San Antonio civil rights attorney Luis Vera Jr. remembered as a ‘fighter to the end’

LULAC mourns the passing of its national general counsel

SAN ANTONIO – Even as his health worsened during a long illness before his death, Luis Vera Jr. took on issues he’d fought before as the national general counsel for LULAC, the League of United Latin American Citizens.

“He asked all the right questions and gave all the right answers,” said George Korbel, a civil rights attorney and Vera’s close colleague over the last 40 years.

Korbel said the last time they spoke was about redistricting.

“He was deeply involved in the last decade of litigation against the state on redistricting,” Korbel said, adding Vera had won some of those cases and lost others.

But now, with redistricting again being challenged by communities of color, as well as voting restrictions, Korbel said, “I think that there’s going to be an awful lot of litigation that he would have enjoyed dealing with.”

Vera had fought many court battles on behalf of the nation’s largest and oldest civil rights organization.

“Whether it’s redistricting, whether it’s voter suppression, whether it’s any kind of civil rights violation,” said Rosa Rosales, the former national president of LULAC.

She said Vera was there fighting for those who couldn’t.

“We will always remember him as a great fighter for justice,” up until the end, Rosales said. “I’ll remember him as a hero.”

Vera also took on Senate Bill 4, a version of “show me your papers,” which he argued targeted undocumented immigrants and U.S. citizens who are Latino.

For his efforts, the Mexican government presented Vera with the Ohtli Award, one of its highest civilian honors, for contributing to the empowerment of Mexican communities abroad.

For the LULAC state convention last August, Vera asked to be the keynote speaker.

Rodolfo Rosales Jr., the LULAC state director, said, “Little did I know, that would be his last official speech at a LULAC convention.

Watch the LULAC convention speech video below:

One of our LULAC Legends, Attorney Luis Vera gives a powerful speech on PASSION while receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award from Texas LULAC State Director Rudy Rosales.

Posted by LULAC on Monday, August 23, 2021

Rosales saw the man he considered his “older brother” grow increasingly frail as he helped Vera to the podium using his walker for support.

The recipient of LULAC’s Lifetime Achievement Award then proceeded to admonish LULAC members.

“We haven’t passed on the baton to the younger generation in terms of passion,” he said in his speech.

Rosales said Vera told the audience, “We’ve allowed them to take for granted some of the things that they have because of others before us who fought on our behalf.”

Rosa Rosales said now that he’s gone, she hopes Vera can be their inspiration.

“I know that LULAC has lost a great, great son,” she said.

About the Authors

Jessie Degollado has been with KSAT since 1984. She is a general assignments reporter who covers a wide variety of stories. Raised in Laredo and as an anchor/reporter at KRGV in the Rio Grande Valley, Jessie is especially familiar with border and immigration issues. In 2007, Jessie also was inducted into the San Antonio Women's Hall of Fame.

Sal Salazar is a photojournalist at KSAT 12. Before coming to KSAT in 1998, he worked at the Fox affiliate in San Antonio. Sal started off his career back in 1995 for the ABC Affiliate in Lubbock and has covered many high-profile news events since. In his free time, he enjoys spending time at home, gaming and loves traveling with his wife.

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