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WHY WE ARE RESTORING
El Soldado Latino, is a nonprofit organization founded in 2015 and is committed to the enhancement and beautification of El Soldado (The Soldier) statue and memorial site at the California State Capital. Over the years, time has left the El Soldado Memorial battered and weathered. Today, the significance of the beautification and restoration project is critical to restore pride and honor to our Latino heritage. The mission of EL SOLDADO LATINO of California is to provide a respectful, prideful monument memorialize the ultimate sacrifice of the Latino men and women who served with honor in the United States military upon our country’s call, whether in time of war or peace and to provide a place for families to commemorate their loved one’s life and selfless dedication to our freedom.
El Soldado Latino was established by the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association to work in conjunction with the commission to raise funds through private donations for the California Mexican American Veterans Memorial Beautification & Enhancement Commission. The organization would ensure that funds raised would be utilized solely, and in whole, for the purposes of beautifying, enhancing, maintaining the site’s grounds and establishing an educational component. The committee has established stringent safeguards to prevent any funds raised through private contributions from being redirected into the State’s general fund account.
Our first goal of our organization is to assist in the completion of the restoration project by raising 1.5 million dollars. Our second goal is to raise funds to create an educational program and materials for the Memorial to educate today’s youth about the historical contributions that Mexican/Latino veterans have made to the United States of America.
HOW A SOCIETY OF MOTHERS STARTED THE EL SOLDADO PROJECT:
To remember their husbands and sons who died in the service of their country in World War II, a group of Mexican American mothers and spouses got together to create a memorial in perpetuate remembrance of them.
The group called La Sociedad de Madres (The Society of Mothers) beginning in 1948 conducted fund raisers such as selling tamales and raffle sales in front of Guadalupe Church and other parishes to construct a statue of El Soldado — a soldier standing at attention ready to respond to the call to duty. The statue, located on the grounds of the Mexican American Center, was dedicated on May 10, 1951.
Subsequently, twenty years of rain, heat, and soot took a toll on the El Soldado statue and it had to be cleaned and repaired. Responding to the call for action, La Sociedad de Madres, in the early 1970’s, raised $10,000 to repair the statue. El Soldado Latino continues its efforts and progress to beautify the grounds.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why does the memorial need to be restored?
While the El Soldado statue serves as a memorial to honor the brave experience of Latinos soldiers, proud of their ethnicity and proud of their country, it has also come to be known as an embodiment of Latino pride. With the restoration of the statue, we will exhibit that the Latino experience in the military cannot be erased or overlooked and the Latino community will not be helpless or unjustly discriminated against. Latino soldiers fought and died for America. They paid for their citizenship in blood. The restoration and beautification will once again show Latinos standing tall and proud, mobilized through solidarity with El Soldado Latino Americano.
It is fitting that the Memorial join other commemorations at the State Capitol significant to California’s history, such as the Statue of Father Junipero Serra, Civil War Memorial Grove, California Veterans’ Memorial, Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial, Firefighter’s Memorial, and the California Peace Officers Memorial. When completed, the Memorial will be standing opposite the West Front of the State Capitol and invite visitors to move throughout the monument to contemplate and absorb the rich cultural history and military service contribution of the Latino Veterans. We have numerous Purple Hearts, Bronze Stars, and Silver Star soldiers and currently 61 Latino soldiers Congressional Medal of Honor recipients – we salute you.
What is the significance of the El Soldado statue?
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SUPPORTING ORGANIZATIONS AND CURRENT SPONSORS
A big thank you to all our past supporters, sponsors and event attendees!