CORPUS CHRISTI, TX – Wednesday, September 21, 2022 commemorates the legacy of Dr. Hector P. Garcia, a Mexican-American civil rights leader who founded the American GI forum and fought for the rights of Hispanics in this country. In 2009, Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa designated the third Wednesday in September as Dr. Hector P. Garcia Day through Senate Bill 495. The bill authorized the observance of the day by schools and state agencies to honor Dr. Garcia and teach our younger generations about his legacy. Senator Hinojosa also passed legislation naming a portion of State Highway 286 the Dr. Hector P. Garcia Memorial Highway in Corpus Christi.
Dr. Garcia was a legendary physician and World War II Veteran who fought for the rights of Hispanics and veterans who were denied educational, medical and housing opportunities. He also fought for labor rights, voting rights, and justice system reform. He selflessly served and advocated for the most vulnerable and underserved portions in our communities.
Dr. Garcia was the first Mexican-American to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, our country’s highest civilian honor, and earned a Bronze Star and six battle stars for his military service. He served as an advisor to Presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson and Jimmy Carter and served as the first Hispanic on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
Senator Hinojosa commented on the value of commemorating Dr. Garcia’s contributions:
“Dr. Hector P. Garcia was an American hero who showed everyone the value of standing up for marginalized people in our society. His dedication to equality and bettering society for everyone is something we can all learn from and do more of every day. Dr. Garcia broke down the barriers the Hispanic community faced in receiving an education, health care, fair labor practices, and housing. He demonstrated leadership and sacrifice in his fight to protect our liberties and ensure that all Americans are treated with dignity and respect.
Dr. Garcia embodies the spirit of selflessness and public service. As a private American citizen, he exercised his constitutional rights to elevate awareness about the plight of neglected Americans. As a physician, he provided access to medical care to underserved communities. As a soldier, he demonstrated valor and sacrifice as he fought to protect our liberties. Dr. Hector P. Garcia never wavered in his commitment to the United States Constitution and equality for all.”