TX

Raymond "Ray" Saucedo


By Jackie Rapp

If growing up in a family with 11 brothers and one sister doesn’t sound hectic enough, Raymond
"Ray" Saucedo’s family also didn’t just stay in one location. Saucedo's childhood consisted of summers when the family would load up a truck and wooden camper and head to Michigan, Ohio, or anywhere else that cherry-, strawberry- and tomato-picking migrant work led them.

“Wherever work was, we would go,” said Saucedo, who went on to serve in the U.S. Army in both the Korean and Vietnam wars.

Robert Lee Polanco Sr.


By Kevin Bradley, St. Bonaventure University

Robert Lee Polanco Sr. sat on the plane, nervously biting his nails. The flight had left Texas nearly three hours earlier. They would be passing over the Pacific Ocean on their way to the other side of the world.

In 1971, Polanco was a soldier in the Army, returning to the war in Vietnam after “just a few days … not even a week” of absence.

Eduardo Fierro


By Gilbert Song

“All gave some, some gave all” is an old adage that captures the sense of duty and honor Eduardo M. Fierro felt about his service in Vietnam.

Around noon one Sunday in May 1968, while on a sweep-and-destroy mission, his Army platoon was ambushed by a company-sized element of the Viet Cong. Part of Fierro’s right arm was torn off in the firefight, and he was wounded in his right thigh.

Noe Espindola


By Megan Breckenridge

Growing up in an artistic family that moved between the United States and Mexico, Noe Espindola was immersed in two cultures and languages. In time, however, he was given the opportunity to serve his native country -- the United States -- during World War II.

Espindola was born June 27, 1926, in Austin, Texas, one of four children of professional musician Ranulfo Espindola and Maria de Jesús Arias, both natives of Mexico.

Blandina Cardenas Flores


By the Voces Staff

Former University of Texas-Pan American president Blandina “Bambi” Cardenas Flores found her life’s purpose at a very early age: working to provide quality education to students, no matter their ethnicity or their economic status.

Over a long career that included positions in government and education, Cardenas Flores helped pioneer efforts toward equal opportunity in the K-12 system and higher education. She eventually became the first Latina president of a University of Texas System institution.

Vilma Martinez


By Carlos Devora

From working as a lawyer to serving as president of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund to being appointed ambassador to Argentina, Vilma Martinez has been a trailblazer.

Her work has helped bring down discriminatory laws and expand the political power of Latinos.

She has accomplished this even in the face of racial and gender discrimination.

Alejandro M. Lizárraga


The late 1940s and 1950s were tense times in America. Fear of Communism was spreading, and Cold War tensions with the Soviet Union were growing. In 1950, communist North Korea sent troops into South Korea, and the U.S. came to South Korea’s aid, in accordance with its treaty obligation. President Harry S. Truman declared a national emergency: From 1950 through 1953, 1.5 million men were drafted and another 1.3 million volunteered for military service.

Elvia O. Pérez


By the Voces staff

Elvia Pérez’s senior year in high school was turned upside down when she joined a student walkout to protest the firing of a popular Hispanic teacher.

Pérez, then 17, had been a top student. She had won a community citizenship award and had heard she might be chosen as valedictorian of her class of 1970 at Uvalde High School. But once she joined the walkout, she became a radical agitator in the eyes of the school board in the town about 85 miles southwest of San Antonio, Texas.

Josué "George" Garza


By Taylor Gantt

In 1970, George Garza was a popular middle school teacher in Uvalde, Texas. But when the school board repeatedly declined to renew his contract, he became a central figure in a six-week school walkout that changed the small town for generations.

These days, Garza downplays his own part in the walkout.

Sergio Porras


By Chris Touma

Two years before Sergio Porras received his draft notice to serve in the Vietnam War, he was marching in the streets of Uvalde, Texas, with hundreds of other Mexican-American high school students.

It wasn’t war or the draft they were protesting. The students of Uvalde High were fed up with discrimination in the town’s public school system.

Uvalde, 86 miles southwest of San Antonio, was divided by railroad tracks. Whites lived in the northern section of town; the Hispanics, south of the tracks.