• IDRA Newsletter • November-December 2023 •

Dolores HuertaIn November, our anniversary gala brought together over 300 educators, policymakers, researchers, students and advocates from across the nation for a celebration of five decades of advocating excellent and equitable public schools for all students. It was a special evening to pay tribute to IDRA’s bold legacy and to look to a bright future for the young people for whom, and with whom, we do this work.

Held at the Red Berry Estate in San Antonio, guests were greeted with the music of student mariachis from Judson and South San Antonio ISDs. Chuck Cureau, Spurs in-arena host and SeaWorld public relations manager, served as emcee. Dignitaries shared their messages of congratulations. Bexar County Judge Peter Sakai presented a proclamation (see Page 6) and San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg sent a video message (see Page 3).

In his opening remarks, the Honorable Juventino “Tino” Guerra, IDRA Board of Directors chair said: “José Cárdenas’ legacy lives on in the countless lives that have been transformed by IDRA’s work. He ignited a flame that has continued to burn so brightly under the leadership of President Emerita Dr. María “Cuca” Robledo Montecel, and now President and CEO, Celina Moreno.”

Dr. Robledo Montecel shared her reflections: “IDRA is itself an innovation. Our evolving and growing ability to work strategically and in real-time across research, policy and practice is crucial. IDRA will continue to create innovations that disrupt the failure of schools to educate all students. We are, at our core, faithful to children: All children are valuable; none is expendable.”

With the support of our sponsors, we welcomed students representing various areas of our work, including special guest speakers. High school freshman, Kaleb Dunn, spoke about his experience as an inaugural IDRA VisionCoders  student, “This program really inspired me to go into the technical field.”

University student, James Wilson, added: “IDRA was there for the Georgia Youth Justice Coalition when we started building our advocacy presence, and the backing and promotion that IDRA provided us did more than help us – it legitimized our presence and solidified our standing in Georgia’s advocacy space.”

Celina Moreno announced the new name of IDRA’s Dr. María “Cuca” Robledo Montecel Gadfly Award,” for Dr. Robledo Montecel’s continued dedication to IDRA and its mission. IDRA was pleased to name Dolores Huerta as the first recipient of that award. She is the founder and president of the Dolores Huerta Foundation and co-founder of the United Farm Workers of America with Cesar Chavez. IDRA commissioned an original alebrije gadfly for Ms. Huerta by artist Paul Blas Tomas of San Pedro Canonos, Oxaca.

In her keynote remarks, Ms. Huerta stated: “Everything that you’re fighting for… is absolutely crucial. Every single person here deserves a quality education… In school, what do we do? We read about history. We talk about history. We write about history. But when we become activists, we make history. That is what you have done. IDRA has made history. We have to expand that to every single person. We can make it happen. Yes, we can!” Then, Ms. Huerta led the audience in a “Si Se Puede” chant.

The evening closed with a toast by Dr. Carmen Tafolla, State Poet Laureate of Texas in 2015.

Videos, photos and the event program are available online.

Thank you to our 50th Anniversary Gala Sponsors!

Presenting Sponsor

  • William & Flora Hewlett Foundation

Education Ally Sponsor

  • Arca Continental

Innovation Sponsor

  • H-E-B

Future Builder Sponsors

  • Alamo AFCEA
  • Firstmark Credit Union
  • Texas AFT
  • Unidos US
  • Acosta Family McDonald’s

Reception Sponsors

  • The Office of Texas State Senator José Menéndez
  • The Office of Texas State Rep. Mary Gonzalez
  • Frost Bank
  • Corient
  • Holland & Knight

Photo Station Sponsors

  • TABE
  • Moak Casey
  • Community First Health Plans

[©2023, IDRA. This article originally appeared in the November-December 2023 edition of the IDRA Newsletter by the Intercultural Development Research Association. Permission to reproduce this article is granted provided the article is reprinted in its entirety and proper credit is given to IDRA and the author.]