MALDEF mourns the loss of civil rights leader Harry Pachon

Dr. Harry Pachon.

LOS ANGELES, CA – MALDEF mourns the recent passing of Professor Harry Pachon, the longtime leader of the Tomas Rivera Policy Institute (TRPI). Dr. Pachon had a lengthy and groundbreaking career as a leader in the effort to advance the rights of Latinos and other minorities in the United States.

He served as President of TRPI for nearly two decades, growing the organization into a nationally-renowned civic research organization and a leader in the areas of immigration, education policy, and Latino politics and policy. He was called on to testify before congressional committees and appointed Chairman of the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans in 1997. His work on behalf of Mexicans living in the United States earned him the Ohtli (humanitarian) Award from the Mexican government.

MALDEF President and General Counsel, Thomas A. Saenz, had the following to say of Dr. Pachon’s tremendous contributions:

“The entire nation — and especially the 50 million Latinos in the United States — has lost a true giant in civil rights advocacy. Through his leadership of NALEO and TRPI, Harry Pachon provided the academic and intellectual heft to move many an obstacle to equality and fairness. His extraordinary legacy will reverberate for many years to come, with positive effects nationwide.”

Dr. Pachon was a founding board member and past Executive Director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund (NALEO), where he initiated an acclaimed U.S. citizenship project and the National Directory of Latino Elected Officials. The citizenship project has been replicated across the country on a multi-ethnic basis, and the Directory is now in its seventeenth year of publication.

Dr. Pachon authored over twenty articles and journals, and co-authored three books on U.S. Latino politics and political behavior. He held academic positions at Michigan State University, Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, City University of New York, and held the Kenan All Campus Chair at the Claremont Colleges. His final position was as Professor of Public Policy at the University of Southern California’s School of Policy, Planning and Development. He also served on the boards of several organizations, including the John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation, Southern California Public Radio and KPPC, and the Education Advisory Committee of the Rand Corporation.





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