only look at the lineup of Attorney General Janet Reno, Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala, Director of the Environmental Protection Administration Carol Browner, Office of Management and Budget Alice Rivlin, and the leadership role of Hillary Rodham Clinton on health care reform to see that the landscape has changed. At the same time, an unprecedented 53 women are serving in Congress, some of whom came to power after the Anita HillClarence Thomas hearings so clearly illustrated the gender gap in federal legislature. Although the quest for personal esteem still absorbs too much energy within the women’s movement, the impact of focused, political mobilization on important women’s issues is demonstrated by the gains made in the area of breast cancer research. While so much attention was focused on enhancing self-esteem during the 1980s, some 900 women a week were dying from breast cancer at a time when there was a trickle of federal funding for the disease. Women with breast cancer began to break the silence. They set a tangible goal, focusing on increasing the federal funding breast cancer research. Because of those efforts, in fiscal 1993 some $411 million has been earmarked for federal funding for research on breast cancer. That is almost twice the amount that was set aside in the previous year. Christine Brunswick, who is one of the board members of the National Breast Cancer Coalition, said, “I think, socially for a long time women did not stand up and talk about their problems.” That has changed. Brunswick said part of the reason is that it is baby boomers who now have breast cancer. Brunswick said, “We told them” on the Hill, we marched in the 1960s and we will march again and we mean it. We are not going away.” The fight for breast cancer research and treatment funding puts women’s issues in their starkest light. The fact that some 46,000 women each year die from the disease was not enough to increase funding for the issue. It was not until women began actively lobbying Congress for those funds that the money was found. By the same token, the fact that more women are serving in Congress and the highest echelons of the Administration is no guarantee that women’s issues will be given preferred treatment. The pay gap between men and women is not going to evaporate because there are more female government officials. Of course, it is a start. It is also a lot more favorable landscape than 30 years ago when the Equal Pay Act was enacted. At that time, women were earning 60 cents on the dollar. Some of the most highly edu cated women had limited job opportunities. One such woman was Supreme Court appointee Ruth Bader Ginsberg, who, upon graduation from law school found no New York law firm willing to hire her. One can only hope that the next time a woman is nominated to the Supreme Court she will not only have BY ROBERTO RODRIGUEZ TWENTY YEARS AFTER a Dallas police officer abruptly ended his life, the ghost of a Latino youth still haunts Dallas. On July 24, 1973, a Dallas police officer shot 12-year-old Santos Rodriguez point blank in the head while the boy sat handcuffed in a police car. The killing shook Dallas’ foundations and resulted in an urban riot by the city’s brown and black residents. Twenty years later a play produced by Teatro Dallas reminded the city of the spirit of Santos Rodriguez. The Dallas Morning News ran a series of retrospective articles. Community activists organized a commemorative mass and a candlelight vigil. A forum was held in the theatre, its walls splattered with red paint. Santos’ mother was there: “Too nervous to talk.” Still. But some there did talk, of justice and injustice. They spoke of Santos Rodriguez but they also spoke of another Rodriguez, Juan Rodriguez, who had been shot the previous month by Dallas undercover police officers. Perhaps Santos should be left to rest in peace but there are too many reminders and the death of Juan Rodriguez is one reminder that excessive and deadly use of force is a problem Latino communities still have to resolve. Hector Flores of the League of United Juan Rodriguez was shot in a dark alley because he failed to recognize the plainclothes officer as a policeman and had only very limited English-speaking skills. While the undercover officer identified himself, there is speculation that Rodriguez did not understand him and may have thought he was being robbed. He was shot while reaching for a gun. Flores believes that police officers in Dallas have a “shoot first, ask questions later” mentality. A coalition of Latino groups, including LULAC, have petitioned the Justice Department to investigate the shooting as a possible civil rights violation. Gilbert Cerda, a Dallas police officer and Roberto Rodriguez , a senior writer for Black Issues in Higher Education, won a $205,500 jury award in 1986 against four white police officers in East Los Angeles. He is completing a book which examines police brutality and the judicial system. He lives in Joshua, Texas. had the opportunity to work at a law firm of her choice, but she will have earned the same amount of money as her male colleagues. president of the Latino Peace Officers Association, says language barriers persist within his department: “Some police officers believe it’s not important to speak Spanish,” Cerda said. Juan Rodriguez’s death points to the need for bilingual officers, a policy of restraint and the need for independent investigations, say activists. This case and a recent spate of shootings and brutal beatings of Latinos, which have led to major unrest in America’s largest cities, is evidence that police abuse in the United States is not subsiding. It is not confined to the AfricanAmerican community and did not stop after notorious cases in the past, such as the 1970 killing of journalist Ruben Salazar by a sheriffs deputy in East Los Angeles or the 1973 shooting death of Santos Rodriguez in Dallas. The following are examples of relatively recent police abuse cases that have led to protests and in some cases disturbances: In June 1990, hundreds of Latino janitors at a union organizing rally were attacked by riot-equipped Los Angeles police officers. In May 1991, Daniel Gomez, a 34-yearold Salvadoran man, was shot, while handcuffed, by police in Washington, D.C., triggering three days of rioting. In June 1991, a 16-year-old MexicanAmerican youth was beaten into unconsciousness by a San Jose, California, police officer, triggering a drive by the Latino community to create a civilian police review board. In the summer of 1991, four young males tionable circumstances, by Los Angeles sheriff’s deputies. As a result of numerous protests, county and state hearings were held. All officers were exonerated. Based on police reports and demographic data, it is estimated that the majority of participants, arrestees and victims in the spring 1992 Los Angeles disturbances were Latinos. In July 1992, Jose Garcia, a 23-year-old Dominican, was shot and killed in New York, causing six days of rioting. Four months earlier, rioting had broken out there also after the shooting of another Latino. In November 1992, the shooting death of Efrain Lopez, an 18-year-old Latino, by a Los Angeles police officer led to major protests in front of the offices of the same police division whose officers beat Rodney King. When Lopez was shot he was armed with a broom. 1 Abuse in the Barrio, Still 12 OCTOBER 15, 1993
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