November 12, 2018

Los Angeles, CA - Antonio Gonzalez, president of the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project (SVREP) and the William C. Velasquez Institute (WCVI), died on November 11 after battling cancer. As the head of both organizations for 24 years, he worked tirelessly to mobilize Latino voters, promote civic participation and improve the lives of immigrants living in the United States. Please attribute the following statement on Antonio’s passing to Thomas A. Saenz, president and general counsel of MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund):

“MALDEF mourns the incredible loss to the cause of Latinx empowerment from the passing of Antonio Gonzalez this past weekend. Under Antonio’s leadership, the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project (SVREP) and the William C. Velazquez Institute (WCVI) contributed in myriad and significant ways to expanded civic involvement and leadership in the Latinx community. Antonio always had creative ideas that he implemented with a keen understanding of political power in this country. His varied interests and associated endeavors all shared a grounding in his lifelong commitment and eagerness to see the political influence of the Latinx community increase in every area of public policy. With Antonio at the helm, SVREP and WCVI were frequent MALDEF partners, particularly in seeking to ensure that redistricting recognized the growth and contributions of the Latinx population. We take solace in the fact that Antonio saw some of the results (and could surely predict the outcome when all votes are finally counted) of the ‘brown wave’ midterm election this month. MALDEF expresses its heartfelt condolences to the personal and professional family of Antonio Gonzalez. We will sorely miss his partnership and inspiration.”

Founded in 1968, MALDEF is the nation's leading Latino legal civil rights organization. Often described as the "Latino Legal Voice for Civil Rights in America" MALDEF promotes social change through advocacy, communications, community education, and litigation in the areas of education, employment, immigrant rights, and political access. For more information on MALDEF, please visit:

Copyright 2009 MALDEF, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund