Rosie Castro: De tal arbol, tal astilla
The young lady had been blessed on innumerable occasions. During the 1950s, it had been her mother who sacrificed everything for Rosie. Victoria would circulate among the San Antonio families whose homes she serviced as a domestic worker. Saving nickels and dimes, she never missed a single year’s tuition at her daughter’s Catholic elementary schools. Her young star would always shine brightly: editor of her high school student newspaper, class president, high school commencement address keynoter, and the recipient of a scholarship at Our Lady of the Lake College.
At Our Lady of the Lake, Rosie impressed her professors, most of whom were Catholic nuns, with her public speaking skills. And it was at “Our Lady” during the middle 1960s where Rosie would be introduced to the world of politics—San Antonio Mexican American politics. One nun in particular would have Rosie join her during her attendance at social and political gatherings. Rosie would meet the likes of State Senator Joe Bernal, Pete Torres and Bexar County Commissioner Albert Pena Jr. Always a quick learner and exceedingly self-assured, she would observe, listen and absorb.
Rosie engaged in numerous activist community organizations which emerged during the 1960s. By 1971, at the age of twenty-three, she was running for a city council seat in a City of San Antonio at-large city council election.
Rosie’s life has never been easy. Yet, as many others of her generation have done, she has managed to find an extraordinary amount of time to dedicate to those activities aimed at improving the lives of people in her community. Her blessings continue, in large part attributable to her two sons. Listening to her sons, Joaquin’s1 and Julian’s command of language and speech is a gratifying experience. The adage, de tal arbol, tal astilla, is akin to the adage, “chips off the old block”. Rosie Castro’s stewardship of her children is to be admired.
I met Rosie for an interview at Henry’s Puffy Tacos on Bandera Road in San Antonio on September 23, 2017. The place was noisy and entirely inappropriate for our interview. Or so I thought. There would be only a few new details of her life. But that was not important. What was more revealing was her voice. Her command of language, lowered volume and reassuring cadence of her speech, muted all distractions. We hope you will agree. In this, the improved version of Ibero Aztlan, we introduce a new inaugural format with this January 2021 edition, and pay homage to Rosie Castro.2
As we go to print -so to speak- at the beginning of a new year, we reminisce with so many mixed emotions. Over the past year, so much of the space we occupy has changed very dramatically. We have lost friends to a disease which sadly too many of us have responded to with medieval solutions. We have destroyed brittle social norms that were just beginning to solidify to assure reasonable conclusions to divisive issues. The Voting Rights Act is now gone and day after day we witness attempts, too often successful, to roll back rights which many of us thought would be irrevocably. So, sadly, we cannot begin the year 2021 entirely with a clean slate. But we can begin by sharing a little wisdom with each other. Let’ see where this takes us.
1 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnYTmir0x20. Joaquin Castro’s Keynote address at the Democratic National Convention. Julian is one the Congressional President Trump impeachment managers in the anticipated Senate hearing.