Late civil rights pioneer Dr. Hector P. Garcia would have been 104 years old Tuesday, and local dignitaries got together Wednesday to remember his birthday and his legacy at the American Bank Center.
"He did so much for this community and for the entire United States in general," said his daughter, Cecilia Garcia Akers.
Akers is the head of the Dr. Hector P. Garcia Foundation, which is implementing its project titled "The Next 100 Years" to promote her father's legacy.
"I hope that his legacy inspires someone to be like him. A Hispanic to step up nationally in this country to represent Hispanics. There really are Americans who are sick, who are disabled, who need help with healthcare in particular, and veterans and people who cannot get a quality education, and I hope someday someone will be inspired to be just like him," Akers said
Moses Estrada, the commander of the local chapter of the G.I. Forum, hopes to have more sponsors help with the 18-plus scholarships they fund each year.
"Whenever they get their bachelor's degree or whatever, they know that we did something for them and they themselves can do for other students. Especially the ones that cannot afford scholarships and things like that," Estrada said.
Nick Adame, the President of LULAC Council One, said he hopes Dr. Garcia's memory motivates people to help others.
"This is an individual that was there for everybody and so what a great role model to our young generation. The leadership, the mentoring he did, the care that he had for the community," Adame said.
Adame would like to see Garcia's memory propel a Hispanic to the national stage.
"Because of him paving the way for Hispanics for that leadership role. I think now is the time," Adame said.
According to Akers, just having the right candidate ready to serve is not the only issue.
"The problem is we have to go out and vote, and we have to register first so we can't sit back and wait for things to happen. We have to take the action to do everything," Akers said.
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