Dr. Mario Obledo, “Godfather of the Latino Movement” Dies at 78


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Dr. Mario G. Obledo, founder and President of the National Coalition of Hispanic Organizations, was a leader in Hispanic affairs for more than fifty years.

Co-founder of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) and the Hispanic National Bar Association.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 19, 2010

Contact: Len Reid Reynoso

(209) 745-4411

Civil Rights Icon, International Latino Leader and Community Servant,

Dr. Mario Guerra Obledo Will Be Mourned

(April 9, 1932-August 18, 2010)

The nation has lost a great leader in the passing of Dr. Mario G. Obledo, who died yesterday afternoon in Sacramento, California, with his wife, Keda Alcala-Obledo, by his side.

Respectfully known as the “Godfather of the Latino Movement”, Dr. Mario G. Obledo, founder and President of the National Coalition of Hispanic Organizations, was a leader in Hispanic affairs for more than fifty years.  Dr. Obledo applied science, law, business, and public service to advance the broad cause of civil rights and humanitarian causes, specifically concerns of Hispanics in our Nation. His accomplishments in law, advocacy and civil rights were recognized in 1998 when he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom Award, this country’s highest civilian award, from then – President William J. Clinton.  Dr. Obledo’s leadership was recognized throughout the world.  As co-founder of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) and the Hispanic National Bar Association, he was responsible in gaining national attention to civil rights issues affecting the Hispanic and other communities. He held local, district, state and national offices in the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC).

Dr. Obledo served on the board of the Martin Luther King, Jr., Federal Holiday Commission, and several legal and pharmaceutical organizations, and was a faculty member of the Harvard School of Law.  As California Secretary of Health and Welfare, Dr. Obledo was instrumental in bringing thousands of Hispanics into state government, and declaring it “my greatest accomplishment in life.”  With quiet dignity and uncommon wisdom, Dr. Obledo opened the doors of employment, freedom, challenge, and opportunity for all Americans and at each point Dr. Obledo worked toward a stronger and more perfect union.  As National President of LULAC, he extended the influence of the organization into the international arena.  As past Chairman of the National Rainbow Coalition, he sought to unify the various ethnic, racial and religious groups into a progressive political force in order to change the character and condition of America.

Dr. Obledo is the recipient of the OHTLI award, the highest award bestowed by Mexico on a foreigner.  He held a Bachelor’s degree in Pharmacy from the University of Texas at Austin, and a Doctorate of Law degree (J.D.) from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio.  Dr. Obledo received the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws from the California State University, Sacramento in May 2010.

Dr. Mario G. Obledo was married to Keda Alcala-Obledo and resided in Sacramento, California.

The funeral services are pending and further information will be announced.

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Our Condolences to the Family!

posted by Francisco “Paco” Barragan

(pictures from News10 )


About Francisco Barragan