San Antonio native Elia Mendoza worked for over 30 years in Washington, DC as a federal employee including stints at the Pentagon, Department of Labor and the White House, before returning back to the Alamo City upon retirement. Throughout her career, Elia was charged with recruiting Hispanics to work in the federal government and it was while working in Washington that Elia became familiar with the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC). During this time, the Bonilla brothers, Tony, Julio and William, lawyers from Texas, were dominant forces in LULAC and believed in LULAC’s advocacy strength in Washington. “The Bonilla brothers were well versed and highly respected amongst Washington’s powerful elite as civil rights leaders working on education and employment disparities, discrimination and civil rights.” Elia recalls that it was during their tenure that she felt inspired to join LULAC, eventually forming 13 councils in Maryland, where she lived at the time.
Elia’s investment in LULAC has yielded strong friendships and an opportunity to be part of change. Elia joined LULAC because she wanted to be part of the movement that worked to help improve the quality of lives of the Latino community and 30 years later her commitment is stronger than ever. This year, Elia served as co-chair of the host committee for the 2017 LULAC National Convention. “Today, some of the issues that impact our community remain the same that is why now more than ever our united voice is so important. We cannot afford to let anyone disrespect our community and take us back to a time we fought to overcome.” Elia’s only lament, not enough hours in the day to cross out every item on her list.
Thank you to Elia for her immense contribution into trying to create a world where it is easier for Latinos to succeed.