Dionicio Morales, one of the heroes in the U.S. Hispanic civil rights movement, passed away Wednesday at the age of 89. Mr. Morales will long be remembered as the founder of the Mexican American Opportunity Foundation (MOAF), which remains the largest Hispanic nonprofit in the nation.
A public memorial will be held Friday, October 3rd. Location and time is forthcoming on Monday.
If you wish to honor Mr. Morales' memory, in lieu of flowers please send donations to:
The Dionicio Morales Foundation, Phone (323) 225-4241. Fax (323) 968-4097.
The Dionicio Morales Destiny Scholarship Fund, for students in Ventura County, 1317 Del Norte, Suite 150, Camarillo, CA 93010
Click here to view video of Hispanic Business Media's 2006 interview at Dionicio Morales' home
Mr. Morales touched many people during his lifetime. Here are just a few of those whose lives and careers he inspired and sometimes helped shape.
GLORIA MOLINA, Los Angeles County Supervisor
It was very, very sad to learn of Dionicio Morales' passing. I knew him for a long time. I remember listening to him when I was a 20-21 year old. We weren't sure that he was the kind of person that we as activists should trust. After all, he was an 'older' man, 35 or 40. When you're 20, you don't really trust anybody over 30. We were part of the activist student movement, the Chicano movement. We came to learn he was a man who everyone could trust, all the time.
"It was always fascinating to see a man who articulated goals that I really cared about - empowering our community. He didn't just talk about it. He had a real program that helped people get basic skills to become independent. He talked about how important it was to have a job; really basic things for people. Later, as an elected official, I got to know him on a very different level. He was very respectful to me while being very, very persistent about doing new and innovative things. He would always say, 'Supervisor, I would like to meet with you.' And every time he came in he had a different idea, and it was always on the mark about things that we needed to do in the community and how the larger community was disrespecting us.
"His leadership was pervasive in the community. The fingerprint that he left on everyone is very significant. He was a powerful speaker, a passionate guy. I remember the last time I heard him speak he was in his wheel chair. But once he got up to the microphone, his booming voice carried such a personal passion about the confidence he had in our community. He said, 'I am very, very hopeful because I know that at the end of the day, this community is going to stand up and we are going to be strong, and we are going to fight. We will demonstrate how truly powerful we are as Americans, as part of this country. It was very patriotic and very inspirational. The best parts were his body language and the strength and power of that voice. He was an amazing man."
LOS ANGELES MAYOR ANTONIO VILLARAIGOSA
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