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LULAC Celebrates 80 Years

La Opinin , Editorial, Staff Posted: Feb 17, 2009

Some organizations become a significant part of a community's history because of their influence over the years. Such is the case of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), which over its 80 years, has defended and improved the lives of Latinos in the United States.

LULAC was founded on February 17, 1929 in reaction to the mistreatment suffered by Mexicans after the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Thanks to the wisdom of its leaders, LULAC embraced the values of this country and from that conviction, used all legal means to defend the rights of Latinos.

In 1931, LULAC participated in one of its first class actions suits against school discrimination in Texas. Years later, in the 1946 LULAC brought forward the case of Mendez vs. Westminster, in Santa Ana, California, ending 100 years of school segregation in the state. The case served as legal precedent for the more well-known Brown vs. Topeka, which ended racial separation in schools in the country.

LULAC grew over the decades, establishing the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) and reaching out to every corner of the country where Latinos resided. The organization now has more than 700 local councils, each furthering the mission of promoting economic progress, educational opportunities and defense of civil rights.

While Mexicans and Mexican-Americans are no longer being lynched, and Latinos no longer face segregation in public schools, the disparities of poverty, educational access and unequal opportunity continue, as does racial profiling and anti-immigrant fervor. LULAC's presence today is as vital as it was 80 years ago.

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