Rosa Rosales

Continuing my mission to write about local and national Hispanic icons for the past 6 years, today I reference another local female. Rosa Rosales is a well-known activist for immigration reform and Latino issues. How appropriate.

She is willing to stand up for the weak. disenfranchised and fight for human dignity when it is being abused. Currently, thousands of Hispanic immigrant children are separated from their mothers and put into cages! Outrageous.

She is a Past National LULAC President with four terms as the organization’s national spokesperson. A woman who doesn’t mince words, Rosa Rosales has been at the forefront.

What makes her so unique is her dignified answers which can quickly escalate into passionate fiery rhetoric when challenged to defend those she feels are being discriminated against. She lets her adversaries know that she is not to be trifled with or summarily dismissed as someone not familiar with the issue at hand. When speaking she will not hesitate to take her antagonist to task. I have witnessed it.

CNN Financial Anchor Lou Dobbs, (now Fox News Talk Show host) hosted a town forum entitled “Broken Borders” at the Empire Theatre, October 25th, 2006 her first year as National LULAC President. The hour long live show featured Rosa and various experts on immigration. I was present.

Then Mayor Lou Barletta of Hazelton, Pennsylvania showed up to blast illegal immigration and told the audience of his city’s recent ordinance prohibiting citizens from renting or hiring “illegal aliens” who he said was taking over his town. The debate aired live on CNN from 6 -7 p.m.

Rosales also took exception to the term “illegal alien” vs. undocumented worker. As a retired teacher in the prominently Hispanic communities where I even taught migrant children in Southside ISD, I react the same way Rosa does.

She took him to task saying to him that Hispanics were not aliens from outer space as he unsuccessfully tried to cut her off. She didn’t flinch. He shook his head laughing and rolling his eyes and let her finish her comments. She was roundly cheered by the local attendees.

Twelve years later not much has changed. It is in the forefront now with incarceration of little ones like the 3-year-old in court by himself! Climbing on chairs!

I also had the pleasure of her presence in my courtroom once when I was a Judge. She successfully and articulately spoke against an illegal eviction of a tenant who had actually paid their rent. She saved the lady from being wrongfully evicted.

Rosa is a woman of integrity, dignity and class. I am honored to call her “friend.” She is one who belongs in the group of Hispanic icons appearing in this column on an on-going basis.

Anyway, as always, what I write is “Just a Thought.”

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About The Author

Steve Walker

Steve Walker is a Vietnam Veteran, former Justice of the Peace and Journalist.

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