TX

Carolyn Jean Garcia


By Alexandra Cannon

Carolyn Garcia has lived by the words her father shared with her when she was only a child: "God gave you a voice. And if you don't talk for yourself or for others, then what good was it that he gave you a voice? You see there's people, the oppressed, people that are afraid to speak up. Mijita, you speak up for them."

Francisco Robledo


Interview by Anderson Boyd

Former Frio County Justice of the Peace Francisco Robledo hadn't questioned why the social order in Pearsall, Texas, was as it was. But a meeting at his children's school snapped him out of complacency.

Eduardo Cavazos Garza


By Emily Macrander

"I'm a new man."

Eduardo Cavazos Garza was speaking to himself, or out loud. He wasn't sure and didn't really care. He was on a boat, floating down another South Vietnam river. It was the summer of 1969. He was in his early 20s. His life's possessions were in his army issue duffle. He was a combat engineer, trained to operate explosives, help out infantrymen and kill.

Daniel M. Hinojosa


By Amy Bingham

As the first rays of sun peeked over the horizon, Daniel Hinojosa slowly opened his swollen, mosquito-bitten eyelids. The familiar sight of thick, damp jungle surrounded him. Inside his Army boots, Hinojosa felt the sickening squirm of leeches that had snuck in through his shoelace holes while he slept. Soon his fellow soldiers awoke, and the morning routine of plucking the small, black bloodsuckers from each other commenced. It was just another day as an infantryman on patrol in 1969 during the Vietnam War.

Lupe Uresti


By Shelby Custer

In December of 1975, Guadalupe Arredondo Uresti, a 31-year-old homemaker, spoke at a kick-off rally for the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project in the old Civic Center of Rosenberg, southwest of Houston.

Uresti, who also devoted time to working in her father's furniture business, remembered exhorting her Mexican American neighbors to register and to vote - to make their voices and needs heard. Even though she trembled with nervousness, she made an impression.

Velia Erlinda Sanchez-Ruiz


By Rachel Hill

Voter participation was always a priority for former gym teacher Velia Sanchez-Ruiz, who grew up under segregation in Texas. Sanchez-Ruiz, who was 71 at the time of her interview, recalled what life was like as she grew up in of Lockhart, Texas, 30 miles southeast of Austin, during that period. She was born in 1942, one of seven children born to Cruz Garcia-Sanchez and Adela Mayo-Sanchez, a civil servant that worked at Bergstrom Air Force Base and a homemaker. They lived on the Mexican and African-American side of the city.

Frances Rodriguez Luna


By Joan Vinson

Politics in small-town Texas were very different when Frances Luna was young. Back in the days of the poll tax, politicians would offer to cover the fee to encourage local residents to vote for them.

Luna said that when she was 15 years old, Johnny Phillips, a county commissioner in Fort Bend County, paid the poll tax for her father, Elias Rodriguez. But it took more than that to earn the support of the Mexican-born cotton farmer.

Ben R. Saenz


By Gilbert Song

Bernardino "Ben" Saenz Jr. arrived in Vietnam to the sound of sirens and pitch black darkness in May 1969, just five months after he was drafted. The smell was terrible, he recalled.

"I knew I was in the real stuff when I saw the bodies," Saenz said. "That's the worst smell, seeing a dead body that had been there months decaying. I remember pulling the arm of one and I got maggots all over me." Enemy graves had to be dug up to see if weapons or food were buried under them, he added.

John Reyes


By Julie Rene Tran

The deep scar on his right arm, a slash made by a Viet Cong fighter’s knife, became barely visible. His eyebrows grew back and missing flesh on his calves, vestiges of a mortar attack, filled in. The upper lip, the one that “fluttered” after that same firefight, again formed a natural smile.

John Reyes Jr.’s physical marks from the Vietnam War healed; the profound impact of the war and life in the Marines weighed on him long afterward.

Richard G. Perez


By Alexandra Loucel

U.S. Marine Corps veteran Richard Perez, the son of a World War II veteran, was in Vietnam for three months, from December 1966 to February 1967. But those three months altered his life forever and led him to advocate for other veterans in his hometown of Houston.