Farewell Mario Obledo

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LOS ANGELES--In the history of Latinos in the United States, there are some remarkable individuals who dedicated their lives to fighting against discrimination and for the respect due the Latino community. There is no question that Mario Guerra Obledo was one of these people, write editors of La Opinión.

Mario Guerra Obledo, who passed away in Sacramento this week, devoted more than 50 years to fighting for civil rights.

He was one of the co-founders of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) and helped turn it into the leading Latino organization. He also co-founded the National Hispanic Bar Association and was a major figure in the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC).

California Latinos owe a debt to Obledo for having opened the community’s access to state government. During his six-year term as secretary of health and welfare under former California Governor Jerry Brown, he opened the doors for thousands of minorities to fill government jobs, breaking yet another barrier.

Obledo will be remembered for his passion in defense of Latinos and immigrants. In the 1990s, he was a fierce critic of Proposition 187, Proposition 209 that prohibited state affirmative action, and Proposition 227 that eliminated bilingual education.

Obledo was a progressive leader who was also part of the Rainbow Coalition, created by Reverend Jesse Jackson. There, Latinos and African-Americans shared one of Obledo’s ideals: that of a more just society.

Mario Obledo is one of the Latino giants who suffered anti-Mexican discrimination in Texas and devoted every second of his life to fighting it.