The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is the largest, oldest, largely Hispanic membership organization in the United States. It was founded in 1929, first chapter in Corpus Christi, Texas. It was and still is dedicated to promoting education and advocating for civil rights. 

The second Council was formed in San Antonio, Texas, (The father of the Chaplain, Dr. Isidore Flores, was a founding member there.) Councils were rapidly formed around the State of Texas and in the nation, to help combat the racism and bigotry of the time. Many of the more active were located here in the Rio Grande Valley. One of the oldest, Council #291, originally begun in Weslaco, Texas, is, once again, quite active. Its President is long-time member, Francisco Ortiz (pictured above). Members meet every other Saturday, for now, in McAllen, Texas. [Full disclosure: this writer is a member and Parliamentarian.]

Current innovative projects of LULAC include a new monument, similar to the purpose of Lady Liberty. Members have decided a new monument could and should be erected along the Rio Grande River, welcoming newcomers, humans, along with birds, butterflies, and other animals, that have crossed this point for centuries. Historical and current justifications for the monument are obvious.

The East Coast of the U.S., location of the famous Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, New York harbor, was a welcoming symbol to many for a new start in a new world. It signified a promise: to enter and become an American in the United States. In effect, the Southern coast and border of the United States is now the new “Ellis Island.” The slogan for the United States of America, in Latin, is E Pluribus Unum, “Out of Many, Come One.” That promise still resonates. Furthermore, the U.S. population growth is flat—deaths exceed births. The U.S. must increase its workforce, to stay strong.

LULAC proposes a new monument, to be placed near a major bridge between the U.S. and Mexico, as an idea whose time has come. Plans are currently underway, including proposals for designs and methods of support. Others would be welcome to join the cause. The monument would, at first, be of modest proportions; later, it could be transformed into a larger work of art. It will proclaim “Welcome” and symbolize “Hope” and “Rebirth,” Esperanza y Renascimiento. The design? For now, the U.S. flag and other colorful banners. A plaque would be inscribed in several major languages, conveying “Welcome/Bienvenidos/Bienvenue.” LULAC members realize many good Americans in south Texas and elsewhere join them in this goal. Contributions and suggestions are invited.

Editor’s Note: The above guest column was penned by UT-Rio Grande Valley Professor Emeritus Dr. Gary Joe Mounce. The column appears in The Grande Guardian International News Service with the permission of the author. Mounce can be reached by email via: [email protected]

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