Miguel Velasco Jr., a 2013 North Dallas graduate, is trying to expose North Dallas students to community leadership, civic representation, volunteerism, networking and the necessity for higher education through LULAC, a civil-rights organization.
Velasco, 20, is a third-year student at SMU and vice president of the LULAC group at SMU.
“LULAC has opened many doors for me, from meeting Domingo Garcia to receiving summer internship offers, due to my role as a leader in SMU LULAC,” Velasco said in an email. “It will benefit North Dallas students’ résumés and futures.”
The League of United Latin American Citizens is the largest and oldest Hispanic organization in the United States, with more than 1,000 LULAC councils nationwide. The national office is based in Washington, D.C.
The North Texas district has seven councils, said district director Christopher Enriquez. The councils include Skyline, Townview, Irma Rangel, A. Maceo Smith New Tech, Allen High, another in Collin and one in Denton, Enriquez said. The councils also have to be certified at the district, state and national level, he said.
Velasco is trying to start a group at North Dallas. At the recent parent-teacher conference, Velasco had recruited 13 students for the group. North Dallas has about 28 students who want to form a group, said group sponsor Meshell Bradley.
Bradley, who works with juniors and seniors in the English Dept., and also with special-needs students, said she got involved for two reasons. She said LULAC helped provide financial assistance so that she could send her daughter to college. Also, when she was at Woodrow Wilson H.S., she was a chaperone on a college tour for Hispanic females and she gained information about resources that was available to undocumented students.
Velasco plans to invite North Dallas students to the Día de los Muertos event on Wednesday, Nov. 4, at Hughes-Trigg Varsity on the SMU campus. The Skyline and Townview LULAC groups have also proposed a picnic for Saturday, Nov. 14, at White Rock Lake.
“One regret I have was not joining LULAC as a freshman despite my older brother’s recommendation,” Velasco said. “Having not been part of a LULAC youth council did not further my leadership as a high school student. But it pleases me to say that current North Dallas students will have the opportunity to do something different than I did by becoming young leaders and making an impact both in the community and North Dallas High.”
For more information about LULAC, visit www.lulac.org.