"People from all corners of Los Angeles are mourning the loss of Dionicio Morales, an indefatigable leader, an inspirational mentor, a defender of human rights and a great Angeleno.
"Dionicio Morales, an invisible giant who stood out amongst the masses, was soft-spoken in manner, but mighty in his principles, blazed a path for generations of leaders across America to follow.
"Dionicio Morales committed his life to expanding the power of the people. Through his work with the Mexican American Opportunity Foundation and decades of community involvement as a leader, Dionicio Morales maintained the belief that civic engagement is the cornerstone of democracy.
"Though we mourn his passing today, we take comfort in the fact that his work and ideas will continue to yield positive benefits for the people of Los Angeles.
"Dionicio Morales, may his legacy live on."
MARTIN CASTRO, President & CEO of MAOF
"I've known Dionicio Morales since 1978. One thing he ingrained in me was the issue of being accountable for all the public money given to MAOF - that we needed to set an example for having strong ethics, and never being in the position to be blamed for mismanagement of public funds.
"In 2000 he recommended me to succeed him in his job as President and CEO of MAOF. When I met him in 1978 I never realized that one day I would succeed this legend.
"He was a mentor to me to the end. He was always offering ideas on how to expand the organization and better reach the community.
"There are thousands of people whom he touched. He wanted to open doors in Corporate America for Mexican Americans and he succeeded.
"I will miss him as a leader, a mentor, and a friend. I will remember him as a tireless advocate for the advancement and equal rights of Mexican Americans. He is one of the last icons of our time. In the '60s he helped many of us get started and we have him to thank for where we are today. Our organization will be holding a community Mass for him, and at all of our 40 branches we will gather in a central place and hold an organization-wide moment of silence in his memory."
CASTULO DE LA ROCHA, President/CEO AltaMed
"I am deeply saddened by the passing of a great leader and a mentor, a personal mentor of mine. I came to the East Los Angeles community in 1977. Dionicio Morales was already a giant figure in Latino communities. Dionicio was a gentleman, a social activist. Literally he was my inspiration and the person that I relied on in helping me organize, at that point the East Los Angeles Barrio Free Clinic. He has guided and mentored me.
"Dionicio always had a certain ability and a gift of being able to understand changing trends and using his political astuteness. He was always correct on the issues, in particular as they applied to Latino communities.
"I certainly am going to miss him a great deal. This community is going to miss him a great deal. He was one of the early of what we referred to as social entrepreneurs -- an advocate and, at the same time, was committed to building a base of support in Latino communities.
"Dionicio was not afraid to speak his mind and address the issues of a given time, whether they involved equal employment, access to higher education and healthcare, or immigration issues. Until his very last day, Dionicio continued to be just a spokesperson on some of the key issues impacting our community. Just a few months ago, Dionicio and I were still talking about how important it was to develop a fair and equitable immigration policy, a humane immigration policy in the United States.
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