BROWNSVILLE, RGV – State Sen. Eddie Lucio will introduce a resolution on Senate floor on Monday to honor Traces to Remember and its initiator, Dr. William Soto Santiago.

The main purpose of Traces to Remember, Lucio said, is to keep alive the testimony of Holocaust survivors and to prevent the recurrence of “the most sinister chapter in the history of humanity,” to educate against genocide and to promote the values of tolerance, equality, human dignity, respect for human rights and love for life.

Six million Jews were killed by the Nazis during World War II. Historians say an additional five million non-Jews were mass murdered by the same regime. Lucio’s father fought for the United States against fascism in North Africa in World War II.

Holocaust survivor Leon Horn is interviewed at UT-Brownsville. (Photo courtesy of Global Embassy of Activists for Peace).
Holocaust survivor Leon Horn is interviewed at UT-Brownsville. (Photo courtesy of Global Embassy of Activists for Peace).

“I was so pleased Faces to Remember was introduced in Texas at the University of Texas at Brownsville last year. I want to honor its global ambassador, Dr. William Soto Santiago, and one of our own from Brownsville, Leon Horn, a Holocaust survivor, who will share his testimony with the Texas community, members of the Senate and the House of Representatives, and other attendees.”

Lucio said a commemorative plaque of the Traces to Remember project in the United States will be on display at the State Capitol: a bronze star of David marked with the hand-prints of a Holocaust survivor, his son and grandson.

“I have had many blessings in my life and one of them was to visit Israel as the guest of the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston. I went for one week to all the biblical settings in that country. One of the most emotional times was to visit the Holocaust Monument, with former state Senator Florence Shapiro of Plano, Texas. It gave me a better understanding of the time her parents fled the Holocaust. We have joined hands together and we have wept for those who did not survive the holocaust,” Lucio said.

Lucio said it is vital that society remembers “terrible act of violence by those who have no value in life or respect for life.” In a video for the Traces to Remember project, Lucio pointed out that other atrocities have occurred since the Holocaust – namely the Pol Pot regime in Cambodia killing two million people between 1975 and 1979, genocide in Rwanda in 1994, which claimed the lives of 800,000 people, and the so-called ethnic cleansing on Bosnia between 1992 and 1995, which led to the deaths of 200,000.

“We must work together to make sure we have world peace. We can do this through education. The humanitarian thing to do is to help one another, love one another, to respect one another, to be more understanding and caring of one another. When we learn to do this we will have peace in the world,” Lucio said.

Lucio added that his son, state Rep. Eddie Lucio, III, will introduce a similar resolution in the Texas House. “Traces to Remember is a wonderful project. Through it we will be able to trace and remember all those who lost their lives in the Holocaust.”

The plaque to be displayed at the state Capitol was first unveiled in the United States at the University of Texas at Brownsville last October. It is currently on exhibit at the Brownsville Historical Museum.

Bruno Harden Cooper, regional director of Traces to Remember, said that in addition to Lucio’s resolution and the unveiling of the plaque, there will also be a photographic exhibition of the Holocaust and Genocide.

“After the event in Austin we travel to various venues throughout the United States, including universities, embassies, governmental office buildings and museums with our message,” Harden Cooper said.

Asked what the mission statement is, Harden Cooper said: “The mission of the Embassy of Activists for Peace, is to promote peace at an international level in individuals and nations; thus strengthening the principles of love for life, respect for human dignity, tolerance, equality, justice, liberty, and solidarity, in addition to emphasizing the peaceful resolution of conflicts.”

The Global Embassy of Activists for Peace is an international non-profit organization founded on October 23, 2012 in Cayey, Puerto Rico. “It is the inspiration of internationally renowned Pacifist, Dr. William Soto Santiago, who for several years has led initiatives and campaigns in favor of peace and respect for human rights throughout Latin America, England, Spain, Rwanda and Israel,” said Juan Ramos, national coordinator of Traces to Remember.

Ramos said Global Embassy of Activists for Peace is “founded on the advocacy of freedom of expression, opinion and association, which are protected by the laws of the United States of America and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, with the objective to promote worldwide peace by working comprehensively to strengthen universal principles of tolerance, solidarity, cooperation, prevention and peaceful solution of conflicts, and promoting understanding among individuals, peoples and nations through peaceful dialogue and respect for human rights, transforming mindsets and generating actions for the strengthening of peace, fellowship and happiness in individuals in public and private schools, parliaments, religious groups, communities, indigenous groups, and the media, thereby creating mutual understanding among different cultures and people, nationalities, beliefs and religions.”

The Global Embassy of Activists for Peace has representation in Puerto Rico, the United States, Spain, Mexico, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, Nicaragua, Bolivia and Chile.