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Esteban Torres, Congressional Supporter for Latinos, Dies at 91

Esteban Torres, an eight-term Democrat of Congress from California who was dedicated to fighting poverty and who served as president of the Hispanic Caucasian Congress, died on Tuesday. He was 91 years old.

A family statement said he died two days before his 92nd birthday but gave no further details.

Before being elected to Congress in 1982, Mr. Torres was a union representative and a senior official of the Automobile Workers Association. He also worked in opposition programs and was appointed by President Jimmy Carter to positions at the United Nations and in the White House.

He served eight terms in Congress, representing a Hispanic area that includes parts of East Los Angeles, where he grew up.

“From the moment he took office, he was committed to improving the lives of Hispanics,” said Janet Murguía, president and chief executive officer of UnidosUS, the nation’s largest Latino civil rights and advocacy organization. in our country is the top priority.

She said Mr Torres played a key role in the passage and implementation of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, which gave legal status to more than three million people.

He pushed for changes in national policy to help people in his district, as well as people with similar locations around the country. This includes helping draft a measure to ensure that low-income victims of natural disasters receive adequate federal assistance.

Esteban Torres was born on January 27, 1930 in Miami, Ariz., to Mexican parents. His father worked in copper mines and was deported back to Mexico during the repatriation of Mexican Americans in the 1930s. This was a great experience for Mr. Torres, who never saw him again. himself, and who swore an oath to ensure that immigrants were treated fairly and with dignity.

He was raised primarily by his mother, Rena Gómez, who moved the family to East Los Angeles when Esteban was 6 years old. a Chrysler plant in Maywood, Los Angeles County. He was active in the United Auto Workers Union, where he was elected chief manager, and became a labor organizer. With help from the GI Bill of Rights, he attended East Los Angeles College and California State University at Los Angeles.

He then established East Los Angeles Community Alliance, becoming one of the largest waterproofing agencies in the country. President Carter appointed him the permanent representative of the United States to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization in Paris, where he served from 1977 to 1979. He then had two years as director of the White House Office of Hispanic Affairs.

After leaving politics, Torres pursued an interest in painting and sculpture and was the founder LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes, a museum in downtown Los Angeles dedicated to Latino cultural influences in the city.

He is survived by his wife, Arcy Sanchez; his children, Carmen, Rena, Camille, Selina and Esteban; 12 grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/29/us/politics/esteban-torres-dead.html Esteban Torres, Congressional Supporter for Latinos, Dies at 91

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