New developments in Tejano Day debate

March 18, 2008 12:04:32 PM PDT
There's a call for the Justice Department to get involved in the Go Tejano Day controversy surrounding the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Hispanic leaders feel the Tejano heritage is being excluded from the Rodeo. Rodeo officials do not agree.They're hoping to put pressure on the Rodeo, but they say they want to do it peacefully. The American GI Forum is hoping that the U.S. Department of Justice steps in to mediate talks between the various groups and the Rodeo itself.

For weeks, protestors have been voicing their outrage over what they call a lack of Hispanic representation at the Rodeo and the Livestock Show spurned on by the fact that this year that no traditional Tejano acts were scheduled on Go Tejano Day, although another Hispanic artist did perform.

Now, by asking the Department of Justice to step in, the American GI Forum hopes to address several issues. They are calling for representation at the Rodeo's Executive Board. No Hispanics currently sit on the board. Also, they're asking that Tejano artists get paid fairly, representation in the number of scholarships for Hispanics, a voice in the entertainment selection process and cultural awareness and sensitivity training.

"In this instant, I don't think we have time to be throwing darts and arrows at each other," said Johnny Mata with the American GI Forum. "I think that by providing a setting and a format and with our expertise and the expertise of other organizations, I think that that can occur, where we extend a friendly gesture of bringing everybody to the table."

All along, Rodeo officials have denied any disparity among Hispanics at the Rodeo, saying that Hispanics do in fact serve on several committees and do receive a good share of scholarships.

As for the U.S. Justice Department to get involved, officials are waiting to hear more about what was said before addressing that point.

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