was one who knew the fullness of such pregnancies - he wrote
14 books, including Chicano: 25 Pieces of a Chicano Mind
(1969) and The Chicano Movement: Some Not Too Objective
Observations (1971). He read his politically charged
and gente-oriented verses around the country and on other
shores. He is recognized as a father of Chicano poetry.
But he's hardly known outside Chicano letters - a true shame
of how we can live in distinct but parallel worlds in the
in Chihuahua, Mexico in 1930, Lalo and his mother ended
up in El Paso, Texas when he was around twelve. There he
grew up in a tenement apartment (twenty-three families lived
there, sharing three bathrooms) and went to Bowie High School,
eventually graduating with honors. At age twenty-one he
met, and later married his life-long companion Lola Estrada
- they celebrated their 50th anniversary in 2003. They had
eight children together.
linguistic, economic and racial barriers, Lalo went to the
University of Texas, El Paso, and graduated in Spanish Studies.
Lalo became active in Chicano politics in the 1960s; this
included a 30-day fast protesting the racist treatment of
Chicanos and Mexicanos in El Paso. During this time, he
also wrote poems and read them everywhere he could.
eventually marched alongside Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta
for farm worker and migrant worker rights. He helped develop,
as well as teach in, many Chicano studies programs in universities
throughout the Western United States, including the University
of Colorado. Lalo ended up in the Denver area, where he
led many battles for Chicano rights, including helping to
create a radio station and teaching generations of Chicano
leaders and writers for 17 years at Metropolitan State College.
is Lalo's best known poem, written in 1969: