Category: Dr. Ricardo Romo

The Art World of Raul Gonzalez

By Dr. Ricardo Romo Raul Gonzalez began drawing at the age of six, but never thought that a path existed for him becoming an artist until viewing the film “Blood In Blood Out,” a 1993 crime drama that featured the work of San Antonio artist, Adan Hernandez. Gonzalez was fourteen years old when he saw the movie, and he instantly connected with one of the featured characters whose painting talents enabled him to sell his art in prestigious Los Angeles galleries. High school teachers in his hometown of Houston noticed his talents and encouraged him to enter art competitions....

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Joe Bernal: Lessons from a Successful Latino Leader

Joe Bernal was a pioneer in securing educational rights and opportunities for Latinos. All San Antoniians can be proud of his many contributions. Joe Bernal was baptized Jose Maria Bernal and is known to the Westside community of San Antonio as Dr. Bernal or Senator Bernal He is often called “Chema” to close family members and friends. Bernal was raised near J.T. Brackenridge Elementary School at the corner of Brazos and Guadalupe Street. As a young student, he was often punished for speaking Spanish in school. Growing up during the Great Depression years his family had little money, and...

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Latino Entrepreneurship in the Arts.

By Dr. Ricardo Romo Andy Benavides is the quintessential example of a Latino entrepreneur. Over the past 25 years he has successfully expanded his commercial art enterprise while devoting himself to the construction of studio spaces for artists, galleries to show art works, and the promotion of monthly art events. In doing so, he has given rise to a major artistic center–”Southtown The Art District.” This area encompasses five neighborhoods: King Williams, Lavaca, Lone Star, Roosevelt, and Collin Garden. Andy Benavides grew up in the Southside of San Antonio where his love for art and business were honed at...

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Westside Memories

By Santos S. Villarreal Edited by Dr. Ricardo Romo Santos S. Villarreal, born and raised in San Antonio’s Westside, graduated from Lanier High School in 1955. Here is his account of working for Urban Renewal and HUD. The Santos S. Villarreal Memories “I graduated from St. Mary’s (BBA) in 1962. This was a time when much of the business sector was shut out to minority graduates. We were all having trouble finding jobs within our business majors. We accepted whatever came our way. In my case it was social work and I loved my job I applied for any...

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The Rise of Latino Political Leaders

By Dr. Ricardo Romo When I returned to Texas in January 1980 after a 13 year hiatus, I found my hometown of San Antonio undergoing monumental political transformations and subtle social and cultural changes. Every town and city in America experienced change over the latter part of the 20th century. Some more than others.      A quarter century after WWII, while the Alamo city was undergoing changes it was trailing significantly behind Houston and Dallas in improving its economic footing as these other Texas cities surged ahead in population, skilled jobs, and overall wealth. Community leaders such as Henry Cisneros...

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Latinos’ Contribution to the US Economy

By Dr. Ricardo Romo Nearly 60 million Americans are of Latino descent and they live in every state and U.S. Territory. They are the nation’s largest minority group and constitute 18% of all Americans. Indeed, there are nearly five million Latinos residing in Los Angeles County alone. San Antonio is now 65% Latino and growing. Researchers have recently published studies on the rising impact of Latinos on the economy and their increasing consumer influence of this ethnic group. The study findings are quite surprising. This essay reviews some of those findings. Our story begins with a report published by Barron’s this past September titled “Latinos are the Future for U.S. GDP Growth. ” The article presented the findings of scholars from the University of California Los Angeles [UCLA] and California Lutheran University [CLU]. The university researchers, reported by Barron’s, concluded that if Latinos were their own country they would “be the eighth-largest economy in the world, just behind France.” The Gross Domestic Product [GDP] value for American Latinos was estimated at $2.3 Trillion in 2017. This is a startling observation given that Latino economic power is now greater than the economies of Brazil, Canada, Russia, or Mexico. Dr. David Hays-Baustista, a prominent UCLA scholar, and other key researchers for the study told Barron’s that “Latinos are the cavalry coming to the rescue of the insufficient workforce in America.” He...

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Latinos Also Inspired by Dr. King’s Dream

By Dr. Ricardo Romo Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke before 250,000 demonstrators for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in August of 1963, the largest protest event in American history. He awakened the nation to its constitutional obligations of fairness and justice for all. While his legacy is secure, there is less known about King’s indirect contribution to a rise in Latino awareness of injustices, discrimination, and violence against minorities of color. Here is a part of the Latino historical and legal link to King’s American dream. During King’s generation, Texas, and all the Southern States, successfully...

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Latinos Can Find Benefits From Art and Music

By Dr. Ricardo Romo Latinos benefit by engaging in the arts, and not just for the obvious reasons of enjoying beauty and creativity. In many Latino communities we too often celebrate the arts and music largely as spectators in seasonal social activity such as Fiesta, Dia de los Muertos [Day of the Dead], or a Mariachi serenade for a birthday event. It turns out, this is not enough if we desire a longer and happier life. A recent scientific study has found that museums and music concerts are actually good for our very survival. In a January New York...

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Latinos Count on the Census

By Dr. Ricardo Romo How we think of ourselves and what ethnic identification terms we prefer are important and such terms have been evolving over the last four decades in San Antonio and Los Angeles, two cities with large Latino residents. A new book by Edward Telles and Christina A. Sue, “Durable Ethnicity: Mexican Americans and the Ethnic Core” offers valuable insights into the Mexican American experience in San Antonio and Los Angeles over the last fifty years. One of those new findings is the swift appeal and acceptance of the term Hispanic [36%] in San Antonio, which edged...

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The End of Segregation in a Southern Town

By Ricardo Romo A story that is not well known is how San Antonio Tech High School was a prime model of racial harmony and ethnic tolerance in the city during the years 1955-1965. In these years many southern cities experienced racial strife associated with the struggle by Black Americans to gain equality with other Americans. Conflict was the norm rather than the exception in the civil rights struggle made famous by Martin Luther King and thousands of his followers. We are familiar with images of police suppressing peaceful demonstrations with tear gas, at times sending vicious dogs to...

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Why They Leave: A Central American Account

By Dr. Ricardo Romo In the last decade more immigrants arrived at the U.S. borders from Mexico and Central America than from any other region of the world. The arrival of immigrants on our southern border has been the subject of numerous print and television stories, and the migration story has been highly politicized. Misconceptions about refugees are many as President Trump and others incorrectly blame immigrants living in our communities with crime and violence. But do we know who these immigrants are and why they come? This is a story about immigrants from Central America. Migration is governed...

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Early Chicano Murals of San Antonio

The first Chicano murals originated in 1965 on the walls of Cesar Chavez’ United Farm Workers [UFW] union headquarters in Delano, California. A decade later, supporters of Chavez’ UFW union marched from the Texas Rio Grande Valley to Austin with stops in San Antonio. San Antonio artists took notice of the UFW’s use of colorful banners with artwork depicting farm worker issues in addition to the marchers’ incorporation of cultural images such as the Virgin Guadalupe to unite supporters. Chicano murals first appeared in San Antonio in 1974 when Jesse Trevino completed his monumental mural “La Historia Chicana” at...

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