|For many the association with el movimiento was the same as the trend to move in a socialistic or liberal
direction. This for me was not the case as I was committed to make my own way. My activism of the day
cause some financial problems for my family, however we never missed or were late for a house payment,
lacked for food or clothing. I continued not only in staying active in my community, but continued in
furthering my education. This was a challenge when there were times I would have to hold down two
jobs to meet my obligations. Chicano pride meant I could achieve anything I desired despite the obstacles
society placed in my path.
By 1974 the dream of a viable La Raza Unida party had pretty much diminished in Colorado. So Tio
Tacos had opted to return back to the Democratic Party and get involved in politics in that venue. I saw
nothing but a party of individuals that would continue to keep Latinos as slaves to the welfare system. At
the same time weakening what little political strength Latinos had achieved by encompassing every
radical liberal group into their ranks. Latinos were now competing for a piece of the political pie with
everything from tree huggers, animal rights weirdos and advocates of destroying the children of world
starting in the womb. In the early 70's I became involved in the more conservative party available and
became a registered Republican.
This was my destiny through out the 1970’s, however in 1977 I lost my last ties to my historical past with
the passing of my abuelita. On a dark and bleak November day, we loaded her coffin into the back of my
truck and I took her home to rest in a valley in Northern New Mexico. It was perhaps the longest drive I
have ever experience for the memories of my grandma would end with this drive. She was my past and
the question now would be, who will be my future? Little did I know as I made my trip in a matter of a
few months I would be given the answer to that question.
My grandmother has passed away; I will always remember her as the softest person in the world.
Grandma taught me how to roll my own, not because she wanted to hook me on tobacco. She did not
want me to go behind the barn and try experiment on my own, I was about 11 at the time, is this not
wisdom. You know I came to hate tobacco because of her, because she would hand me the zig zags, the
saceto de ponche (tobacco) and we would roll our own, all was cool until I lit the cigarette. Then I would
get sick. What wisdom, I do not know for sure but she probably did not attend one day of school.
Grandma was the last person I visited before I left home to join the Army, and the first person I went to
see when I was discharged. I still recall the conversations I would later witness between her and my
daughter. Mi abuelita could not speak a word of English and my daughter could not speak a word of
Spanish, yet they somehow manage to converse with each other for hours. This is something the most
prolific education system cannot provide two individuals.
I took mi abuelita home we laid her to rest; I got drunk for one of the last times in my life. I came back
to Colorado and sought a replacement for this wonderful lady. One Sunday morning in a little Holiness
church, among a group of African Americans, in the Park Hill community I sat in a Sunday school class
at the invite of a buddy of mine. I heard the story of a person who could accept me much in the same
manner as my grandma, love me unconditionally. This was the story of a simple man, or so I thought,
who historically had many titles, but the world knew him simply as Jesus. John 3:16, you look it up if
you do not already know it.
So how does this revelation make me a better Chicano? Allow me this simple explanation. God hates the
sin but he loves the sinner. So my secret is to make an attempt to be like-minded with God through his
Son, Christ Jesus. This is not an easy task but it is possible.
My first task as a Christian and my identity as a Chicano were to approach my co-directors of an
organization called CAUSSA. This group was the Concerned and United Spanish-Surnamed Americans.
We had organized and incorporated as a non-profit group so as to file a lawsuit against the Bell System
for discrimination against Mexicans Americans and woman in the workplace. I would later organize a
grassroots group of Chicanos called MALO, the Mexican American League of Organizations. I
approached my co-directors and the membership to add any disenfranchised group to our lawsuit; my
reasoning was as a Christian I could not favor any one class of individual over another even Chicanos. I
was voted down on this concept and resigned the organization that I founded. The lawsuit continued
with only women and Mexican American, incidentally women were named because we had a number of
women in our organizations married to Anglos and we felt they needed to be included.
The next transition as a Chicano. I was now a Born Again Christian, a popular term at the time, I was
still a Chicano, with ties to my people La Raza and I needed to complete the trinity of my life. Many
things in the natural life parallel the spiritual, or so my study of scripture. I was taught early on by my
first Bible Teacher and Pastor at the time, which later became the Bishop of our denomination that as
Christian it is first natural then spiritual. The easiest way to explain this is with this thought. It is
difficult to feed a hungry person the spiritual food of Gods Love, if he or she has not ate for days, so first
the individual must be given a natural meal before being feed the Bread of Life.
I enrolled into a Bible college for a two-year program to get licenses as a Minister. I began an extensive
self-study on the virtues of a Christian Life and looked for individuals I could emulate as maintaining
those virtues. A name that kept appearing in my reading was that of Ronald Reagan, in the late 70’s his
name kept appearing as a contender for the Republican nominee for President and by 1980 he was well
on the road to becoming the nominee. I joined the Reagan bandwagon and became part of the Viva
Reagan a small group of Hispanics supporting Reagan for President, and made a deeper commitment to
the Republican Party.
President Reagan brought forth to light the two important concepts that completed the trinity in my life.
First he restored the conviction I had grown up with as a child and a young adult, that being the pride in
America and being an American. Next he gave back the dignity I had earned as a veteran and more
specifically a Vietnam veteran, the dignity that had been raped by a nation that had for one forsaken
God. Disgraced this great nation by demeaning the virtues that its founding fathers had placed in its
constitution. And moved to deliver La Raza and other minorities from the hands of a slave master called
the welfare state.