A Moment In Time
Today, Latinos often take for granted our right to vote for elected officials at the city, county state and federal level. But there was a time, not too long ago, when Latinos were considered subversive for simply wanting to register Mexican Americans to vote.
In 1969, following the walk-outs by students at Crystal City High school in South Texas to protest inferior educational opportunities, Mexican Americans began to register Mexican Americans to vote in South Texas. Many of these young organizers were members of the Mexican American Youth Organization (MAYO) and others were members of a fledgling third political party, La Raza Unida (The United People). Local law enforcement authorities, instead of lauding these efforts to continue the American tradition political empowerment, began to harass the young organizers. This included following them on their voter registration efforts and taking surveillance photos of their purported subversive activities.
This surveillance photo was taken by the Texas Department of Public Safety sometime in the summer of 1970 when organizers met at Garner State Park to discuss getting out the vote. The group of youthful Mexican American organizers in the photo includes José Angel Gutiérrez, Mario Compeon, Carlos Guerra, Juan Patlán, Alberto Luera, Chuy Ramirez, Ruben Barrera, Efraín Fernández and others. Photo is courtesy of La Voz de Austin. (See adjacent captioned photo)