“My dad felt sorry for me but said, ‘You have to fight back and stand up for yourself,’ and I’ve been doing that ever since then,” she said Saturday.
It’s an attitude family members say Vicente Ximenes displayed throughout his life. The longtime grass-roots civil rights activist, scholar and White House appointee died Thursday night in Albuquerque at the age of 94.
Ximenes was renowned both in Albuquerque and on a national level for his work with the Agency for International Development (AID) in Panama and in Ecuador, he was a founding member of the American GI Forum chapters in New Mexico and was appointed to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission by President Lyndon Johnson. He was instrumental in organizing the El Paso hearings, a summit with President Johnson in which the conditions of Mexican-Americans were highlighted, and the hearings led to widespread social change, said University of New Mexico English professor Michelle Kells.