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|Open House – South Texas Civil Rights Project (June 22, 2011)|
Look! It’s the new home for the South Texas Civil Rights Project!
Come see it for yourself June 22!
“Building Justice in the Valley —
Construyendo la Justicia en el Valle”
Celebrate with us in South Texas Civil Rights Project’s new home!
Rio Grande Valley Civil Rights displays, memorial wall
Silent Auction, Live music, delicious food, and more!
Wednesday – June 22, 2011 – 5:30-7:30
Thanks to the generosity of the Kresge Foundation and supporters
We hope you will join us to celebrate the community of people that made this building possible and to continue to support our work here in the Valley.
Directions to our new office:
From Expressway 83 – Exit Alamo Rd., Go North on Alamo Rd. and take your first right after McDonald’s on to Hackberry. Our building will be 100 ft. down the road on the right hand side.
South Texas Civil Rights Project Opens Doors to New Era
By Steve Taylor
ALAMO – The South Texas Civil Rights Project hopes its service to those needing legal advice and support will get even better now its staff have moved into a spacious new building.
“It is very exciting because in our old building we did not have room for all of the staff,” said STCRP Regional Director Corinna Spencer-Scheurich. “Now we have twice the space. Not only do we have space for all our staff but also our volunteers, who play a big part in getting our work done.”
The new STCRP offices are located at 1017 W. Hackberry in Alamo, just off Alamo Road, north of Expressway 83. Previously the group, which started 30 years, was located in the farm worker compound on Cesar Chavez and Business 83 in San Juan.
STCRP staff and friends held a celebration at the new headquarters on Wednesday evening. The event featured food, music and a silent auction. Despite torrential rain, a good number of people showed up.
“This turnout shows how much people appreciate the work of the staff and volunteers at the South Texas Civil Rights Project,” said Mission environmental activist Ester Salinas, who was represented by STCRP in her defamation case against Mission Mayor Norberto Salinas.
Asked to explain STCRP’s mission statement, Spencer-Scheurich said: “We try to promote social and economic justice through education and litigation. We have programs that help low income families with employment law, civil rights, immigration. We file lawsuits against unscrupulous land developers and employers who do not pay minimum wage or overtime. We help those in cases of police brutality, those with first amendment cases, and those in domestic violence situations that need help with their immigration paperwork.”
“The South Texas Civil Rights Project has been around in various incarnations for some forty years. It started off as the legal arm of what was then the United Farm Workers Organizing Committee (UFWOC).
“Its first major work was seeking legal redress against the Texas Rangers, who brutally broke the back of the La Casita farm worker strike in Starr County in 1966-1967. Ed Kruger, who is here tonight, was a victim of that brutality.
“That case went to the U.S. Supreme Court, which issued an opinion against the Rangers, so strong that they were brought firmly under the control of the Department of Public Safety. Allee v. Medrano (U.S. Supreme Court). The long sordid era of ‘one riot, one Ranger,’ full of lynching and killing, was over.”
Currently, STCRP has three attorneys and seven support staff. Measuring a little under 2,400 square feet, the new building can house all of these and more, Spencer-Scheurich said. “We have seven offices and an open area that can accommodate up to seven more. And we have a conference room where we can meet with clients and take depositions.”
Almost every room in the new building has a poster designed by students from the University of Texas-Pan American. Each poster has a different theme, such as the farm worker movement, the fight against sanctuary cities, the Edcouch-Elsa school walkout, Mexico, and the DREAM Act.
And, on the walls of the main reception area bricks have been mounted with the names of those who contributed towards the fund to build the new headquarters. “We have had very generous donations from the Valley and across Texas,” Spencer-Scheurich said.
The STCRP director also paid tribute to Proyecto Azteca for constructing the new building and the City of Alamo “for being really supportive.”
Asked if STCRP would miss being housed alongside La Uniún del Pueblo Entero and Proyecto Azteca in San Juan, Spencer-Scheurich said: “We are only a mile away from our old building. We can be back there in no time if we need to visit.”
Javier Parra, of LUPE, said everyone involved in STCRP should be proud of what they have achieved.
“What comes to mind for me, when I see these offices, and the posters on the walls, is that right prevails over wrong. You have all these lawyers and their assistants working hard to help the people who have been wronged. This is the place to come for those who cannot get help anywhere else. Long may it continue,” Parra said.