Cristal 1963

Cristal’s Los Cinco Candidatos, initiated a young Dr. Gutiérrez into Chicano electoral empowerment. He was too young to pay the Poll Tax to register to vote for the 5 Chicano candidates for the City Council, so he got others to vote. Los Cinco Candidatos won all 5 seats and that became the first Chicano controlled-city government in the nation.


1960s-1970s Dr. Gutiérrez participated in labor walkouts, student walkouts, and walkouts of local government meetings eventually becoming the organizer of many.


After years in the trenches of academe he earned Full Professor of Political Science status at the University of Texas-Arlington. In October 2015, the Regents of the University of Texas System approved the recommendation he be named Emeritus Professor of Political Science.

In 2019 the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute named him the Hispanic Hero and the National Council of La Raza (now UNIDOS US) named him a Chicano Hero in 1991.

Mayo 1968

In 1968 Dr. Gutiérrez along with five of his peers formed the Mexican American Youth Organization (MAYO) and proceeded to organize over 30 school walkouts by Chicano students in Texas. The first ones in San Antonio, eventually helping and supporting over 300 more nationwide ultimately leading to the Plan de Santa Barbara.

MAUC, 1969

As MAYO they needed a non-profit to receive donations and grants with which to effect social change. They formed several non-profits including the Mexican American Unity Council, which led to a regional organization, the Southwest Council of La Raza (SWCLR), which changed it location to Washington, D.C. and name to National Council of La Raza (NCLR), now UNIDOS US.

Winter Garden Project 1969

As MAYO and MAUC, they voted to attempt an electoral takeover of local governments in six counties in Southwest Texas called the Winter Garden area. They formed a set of local grassroots organizations, usually with a first name followed by Unidos, as in Ciudadanos Unidos in Cristal, Mexicanos Unidos in Pearsall, and Familias Unidas in Robstown. They ran 16 candidates for school boards and city councils in the Winter Garden area and won 15 in 1970.

Raza Unida Party 1970

To challenge control over Texas county government the group formed a partisan political party on a regional basis, La Raza Unida (RUP). They elected a few officials such as Elena Diaz as County Commissioner in Zavala County and Roel Rodriguez in La Salle County and the city council in San Juan, Hidalgo County, Texas.

National Raza Unida Party 1972

Dr. Gutiérrez began organizing the RUP nationally in 17 states and the District of Columbia. He was elected National Chairman. They elected dozens of RUP candidates to county offices, such as County Commissioners, Justice of the Peace, Constables, Treasurers, Sheriffs, County Clerks, and one County Judge, himself, in Zavala County. In Washington D.C. they elected Frank Shafer Corona to the Adams Morgan School District and ran candidates for Governor, US Senator, Lt. Governor, and other public offices in various states, including Texas.

Becas Aztlan

The RUP began internationalizing the Chicano Movement with trips to other countries. With Mexico they began a scholarship program to train medical doctors and PhD’s. The government of Mexico from 1972 to 1980 funded millions of dollars in full scholarships to Chicano students. Many licensed and practicing medical doctors today are a result as well as some PhD’s heading Chicano Studies programs in Oregon and New Mexico, for example. The RUP backed Crystal City ISD first implemented the B3 pedagogical strategy borrowed from the Parti Québécois based in Canada. B3 stands for becoming and being bilingual, biliterate and bicultural.