Event encourages citizens to be active in a representative democracy.
Former U.S. Rep. Charlie Gonzalez will speak on democracy for the 60th anniversary of Law Day 10:50 a.m.-noon May 1 in Room 218 of the nursing complex.
Law Day, started in 1958 by former President Dwight D. Eisenhower, celebrates and recognizes the role of law and democracy in the U.S. The day was established as counter message to Russia’s May Day, which promoted the country’s military forces, Gonzalez said in a phone interview April 24.
“What the president wanted to do was basically emphasize equality and the rule of law and our justice system,” Gonzalez said.
The American Bar Association, a private organization of American lawyers, has since taken over celebrating Law Day. The organization was founded in 1878 by 75 lawyers from 20 states and the District of Columbia.
Gonzalez graduated from St. Mary’s School of Law in 1972. He served as judge at Bexar County Court-of-Law No. 2 from 1983-87 and was a judge at the 57th State Judicial District Court 1988-97.
Gonzalez was elected to represent Ddistrict 20 in the U.S House of Representatives 1999-2013 following his father, the late Henry B. Gonzalez, who served that district 37 years.
Gonzalez is currently working with the law firm Ogletree Deakins.
Gonzalez’s speech, “We the People: Guardians of Our Democracy,” will focus on how this nation became dedicated to the rule of law.
“The people are the ones that elect individuals to enact the laws,” Gonzalez said. “They’re only representatives. This is a representative democracy.”
Gonzalez said people tell representatives to enact fairness for all regardless of race, ethnicity, economic status, gender or sexual orientation.
“We continue to evolve, and what has driven that is the very sense of justice that individuals have and want to see that sense of justice reflected in our laws,” Gonzalez said.
He said students should attend because he wants them to realize the responsibility they have as citizens of a representative democracy.
“If something isn’t fair, you can do something about it,” Gonzalez said.
The event was coordinated by political science Instructor Julie Alfaro-Flint and will have an introduction by political science Adjunct Dan Sanchez.
For more information, call Alfaro-Flint at 210-485-1236.