Political Background

Dr. Velasquez has always taken an interest in politics and injustice. Although he was a child, Dr. Velasquez was impacted by the tragedy that struck our nation November 22, 1963 when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. He saw the effect it had  on his mother and his teachers. This tragedy left a lasting impression. His interest in politics was further piqued in 1964 when he stumbled upon an invitation addressed to his parents for the Inaugural Ball for Lyndon B. Johnson to be held in January of 1965.  

This led him to begin watching the Republican and Democratic Conventions for every presidential election. His early interest in politics continued when he assisted his mother with writing letters/articles to a local newspaper, The Abilene Reporter-News regarding issues in his small community. Early exposure to politics continued to influence Dr. Velasquez throughout his adult life. He went on to help campaign for Hubert Humphrey in the 1968 presidential election against Richard Nixon and volunteered at the phone bank for George McGovern in 1972.  

During 1980 Dr. Velasquez became involved with precinct election conventions and later ran to be a Travis County National Delegate position in 1984 as a Walter Mondale delegate. 

The Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, originally developed during World War II in opposition to the war also influenced his continued political involvement. The goal of this organization is to spread peace and they have continuously taken “bold stances in the face of violence.” During spring break of 1988 Dr. Velasquez became involved with the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship and joined the Beyond War Organization in Austin, which aimed to educate the country on the negative effects of nuclear war.  This group traveled to Nicaragua to as a fact-finding mission. This was an extremely tumultuous time during the Iran-Contra scandal that dominated the Reagan administration.  "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that ." Martin Luther King, Jr.  

Against popular opinion he helped the students at Crockett High School understand the impact nuclear war would have on our country and the world. The student council he advised voted to make the school a Nuclear Free Zone after a campus-wide vote. He took a break from politics as he began graduate school and his professional career. 

His interest in politics remained and he often participated in protests during the first Bush presidency.  He was a member of Aggie Democrats during his time at Texas A&M University. Dr. Velasquez continued to stand up for what he believed despite popular opinion.  After September 11, 2011, he spoke up against violence and the war in Afghanistan even when others felt it was necessary and he was criticized for his stance.  He published an article denouncing the war in Afghanistan and for six weeks, the entire City of San Antonio was gripped in a dialogue about his commentary. 

He worked to improve education in Mali, Africa while working at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, TX as faculty advisor for Project Africa. He stood up and supported students raising money to build a school in Mali, Africa. They  were heard and able to achieve their goal in 2012. "Whether the borders that divide us are picket fences or national boundaries, we are all neighbors in a global community."President Jimmy Carter Most recently he ran for mayor in the 2017 mayoral race in the city of San Antonio, Texas.

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