Friday, October 23, 2009

Hispanic civil rights leader honored

Albert Armendariz, Hispanic civil rights leader, honored with federal courthouse
Dallas Morning News, Oct 21, 2009

Rep. Silvestre Reyes is a busy guy. This morning alone, as chairman of the House intelligence committee, he's presiding over closed-door hearings on Mexico and the Patriot Act.

But, like other mortals in Congress, every now and again Reyes tries to get a post office or federal courthouse named. On Monday, President Barack Obama signed a Reyes bill naming El Paso's new federal courthouse after Albert Armendariz Sr., a local judge and civil rights leader.

Armendariz, who died two years ago at age 88, served as national president of the League of United Latin American Citizens and of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

In 1954, during his tenure as LULAC president, he helped argue Hernandez vs. the State of Texas, a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case that established Latinos as a distinct class entitled to protection under the 14th Amendment.

"This is a proud moment for the El Paso community and for Hispanics around the nation," Reyes said Tuesday. "Judge Armendariz's contributions to the advancement of civil rights helped change the landscape for Hispanics throughout America.... I hope future generations of El Pasoans will not only appreciate his important contributions to our country but also be inspired by his life story and achievements."

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