• by Dr. María “Cuca” Robledo Montecel • October 2011 •

It is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing of IDRA’s beloved Founder and Director Emeritus, Dr. José Angel Cárdenas.

On behalf of everyone at IDRA, I offer my deepest condolences to Laura Tobin Cárdenas, José’s wife, and the entire Cárdenas family.

Dr. Cárdenas died on Saturday, September 17, 2011, in San Antonio, Texas. He was 80.

I received word of his passing just after a group of civil rights and education leaders had gathered at IDRA to launch a new phase of work to increase school funding equity in

Texas. For us, there is no more fitting tribute than to continue the work that Dr. Cárdenas pioneered and to carry forward his vision for an equitable, excellent education for every child.

With deep roots in Laredo, Texas, José always knew that having more than one language and culture (a Spanish-speaking left foot as he put it, having been taught in the U.S. Army that the left foot always comes first), is not a deficit, but a reservoir of strength. He then went on — as teacher, principal, superintendent, university professor, researcher and advocate — to dedicate his life’s work to fighting for an educational system that nurtured and recognized children’s strengths. He was a champion for all children and carried their concerns from the streets and the schools to the legislature and the courts.

Dr. Cárdenas, it has been the greatest privilege for all of us to have known and worked with you. Your presence, whether we knew you as Pepe, Joe, José, JC or Doc, will be profoundly missed. But you have lit a torch. Within all of us, it burns on.

Gracias por todo, José Angel Cárdenas. I will miss you. Que en paz descanses amigo, educador, defensor de niños y eterna inspiración.

Dr. María “Cuca” Robledo Montecel, President and CEO
Intercultural Development Research Association
September 19, 2011

Comments and questions may be directed to her via e-mail at feedback@idra.org.

[©2011, IDRA. This article originally appeared in the October 2011 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.]