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Hernandez / Politics and Protests in Odessa

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Hernández: I do not know, just Odessa just because the place. Everything was out in the open. It started naming officers that were bad. Even community leaders that were not in with us started getting called out. We went up against the DA. We called him the “99” because you would get 99 years for anything. Some of the guys got a little mesh box of weed, they would get 99 years. We gave a couple of the guys the name 99 because they send you 99 years. One of them still lives in Odessa, one of the guys. He made it out and he is still here. Two of those guys are here. I see one everyday on my way to work, every day he is sitting right there. He sits beside the road. He is an old veteran. You know, that was in the ‘70s. So many things happened. Raul had us in commissioner's court, city council. We were fighting for all kinds of things, improvements. But when that Lozano thing came in it just got out of hand. There Berets here in town, organizing marches. There was one in Big Spring. We were going to have here in Odessa, but that attorney from San Antonio- was it Sandoval? You remember that name? Sandoval, the attorney from San Antonio, the civil rights attorney. He was the one representing Lozano. The Berets, Victor, he still had the Berets in San Antonio. He would travel with them here to Odessa. He made a deal with- I do not know who he made the deal with. He got permission to have the protest. If we would move it out of Odessa and would take it to Big Spring. I remember that the Berets were all upset with him because he had compromised. He had to go from here. We met at the church- I think it was about a – I do not know- 200 to 300 cars that drove all the way to Big Springs. We met at the courthouse and had the protest there. I remember the railroad tracks and the bridge that runs over the railroad tracks. It is not a big bridge but we were on this side of the bridge. I remember we had to cross that bridge and make a left to get to the court house. Herrera was there and I think that was the last time he was with us because he got reprimanded by all the Berets. They were unhappy with him because he had called the FBI and given them information on what we were doing, or something like that. That we were having the parade. He had notified the FBI, what happened was that there was a truck. Herrera was in front of the truck and he had all the Berets around him, and then they asked for someone to go about 50 yards in front. I volunteered. The vice president of my car club volunteered with me. He was a Beret too. Me and him were in the front. I remember looking back and the truck was way back there and all the Berets were around the truck. We had to go up this bridge, and when we came down, I remember telling my friend, “Man, I do not know what we are getting into but we are here.” When we got down to the bottom of the bridge, there was a Bronco, a truck that had the back open. There were two guys in there that had a big old camera. You could not help but notice that camera. I do not know if they were filming or taking pictures. I am pretty sure he was taking picture. We looked straight into that camera. They took pictures of all of us. Went to the court house and there were officers on top of the building and they had rifles. I remember that Raul sent some of the guys up to the building. He said, “You go this way. You go that way. Find a way to get to the top of the building. Y’all do not do anything, but if those officers use those weapons, you know what to do.” It was a scary situation, but everything went well.

Interview Interview with Nick Hernandez
Subjects Electoral Politics › Politicians
Direct Action › Marches
Chicano Power › Brown Berets
Police and Law Enforcement › Federal Law Enforcement › FBI
Tags Lozano, Larry
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Interview date 2016-07-08
Interview source CRBB Summer 2016
Interviewees Hernandez, Nick
Locations San Antonio, TX
Odessa, TX
Big Springs, TX
Duration 00:05:59
Citation "Politics and Protests in Odessa," from Nick Hernandez oral history interview with ,  July 08, 2016, Odessa, TX, Civil Rights in Black and Brown Interview Database, https://crbb.tcu.edu/clips/2994/politics-and-protests-in-odessa, accessed May 21, 2022