By Steve Walker
San Antonio Hispanics, along with Hispanics all over the county are currently celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month. (September 15 to October 15)
Home to the Alamo and the Missions, San Antonio as a community celebrates the rich heritage and Hispanic culture that is so dominates our city.
During this time, we recognize the important presence of Hispanic and Latino Americans who have made major contributions to America’s way of life. Could anyone have imagined that not one but two Hispanic candidates such as Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Florida Senator Marco Rubio are currently running for President of the United States?
When Pope Francis visited Washington, New York City and Philadelphia on a goodwill trip last week, he addressed immigration issues confronting our country. He spoke limited English but spoke at length in Spanish to the masses of Hispanic Catholics celebrating his message and physical presence.
He was warmly received by the Hispanic community as well as the community at large.Last week I wrote about local Hispanic icon Lionel Sosa kicking off the celebration with his art exhibit entitled “Windows to the Soul,” at St. Philip’s College, September 17th.
As an artist, his portrait exhibit was well-received by the students in attendance for the formal presentation. The exhibit will eventually will be housed in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C.
I shared with the readers that Sosa was named "One of the 25 Most Influential Hispanics in America" by Time Magazine in July 2005 and is a member of the Texas Business Hall of Fame. Most recently, he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.
According to the recent Census, 50.5 million people or 16% of the population are of Hispanic or Latino origin. The Hispanic community is increasing in numbers and contributing to the overall success of our country.
I am privileged to have shared numerous personal experiences with local Hispanics who continue to make the Alamo City a better place. For the last three years writing “Just a Thought,” I have written about such luminaries as former Councilwoman Maria Berriozabal, former Mayor and HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros, and activist Jaime Martinez who marched with National hero Cesar Chavez.
Harlandale High School graduate and actor Jesse Borrego, National Selective Service Director Larry Romo, and International singer Doctor Patsy Torres were also coved in my column.
But who could forget now retired Archbishop Patrick Flores whose story I shared as well, whose life made a significant difference in our community like Pope Francis.
In the late nineties as a public speaking teacher at McCollum HS, I hosted then Archbishop Patrick Flores, the first Mexican American Archbishop in the United States.
I remember writing about his growing up as a migrant worker and being a 10th grader for two years because he was in the fields picking cotton. From migrant worker to 1st Mexican American Archbishop in the United States is not a shabby accomplishment!
With only 11 days left to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month, San Antonio can be proud of the major contributions of its Hispanic community to the country. I have great faith that the contributions will continue long after the official celebration is over.
Anyway, as always, what I write is “Just a Thought.”
Steve Walker is a Vietnam Veteran, former Judge and Journalist.