Washington State Hispanic Commission

In 1967, I accepted a position as professor of sociology at Western Washington State College (later to become Western Washington University). I taught courses on community development, community systems analysis, evaluation of social programs, human services planning, social change, etc.

I encouraged students to become involved in or study community organizations and almost immediately became involved in the creation of the Mexican American Advisory Committee [now the Washington State Hispanic Commission] for Governor Dan Evans and served as volunteer staff consultant to that organization in its formative years.

The years of experience in Colombia, Panama, Guatemala and Mexico had cemented my sensitivity to the cultures of our southern neighbors. In 1970, when I became aware that the Western Washington State College Art Gallery was planning on showing the IBM exhibit of the “Art of Protest”, paintings by Mexican artists – Orozco, Tamayo, Siqueros, Diego Riviera and others, my students and I organized a reception at the gallery for the Hispanic population of the region to celebrate the opening of the exhibit. My students searched the phone book for Hispanic names and sent invitations to all who were thought to be Hispanic. This was to be a celebration of THEIR art and culture. Hispanic leaders from as far away as Wapato, Toppinish and Granger came across the mountains to Bellingham for the function.