Thursday, August 20, 2020

Anselmo “Chemo” Candelaria

Anselmo “Chemo” Candelaria was a charismatic and controversial leader of the Chicano Movement in San Jose during the turbulent 1960s.
“He was a commanding figure,” said Arturo Villareal, a professor of ethnic studies and anthropology at Evergreen Valley College in San Jose. “Once he started talking, he had your attention. He’d start slow and easy and end up with a bang.”
His speeches went that way but his life and political activism followed the opposite trajectory. Candelaria burst upon the scene in 1959 when he started the militant Black Berets for Justice and ended quietly April 7 2012 after he had embraced his Native American identity and spirituality and become a respected elder and speaker.
“He was a community activist to the end,” said his widow, Teresa Candelaria, of Peoria, Ariz., where the couple had lived after leaving San Jose in the late 1990s. “He just wanted liberty for our people and for indigenous people everywhere to be treated as human beings with full rights.”

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