Domingo Garcia is a fierce, passionate, take-no-prisoners type of champion for Hispanics in the United States and Puerto Rico. Since his election to the top post of LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens) in Phoenix, Arizona, in July 2018, he has led the nation’s largest and oldest Latino civil rights organization with unparalleled determination and dedication. Under his leadership, LULAC has achieved significant milestones and impacted the lives of millions of Latinos across the country.
“My job is to make sure that Latinos are being taken into account on every major issue that we’re dealing with in state houses and all the way up to the White House,” says Garcia. “It is said that if you’re not at the table, you’re going to be on the menu, and I’m going to make very sure that the millions of Jose and Marias in the United States and Puerto Rico are not taken for granted and being served up for others to enjoy. LULAC is determined and relentless in its fight for justice from day one. This goal was my commitment, and I will see it through until the very last day of my administration,” he adds.
One of the most remarkable achievements of LULAC under Domingo Garcia’s leadership has been the organization’s work during the darkest days of the pandemic. Despite the risks involved, LULAC entered America’s meatpacking facilities to fight for the rights and protections of essential workers. These workers, who toiled in the harvest fields, packing warehouses, and food stores, were the backbone of the nation’s food supply chain. LULAC fought tirelessly and succeeded in winning historical protection for these workers, ensuring their safety and well-being in the workplace.
In addition to protecting essential workers, LULAC, under Domingo Garcia’s guidance, has advocated for the rights of servicemen and women in the U.S. military. The organization played a pivotal role in the passage of two critical acts—the Brandon Act and the Vanessa Guillen Act—to help save the lives of military personnel. These acts address the urgent need for mental health support and protection against sexual harassment and assault within the military ranks. LULAC’s relentless efforts to challenge the status quo and speak truth to power have resulted in significant victories for the brave men and women serving in the armed forces.
Garcia states, “These past five years, I have repeatedly traveled from border to border and coast to coast when major events affect Latinos. LULAC has been on the front line from California to Washington, the Mexico border to Canada. Elected leaders must know that when we are on the scene, it’s serious business, and we are looking after our community’s interest to ensure they’re protected and that their rights are being respected.”
Domingo Garcia’s indomitable spirit extends beyond the realm of worker’s rights and military advocacy. He has been a vocal advocate for individuals facing injustices within the criminal justice system. LULAC, under his leadership, spoke truth to power in the case of a truck driver in Colorado who was facing a 110-year prison sentence for a traffic accident. Through their relentless advocacy, LULAC successfully persuaded the Governor of Colorado to commute the sentence, allowing the truck driver to reunite with his family in just five years. This remarkable achievement highlights Domingo Garcia’s unwavering commitment to fighting for justice and fairness, regardless of the circumstances.
“LULAC is working hard to make sure that we’re disrupting the so-called pipeline to prison that takes our youths into the criminal justice system, and that instead we’re helping them get into colleges and universities, trades and professions so that they can sustain themselves and their families,” says Garcia. “Our young people are bright, and they’re eager to learn and to work, and we’re not asking for handouts; we’re simply wanting to make sure that barriers are removed out of our way and that the path to opportunity for them is the same as it is for every other community in America,” he adds.
Furthermore, LULAC, under Domingo Garcia’s leadership, has taken a stand against voter suppression in states across the country. Recognizing the importance of protecting the voices and rights of Latinos, LULAC has been actively involved in legal battles to ensure that every citizen’s vote counts. By engaging in court battles and challenging discriminatory practices, LULAC has played a crucial role in the fight against voter suppression, amplifying the voices of the Latino community and working towards a more inclusive democracy.
“Numerically, we are growing faster than many other communities, but we must also grow proportionately in political power, which is why LULAC is fighting against gerrymandering and other types of voter suppression that are intended to slow or crush our political voice,” says Garcia. “We are determined not to be shut out through a changing of the election rules in the middle of the game to favor people who do not wish to accept the changing face of our country. Conditions for us made me different, but in many ways, we are seeing a repeat of the same type of discrimination tactics that our parents and grandparents faced,” he adds.
Domingo Garcia has also made significant strides in strengthening LULAC’s presence and influence in Washington, D.C. The organization now has a new and more assertive presence in the nation’s capital, with an office closer to Capitol Hill. This state-of-the-art office serves as a hub for LULAC’s daily activities and allows them to keep a sharper eye on legislation. With an open invitation to visit the office, LULAC is actively engaging with lawmakers, making their voices heard, and advocating for bipartisan action on the civil rights issues that matter to the Latino community.
One area of legislation that LULAC prioritizes is the defense of Latinos at their workplaces. They are staunch advocates against illegal working conditions, such as child labor crimes in some meatpacking plants. More than a hundred Latino children, as young as 13, were found to be illegally working at night cleaning in several states, suffering burns due to hazardous chemicals. LULAC uncovered these injustices and called for an investigation by the Department of Justice and the FBI to end the exploitation of young workers in the meatpacking industry.
Immigration is another critical issue that LULAC, under Domingo Garcia’s leadership, is deeply committed to addressing. They have been actively involved in efforts to support arriving refugees and have worked to halt the illegal shipping of people to distant places under the pretenses of job opportunities and housing. By standing up against the exploitation and mistreatment of Latino refugees, LULAC sends a powerful message that their lives and dignity matter.
Safety and security in Latino communities are also at the forefront of LULAC’s agenda. The organization has spoken out against bad cops who use excessive force under the color of law. In response to the tragic mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 children and two teachers lost their lives, LULAC raised a million dollars in donations for the victims. They stand in solidarity with the affected families, providing support and actively working towards preventing such tragedies in the future.
“The battle is far from over, and racism is not something you cure,” says Garcia. “It is a form of hate that pops up or continues every generation until perhaps one day, the full promise of our country will be here for every person. LULAC will continue to speak out until that day and beyond because we are, and will continue to be, an important part of what America represents,” he says.
Indeed, Domingo Garcia’s leadership is propelling LULAC to new heights, amplifying the organization’s influence and impact on the lives of Latinos in the United States and Puerto Rico. With unwavering determination, LULAC continues to fight for justice, equality, and the civil rights of the millions of Latinos they represent. Domingo Garcia’s approach of perseverance and laser focus has positioned him as a most visible national warrior for the Latino community, and his legacy will undoubtedly leave an indelible mark on the fight for equality in America.