Under Juan Crow, Mexicanos suffered a lack of political representation, which translated into under representation in municipal and other government jobs.
Renny Rosas reflects on how important the election of Louis Zapata, the first Mexicano city council member, was:
“Well, the first one I would have to say, would be the election of Louis Zapata to city council. I mean we had never had a Latino on city council at all. And, even though he was running on the Northside, people like me from Southside, we went over there and worked in that campaign. It was that important to us. You know, we needed somebody on city council and he was the first one. And that, to me, was a game changer because then people said oh, look, we can do this!” – Renny Rosas
Even though Mexicanos now are a majority in the Fort Worth Independent School District, this is not reflected in the composition of the school board. Father Esteban Jasso talks about ways to remedy the lasting effects of Juan Crow on political representation:
“For example, if you take in the education system: you have 46,000 Hispanics in the Fort Worth ISD, you have 20,00 African Americans, you have 11,000 Anglos. So, why can’t this majority be more effective in making changes? First, you have to be educated. Second, you have to be involved. Third, you have to get out and vote.” – Father Jasso
Juan Crow did not allow for Mexicano representation, so most young Mexicanos did not grow up with an example of seeing someone like themselves in a place of political power. Dr. Gutiérrez discusses the mentality of how the places in Texas where Mexicanos were a majority could gain political power:
“And we could win in areas where we had the potential eligible majorities. And that’s basically 26 counties of south Texas. What we used to say to people, why don’t you vote for somebody that looks like you? Why don’t you vote for somebody that talks like you? Why would you want to vote for someone that is you? You know? Meaning issues, interests, all that, but explaining it in a very easy way. All we would say is if the white man can have two political parties, why can’t we have just one? You know? And the goal of almost any minority is to be united.” – José Angel Gutiérrez