Nonprofits

Local LULAC marks 35th anniversary on Cinco de Mayo

18 San Benito County leaders and institutions recognized for their support of the activist group.

This article was written by BenitoLink intern Juliana Luna

Nearly 100 guests on May 5 met at The Epicenter in Hollister where the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) Council 2890 celebrated its 35th Anniversary with an event called Community Achievements.

The achievements highlighted in the event include LULAC-created scholarships, mentorship programs and youth conferences. 

The gathering included live music by harpist William Faulkner, who is known as El Charro Harpist, master of Zapotiltic, Jalisco, and mariachi music styles. 

La Catrina Mexican Grill provided flautas, burritos, sopes, enchiladas and Mexican bread sweets for guests.

Cesar Flores presenting his speech. Photo by Raul Flores.
Cesar Flores presenting his speech. Photo by Raul Flores.

Former local presidents spoke on LULAC’s accomplishments during its 35 years in the community. They also pledged to continue fighting for Latino representation to achieve greater employment and social equality.

San Juan Bautista Vice Mayor Cesar Flores said Cinco de Mayo “is not about celebrating a victory of the battle. It’s about those who are born here, whose parents, grandparents and great-great parents came to this country long ago. American citizens who have been marginalized socially and economically—people who have to raise their rights and privileges on their own—those who in recent times, were not included in this country’s history books.

“We celebrate Cinco de Mayo, not in recognition of a battle in another nation but a battle of recognition in this nation,” Flores continued. “Recognition that we are equal to all others in intellect and goodness.” 

San Benito County Superior Court Judge Patrick Palacios, who served as LULAC president in 1992-93, and whose oldest son, born that year, was nicknamed “Baby LULAC” said, “I always tried to work with, speak to, and motivate anyone who saw a career in law, and guide them to a direction. Especially Latinos.”

San Benito County Superior Court Judge Patrick Palacios. Photo by Raul Flores.
San Benito County Superior Court Judge Patrick Palacios. Photo by Raul Flores.

“Passion for justice is something we need to keep and maintain. For those who have been here for generations or are coming here now, they need to know that we have a just and fair society,” Palacios said. 

He promised to continue his role as a judge with that same sense of justice. 

“We have come a long way,” said founding member Mickie Solorio Luna. “When you think of 35 years, you don’t think of everything that this organization has done. We have been affiliated with every agency with San Benito County, college, and school district, and we aren’t stopping. There are so many young people—1,295 youth members that have gone through the youth organization.” She added that this figure included over 330 young adults across state colleges.

“Some of them are here today and I’m so proud of them,” Luna continued. “I’m also very proud of honorable Patrick Palacios and honorable Omar Rodriguez. They have been our supporters for years.”

 

At the end of the evening, 18 awards were given. “For people who are constantly there for us, we give them a tribute,” said Luna. 

The recipients:

  • Community Foundation of San Benito County
  • Farmers Insurance—Eric Contreras 
  • Allstate Insurance—Roger Soell
  • Jovenes de Antaño—Pauline Valdivia 
  • Hollister City Recreation—Tina Garza
  • Gavilan College—Dr. Kathleen Rose
  • San Benito County Office of Education
  • San Benito High School
  • Hollister School District
  • Hollister Super Markets- Chang So
  • Nob Hill Bakery
  • Hollister Community Outreach
  • Farmworker Caravans
  • True Value Hardware- Fernando Gonzalez
  • Dr. Ahmad Rafii
  • Congressman Jimmy Panetta
  • State Senator Anna Caballero
  • Assemblyman Robert Rivas 

 

LULAC Achievements in San Benito County

  • Granting scholarships: 35 years, over $175,000  
  • Young Readers Program: four Hollister School District schools in 13 years, $96,000
  • Latino Student Leadership Conferences: 18 years, $72,000
  • Adelante Mentorship Program: 14 years, $105,000
  • Annual Student Retreats: 23 years, $78,500
  • Diversity Dialogue Student Meetings: five years
  • Annual Hispanic Women in Action Reception: 26 years
  • Annual Veterans Breakfast: 26 years
  • Needy Children Toy Drive: 25 years
  • Youth Sports sponsorships: Hollister Recreation
  • Latino Boy Scouts Troop
  • Graffiti Cleanup: Hollister Police Dept, 10 years
  • Hollister Downtown Association Street Festival: 18 years
  • Community service and assistance to local agencies
  • Community partners with various Latino nonprofits
  • LULAC Youth Leadership: 33 years
  • LULAC Youth Members: 1,297 participants  
  • LULAC Young Adult Participation: 21 Years, 364 collegiate students
  • San Benito LULAC introduced and secured city of Hollister District Elections
  • Encouraged and secured trustee district elections to boards including Hazel Hawkins Hospital, San Benito High School, Hollister School District and Gavilan College District
  • Petitioned the U.S. Department of Justice for a decree against the county elections department, alleging Latino Voting Act violations in 2003
  • Local council adult and young adult and youth members have served in district, state and national leadership roles
  • Named National Council of the Year in 2000 at the national convention in Boston
  • Participated in the National Youth Council in Las Vegas in 2012
  • Joined EHAT—Empowering Hispanic America with Technology, a local partnership computer center, in 2019

 

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Juliana Luna

Juliana Luna is Hollister born and raised. She recently graduated from San Benito High School, 2021. Currently attending Gavilan College where she plans to earn her Business Associate’s Degree to transfer to a four-year university. In her free time, she enjoys exploring Pinnacles National Park, horse riding, and photography.