Just a Thought: Remembering Choco Meza
by Steve Walker
Choco Meza, a tireless activist for the local Democratic Party, passed away last Sunday, October 9th, after a short bout with cancer. She was coordinating the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign in San Antonio when she died. Ironically she passed away just hours before the second presidential debate with Republican Donald Trump in St. Louis.
As one who has known her for years, I was devastated to hear that she died of liver cancer. Her husband Daniel was my realtor when I rented my house out to renters. When she was the Bexar County Democratic Party Chair, she personally assisted me when I ran for Judge to ensure I filled out my forms correctly to get on the ballot. I also took numerous photos of her as Party Chair and as the coordinator of the Hillary campaign in Bexar County.
I expected to do so again last week during the debate. Secretary Hillary Clinton an hour before the debate tweeted: “Saddened by the passing of Choco Meza, a historic figure in Texas politics and beloved friend on our team. My prayers are with her family.-H.”
A number of friends and admirers expressed their condolences and thoughts at the second Presidential Debate Watch Party at the headquarters on West Commerce.
Robert Vargas III said, “Choco Meza is a true trailblazer. She is a modern day kingmaker for sure. She is a no nonsense grass roots activist who has paved the way for so many in Bexar County. She leaves a void as big as Texas in our hearts and we must work hard to fulfill her legacy and continue her work.”
A young Kayla Price noted, “Miss Meza means the world to me since she has done a lot for my mom. She was an amazing woman.”
Emilio Pena pointed out, “She was a powerful woman and leader. I will miss her.” His wife Sylvia added, I will cherish her memory.”
Skye Curd added, “Choco worked tirelessly for our community. I was beyond blessed to have had her friendship.”
Andres Lopez who worked in the Hillary campaign headquarters under Choco said, “Choco is an icon and a legacy for helping San Antonio families.”
Maryann Ramos also a volunteer in the Hillary Headquarters noted that “We have lost an amazing woman, mentor, fearless leader and most importantly a beloved friend. She will continue to be in our hearts as we work hard to bring her vision to life of electing our first woman president.”
Rose Marie Dehoyos shared that “Choco was my mentor and friend. I will miss her smile and determination to get things completed. We will all miss her greatly.”
Mark Camann added, “It was my honor to work with her one year when she was Party Chair. What she did in that year was perhaps her greatest accomplishment. She took the party out of debt of $200 thousand dollars embezzled by the party treasurer. She almost single handedly raised the money to pay off the debt within 7 months and turned it around.”
Carla Vela a former Bexar County Democratic Party Chair who served a term before Choco posted on Facebook: “Such a beautiful and smart lady. She is gone way too soon. We are going to miss you. I know you are in heaven with God. My friend, may you Rest in Peace.”
Maria Salazar, a local attorney also posted on Facebook: “Choco Gonzalez Meza is a treasure, a tremendous resource for San Antonio, a mover-shaker and a dedicated organizer for women, and Latinos.”
Born in the Mexican province of Coahuila, Meza as a three year-old, came to Texas. She leaves behind Daniel Meza, her husband of over 40 years, their two children, Danny Meza and Ivalis Meza-Gonzalez, granddaughter Emma and numerous friends.
In 1992, Meza served under HUD Secretary Henry G. Cisneros as deputy assistant secretary for Intergovernmental Relations and was the agency’s liaison to the Bill Clinton White House.
Most recently, Meza was campaign manager for Shirley Gonzales’ two successful runs for City Council District 5 and served as the councilwoman’s chief of staff. She took time off from that job to head-up the local Clinton campaign.
When Choco was once asked what it meant to be an American, she said: “Just look at my family. That is an American success story.” We miss you Choco Meza.
Anyway, as always, what I write is “Just a Thought.”
Steve Walker is a Vietnam Veteran, former Judge and Journalist