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San Antonio

LULAC Lead Counsel laid to rest in SA

luis_vera_jr.jpg
Brian Kirkpatrick
/
Texas Public Radio
Luis Vera Jr. speaking to media, including Texas Public Radio, in February 2019.

Luis Vera Jr. — who served as lead national counsel for the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) — was laid to rest on Monday at Mission Burial Park South after a funeral mass at St. Lawrence Catholic Church.

The 65-year-old was remembered by family, friends, colleagues and local elected officials as a tenacious champion of civil rights issues in and out of the courtroom.

San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg was among those to call him friend.

"He was a true giant in the fight for the rights of minorities. He argued major cases on issues including voter rights, housing discrimination, education, and employment," Nirenberg said.

Comedian Paul Rodriguez spoke at the service and also called Vera a friend.

"He had a love for people he did not know," he said. "Our children will benefit from what this man has done."

Many of his legal fights centered around redistricting efforts that would dilute minority voting strength.

In recent years, he successfully battled the State of Texas in San Antonio federal court over efforts to purge voting rolls using a suspect list put together by the state.

LULAC said the list of 95,000 potential non-citizen voters, many of whom were actually found to be naturalized citizens, was compiled with the help of DPS records and was sent by the Texas Secretary of State's Office to be used by county election officials to purge their voter rolls.

Federal Judge Fred Biery sided with Vera and LULAC to end the state list effort.

At the time of the ruling LULAC and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund said Judge Biery’s order proved the actions by Texas Secretary of State David Whitley and Ken Paxton, Texas Attorney General to purge 98,000 names from voter rolls, including Latinos are part of a deliberate voter suppression plan and will not be tolerated.

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