were able to achieve,’” she said. “Don't let those rights be rolled back.”

The symposium will be held Oct. 21 and 22 at San Antonio’s Guadalupe Theater. Panels will also cover topics on education and representation.

Featured guest speakers include former San Antonio Mayor Henry Ciscneros, activist Rosie Castro, and former Texas Poet Laureate Carmen Tafolla.

To register for the event, clickhere.

Norma Martinez can be reached at norma@tpr.org and on Twitter at @NormDog1