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The KUT Longhorn Radio Network Presents: Mexican American Experience Collection

Audio recordings including interviews, music, and informational programs related to the Mexican American community and their concerns in the series "The Mexican American Experience" and "A esta hora conversamos" from the Longhorn Radio Network, 1976-1982.

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Mexican American Research Center: Connecting Communities To Federal Resources
Program #

Linda Fregoso
May 11, 1982

Mexican American Research Center: Connecting Communities to Federal Resources

Linda Fregoso discusses the efforts of the Mexican American Research Center to build Chicano self-determination through economic development with the Center’s director, Jose Urreagas, Roberto Guerra who heads the organization’s weatherization programs, and Maria Negrete of the Rural Development Institute. Urreagas explains that while the Chicano Movement has made some gains, the movement has made little economic progress for Chicanos who have had minimal equity growth. He believes that for the community to progress, Chicanos need to understand the economic issues and development projects that drive local government. The Center, which he organized in 1974, seeks to provide Chicanos with the technical knowledge and skills to improve their communities. They provide loans for Chicano owned businesses and assist neighborhood groups with grant applications. They also help communities develop housing options and protect tenant’s rights and Urreagas describes their work in Dimmitt, Texas where they helped the Chicano community organize a housing authority.

Fregoso next speaks with Roberto Guerra who heads the Center’s weatherization program. Guerra explains that their program makes interior and exterior repairs to the homes of low-income families to help them conserve energy. She then speaks with Negrete who discusses her work helping rural communities with economic development programs and building local infrastructure.

Although the Reagan Administration might cut some of the funding to programs like the Center, Urreagas believes they will still be able to access grants for economic development through other funds. He concludes that the Center’s work is critical to developing self-determination and building the Chicano community’s resources.


Center for Mexican American Studies | Department of History | The Benson Latin American Collection

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