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Houston Breakthrough, May 1979
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Houston Breakthrough, May 1979 - Page 9. May 1979. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. April 21, 2021. https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/630/show/611.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(May 1979). Houston Breakthrough, May 1979 - Page 9. Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/630/show/611

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Houston Breakthrough, May 1979 - Page 9, May 1979, Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, accessed April 21, 2021, https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/630/show/611.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Houston Breakthrough, May 1979
Publisher Breakthrough Publishing Co.
Date May 1979
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women
  • Periodicals
  • Feminism--United States--Periodicals
  • Newsletters
Subject.Geographic (TGN)
  • Houston, Texas
Genre (AAT)
  • periodicals
Language English
Type (DCMI)
  • Text
  • Image
Original Item Location HQ1101 .B74
Original Item URL http://library.uh.edu/record=b2332724~S11
Digital Collection Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters
Digital Collection URL http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Repository URL http://info.lib.uh.edu/about/campus-libraries-collections/special-collections
Use and Reproduction Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by the content creator, author, artist or other entity, and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the copyright owner. For more information please see UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the UH Digital Library About page.
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Title Page 9
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File Name femin_201109_550ai.jpg
Transcript Black & Hispanic Democrats Unite Over 300 community leaders participated in the Town Hall Meeting to give grass roots support to the idea of a Black/Hispanic Coaltion. country and to change public opinion. "The town meeting is not an exercise in futility," Dellums emphatically stated amidst loud applause. Another member of the coalition subcommittee, U. S. Rep. John Conyers, from Michigan said, "What we're doing is every bit as significant as the Arab- Israeli treaty signed earlier this year. It ought to have the significance of a Camp David summit-it is a multinational event inside Black/Hispanic America." Conyers emphasized the importance of organizing from the bottom up, not the top down. He asked each person in the room to organize his/her community into a grass roots effort to connect into a nationwide network. civil service time and are going to do things as they have been doing them, regardless of what you and I do," Smith said. "Nothing is going to change from a statistical point of view." The Reverend Henry Hudson, who introduced himself as a "member of the small group of Black preachers who don't drive Cadillacs," emphasized that black census takers were needed to interview in black communities. "The people are more likely to be open with a black interviewer and to give the information needed," Hudson said. This idea was reinforced by A. Madde- son from the School of Public Affairs at Texas Southern University. Many of the TSU students did not participate in the "I have scars on my brain, my heart, and my hands from working for our rights. If we get together, we will no longer be a minority, we will be a majority/' —Christia Adair A specific solution to the lack of political power felt by the two minorities was offered by U.S. Rep. Bob Garcia, a Puerto Rican from New York and chair of the Census and Population Subcommittee in the House of Representatives. "The Census determines how seats are reapportioned and how political power is distributed," Garcia said. "We need to be counted and make sure our voices are heard." According to Garcia, more than eight percent of blacks in America were not counted in 1960, and the U.S. Census does not even have an estimate of how many Hispanics were not counted. Garcia emphasized that in order for minority communities to get their share of Federal Revenue Sharing, they need to be counted in the census. "We are going to work our fool heads off for you in the 1980 census," Garcia said, "and we are calling on you, members of the community, to help us make sure that everyone is counted." It was at this point that the town meeting lived up to its name. People lined up three deep at the available microphones to respond to Garcia's challenge. Chuck Smith, a member of the audience who identified himself as a two- term member of the advisory committee for the Bureau of Census, said the biggest problem was the unit heads at the Census Bureau. 