‘Don’t take democracy for granted’: Civil rights lawyer warns

SAN ANTONIO — Voting rights protection isn’t what it was in the ’60s and ’70s, said longtime civil rights lawyer Rolando Rios.

At the time, Rios said the movement was more popular, largely on college campuses, like St. Mary’s University which saw the rise of a movement started by his late friend Willie Velasquez and others. who formed the Mexican-American Youth Organization or MAYO. .

“It’s a different, totally different society because of the technology,” Rios said.

He said the internet and social media are steeped in misinformation questioning the integrity of the election, which has led to voting restrictions.

Rios said it’s up to every voter to seek the truth, “to listen to what’s going on, to pay attention and to make sure they’re casting smart votes.”

“If you’re not engaged and you know what’s going on, you could lose. You could lose your democracy,” Rios said.

Rios said he cautions Latinos who say their right to vote is secure because for many of them times have changed for the better, they are educated, have better paying jobs, live in neighborhoods nicer and have kids in college.

“You can’t take things for granted,” Rios said. “It’s a precarious democracy. It is a precarious system based on political activism.

He said the simple truth is, “You take something for granted and before you know it, you lose it.”

Copyright 2022 by KSAT – All rights reserved.

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