The Tejano Monument, a multi-statue monument honoring the contributions of Texas early Spanish-Mexican settlers and their descendants, was unveiled today on the south lawn of the Texas Capitol grounds before local and state community and legislative leaders, including Texas Governor Rick Perry, Lt. Governor David Dewhurst, and Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman. The unveiling marks a 12-year effort by Hispanic business, education, and community leaders to honor early Spanish and Mexican pioneers that are seldom mentioned in Texas history. The monument is the largest of its kind on any state capitol grounds in the U.S. and will be seen by the more than one million people who visit the Texas State Capitol each year.
“It took more than a decade of hard work and dedication to make this monument a reality and we are so happy this day is finally here,” said Dr. Cayetano Barrera, president of the Tejano Monument Board of Directors. “A chapter has been missing from Texas history, at the Capitol and in Texas classrooms, and today a very significant page has been added through the Tejano Monument. We hope the millions of early Tejano settler descendants will feel as proud as we do of this symbolic masterpiece.”
The history of the monument began in 2000, when a group of Tejano business, education, and community leaders formed Tejano Monument, Inc. and began formulating strategies on how to make the monument a reality. With support from state legislators, Representative Ismael “Kino” Flores and Senator Mario Gallegos, legislation was approved by the Texas legislature in 2001 and work began to raise the necessary funds to make it a reality. Over the years, other key state legislators joined the effort and included senators Judith Zaffirini, Leticia Van de Putte, and Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, and representatives Richard Pena Raymond, Trey Martinez-Fischer and Ryan Guillen. The Tejano Monument board of directors and several committees were tasked with the job of raising awareness and funds to build the multi-million dollar monument and secured donations from a number of corporations and individuals to bring the monument to fruition.