'These individuals have yean of 1970 census because they were unsure about what the information would be used for, Maddeson said. "Can the census guarantee confidentiality?" she asked. Garcia responded by saying that the penalty for giving out Census Bureau information to any individual or agency was a $5,000 fine and a five-year jail sentence. When Garcia polled the audience to see how many had not been counted in the 1970 census, approximately 25 percent raised their hands. "You are the leaders in your community," he said. "If you were not counted, how many others must there be?" Dr. C. L. Washington pointed out that the census is vital to Houston because soon Houston will have single-member districts. Minority participation will depend on the accuracy of the census, he said. Reyes emphasized that the Hispanic community needed enumerators who spoke Spanish and "not textbook Spanish either," and it was suggested that the budget should be increased to hire minorities to participate in the census. But the people had other concerns to air besides the 1980 census. As members of the audience continued to line up at the microphones, Leland decided to abandon the agenda. "Instead of following the program, let us think about the reality of a black/ Hispanic organization," Leland said. "Let's agree to disagree. "We represent the worst treated people in America's history. Those of us on the steering committee represent an idea of coalition unless you tell us *you're stupid and you ain't got no business messing around with those chicanos or blacks,' Leland said as he opened the meeting to discussion of the feasibility of a political coalition. When a question about what the Hispanic community proposes to do about illegal aliens was raised, Leonel Castillo, head of U.S. Immigration, spoke on the problem. "You are probably going to continue to see folks coming," he said. Castillo explained that the border patrol have a force approximately the size of the Houston police force, but their territory extends from Texas to California. Castillo suggested that the U.S. government come to an agreement with the sending countries about how many people to allow and how to protect U.S. workers' jobs. He also suggested a program to allow persons who have lived illegally in the United States for several years and have not broken any laws to remain here. "Both of these ideas require congressional action," he said. "One of the things you see in my job is that people are so hungry to come here that they walk from Laredo to San Antonio. We deport them-they walk again. For years, I have had trouble getting people to walk one block from their house to the polls," Castillo added wryly. In recent weeks, there has been pressure from American citizens who are poor asking for deportation of immigrants who are destitute, Castillo said, adding that it was one group of miserable people being pitted against another group of miserable people. Speaking in reference to the 1980 census, Castillo said that if the blacks and Hispanics could get accurate numbers, including immigrants, they could get programs started to help. One member of the audience, A. Wiley, questioned the motives of the coalition. "Is this to be a coalition of control or participation?" he asked. Wiley added that coalitions are noted for creating patronage jobs, but a coalition to control would be a new kind of politics. "It should be a coalition that has no permanent friends and no permanent enemies, just permanent interests," Wiley said. Leland said they were trying to get beyond political patronage with this co alition, and hopefully, beyond the confines of the Democratic party. Several attendees asked how to organize a local grass roots effort to start the nationwide network that the steering committee envisioned. Conyers suggested that the 300 members of the audience represented 300 organizations. "Each of you can start with your own organizations," he said. "Every church, sorority and civic group should have a political action group," Conyers added. "If you have any influence, use it in your community." Dellums suggested that everyone organize a dramatization of the effects of budget cuts in their community. "What programs were cut back? Who was hurt? Children? Elderly people? Get the press to cover it," he cajoled the audience. The idea for the Black/Hispanic Democratic Coalition was born at the Memphis Mid-Term Conference of the Democratic Party in December 1978. According to Alfredo Duran, the coalition was conceptualized in "the middle of the night" in a meeting between the blacks and Hispanics at the convention who felt they were not represented by the Democratic party. "We decided to form a coalition of economically disadvantaged people to become a strong force-part of the good life of America," Duran said. In January, the coalition met in Washington to discuss the course of action for the future. At this meeting, the coalition agreed to conduct a series of regional town haU meetings to determine the most critical substantive problems facing the two groups as well as to build support for the coalition. The Houston meeting was the first of these regional gatherings. The enthusiastic response to this first meeting suggests the community leaders of the minority groups in Houston are ready to form a coalition that will give them greater effectiveness in the political arena. At the end of the meeting, Leland told the exhausted but excited audience that the results of other scheduled town meetings will be compiled and sent to House committees dealing with the problems discussed. Other steering committee members of the new coalition include U.S. Reps. Shirley Chisolm of New York, Balatazar Corrada of Puerto Rico, Walter Faun troy of the District of Columbia, Colorado State Rep. Polly Barragan, and Luis Lauredo, president of the National Coalition of Cuban Americans. Shirley Kowitz is a freelance writer and a reporter for the Fort Bend Mirror. Houston Breakthrough May 1979