From the Peacock Auditorium, Texas A&M University-Kingsville celebrated a father to civil rights for Mexican-Americans.
It was a fitting twist, then, the speaker of honor knew him not only for his efforts for justice, but by a more familiar word: “Dad.”
On Wednesday, April 20, the Peacock Auditorium, Cecelia Garcia Akers discussed the legacy of her father, Dr. Hector P. Garcia.
Akers, who now heads the Dr. Hector P. Garcia Memorial Foundation, stopped by Texas A&M University-Kingsville to talk about her new book, “The Inspiring Life of Dr. Hector P. Garcia,” about a man who dedicated his life to fighting for Mexican-American rights across the country.
Akers held a book signing in the TAMUK bookstore, where every copy of her book quickly sold out; she then held a lecture in the Peacock Auditorium.
In her lecture, Akers discussed how her father tirelessly strove to secure better education and voting rights for Mexican-Americans.
The product of one of Garcia’s many efforts was establishing the American G.I. Forum, a group aimed at the promotion of veterans’ rights. Garcia witnessed the injustices done to the Latino community and refused to stand idly by.
While serving as a leader in the civil rights movement, Garcia also worked as a medical doctor in Corpus Christi, where he was able to reach out to many hurting people throughout the community.
In a Q&A session that Akers held after her lecture, Akers responded to a question regarding her father’s legacy being taught in schools Akers responded: “He has not gotten his due. We tried to get [book publishers] to mention him more but it has just not happened.”
Injustices of this kind are the primary reason Akers wrote, and is now promoting her book.
Garcia was more than just a leader in the civil rights movement; he represented the voice of a minority that had been told to be silent.
As long as he was around, the voice of the Mexican-American community would be silent no longer In light of his work, much progress has been made.
In 1984, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Ronald Reagan, a medal he then proudly wore everywhere he went.
Although Garcia passed away in 1996, his legacy continues to live on as a reminder to all that hard work and dedication can change the course of history.
Follow Samuel Galindo on Twitter: @samgalindo37