Speeches and Floor Statements

Congressional Tribute to the Late George Ramos, the Longtime Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist in Los Angeles, Cal Poly Professor, and Decorated Vietnam War Veteran

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Washington, August 5, 2011 | Helen Machado (202 225-1766) | comments
Congressional Record Tribute: Ms. ROYBAL-ALLARD. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize the late George Ramos, a longtime Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist in Los Angeles, a Cal Poly professor, and a decorated Vietnam War veteran who devoted much of his life to honoring the Latino community that he knew so well and loved.

Mr. Ramos grew up in the area of East Los Angeles known as Belvedere Garden.  As we learned through his own writings, Mr. Ramos escaped the trappings of poverty, drugs and gang life that plagued the area to attend college and embark on a distinguished career in journalism.

Among his many professional highlights, Mr. Ramos is heralded for his contributions to a Los Angeles Times groundbreaking series on Latinos in Southern California that earned the newspaper a 1984 Pulitzer Prize. As part of this series, Mr. Ramos authored a July 27, 1983 article entitled “Going Home: American Dream Lives in the Barrio,” in which Mr. Ramos shares with readers the story of his boyhood life growing up in the “hillside barrio.”  I would like to honor his memory today by submitting the full text of this article into the congressional record.

On a more personal note, I was also deeply impressed by another thorough, fact-filled, and beautifully-written article about Los Angeles’ Latino community that Mr. Ramos authored – my father’s October 25, 2005 obituary. In the first sentence, he described my father, the late Congressman Edward Roybal, as a “pioneer in Latino politics in Los Angeles and a godfather and mentor to scores of lawmakers.”  I find it truly fitting that many of the same words are being used over and over to describe his own life’s contributions to journalism.

In addition to his reporting, I have also had the privilege, year after year, of joining Mr. Ramos and other Latino veterans on Memorial Day at Cinco Puntos in Boyle Heights near the Mexican-American All Wars Memorial.  A Purple Heart recipient and proud Latino veteran, Mr. Ramos made it a priority to honor our fallen men and women in uniform and often served as the event’s Master of Ceremony.

To more fully capture Mr. Ramos’ life and accomplishments, I would also like to submit into the congressional record the following article that appeared in the online publication, CalCoastNews, where Mr. Ramos most recently volunteered as an editor.  In the July 26 article, Los Angeles elected officials are quoted universally praising Mr. Ramos’ talent for storytelling and his devotion to Los Angeles’ Latino community.

Mr. Speaker, as his family, colleagues, fellow veterans, students and many friends prepare to gather for his memorial service August 6 at the Veterans’ Memorial Building in Morro Bay, I ask my colleagues to please join me and the entire Los Angeles community in extending our heartfelt condolences to Mr. Ramos’ loved ones and all of those whose lives he touched.  By all accounts, this self-described “kid from East L.A.” served Los Angeles well and will be greatly missed.
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