Group now accepting applications from students for 2010 scholarship
Officials with LULAC 4871 — The Dallas Rainbow Council announced this week that the organization has raised $1,000 for its second annual scholarship, and that the scholarship has been renamed in honor of activist JesÃºs ChaÃrez.
LULAC 4871 President Jesse Garcia said, "JesÃºs ChaÃrez was one of the very first gay Latinos in Dallas to pave the way for better Hispanic and LGBT relations. Rather than have a generic name like ‘LULAC 4871 Scholarship,’ we wanted something symbolic in the title to reflect our uniqueness in this community — being proud gays and Latinos. Who better to make that statement than ChaÃrez, who has empowered many throughout the years?"
The scholarship will be awarded to a local student who is either a high school senior or a college freshman.
ChaÃrez is a second-generation Mexican-American, born and raised in far East Dallas. He graduated from Bryan Adams High School in 1973 and accepted a mail clerk position with the U.S. government. He went on to work for the U.S. Department of Labor, the Federal Communications Commission and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
After experience racism on the Cedar Springs strip back in the early 1980s, ChaÃrez became an activist and formed DFW’s first LGBT Latino organization, the Gay & Lesbian Hispanic Coalition de Dallas. He was the group’s first president and worked closely with Dallas City Councilman Ricardo Medrano to end the practice of requiring LGBT people of color to present multiple forms of I.D. to enter gay bars.
ChaÃrez was also appointed to serve on the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center board of directors. Later in life he became an accomplished artist and was selected to curate Mexican art shows in several of Dallas’ museums.
ChaÃrez also produced and hosted the "Sin Fronteras" (Without Borders) radio show, which was the nation’s first two-hour bilingual gay Latino radio program. It aired from July 4, 1993, to July 3, 2005.
"I am so honored, proud and blessed to be considered for such a worthy GLBT Latino cause," said ChaÃrez, who now is retired and living in Mexico City.
The scholarship is open to any North Texas high school student graduating in 2010 or any student continuing his or her freshman year in a North Texas college or university. LGBT students, or allies, are invited to apply.
The deadline to apply is April 15, and the winner will be announced in June. For more details on application requirements, go online to LULAC4871.org/Scholarship.html.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 5, 2010.