By Leonard Rodriguez
This column highlights inspiring stories of Latino leaders. For more than 500 years, Latino men and wom- en have positively influenced the face of United States so- ciety. Let us celebrate these outstanding hispanics.
Reies Lopez Tijerina
A passionate speaker and militant leader of the Chicano movement, Reies Lopez Tijerina founded Alianza Federal de Mercedes in 1963, with the goal of returning millions of acres of land to spanish land- grant heirs as promised by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hildago.
In June 1967, after amassing evidence of how Anglo settlers legally manipulated Spanish landowners out of their property by taking ad- vantage of their unfamiliarity with the U.S system of titles and taxation, Tijerina and his followers descended on the town of Tierra Amarilla, N.M. Intending to make a citizens’ arrest of the district attorney who opposed his organization, Tijerina was involved in a two- hour shootout. His subsequent imprisonment brought attention to the movement, making Tijerina a Chicano hero.