DALLAS (CBSNewsTexas.com) - In Dallas, when it comes to championing the rights and improvement of life for Latinos there is one woman's name that stands out.
She stands in isolation in Dallas' Main Street Garden Park, facing the UNT law school. A statue erected to recognize a Dallas woman who fought for equal access.
She's called "La Madrina," the Godmother.
Adelfa Botello Callejo. Dallas attorney. Advocate for Dallas' Hispanic community. A historic voice of protest and promotion for Latino representation at Dallas businesses, Dallas schools and Dallas city hall.
"Someone asked me, 'why are you always angry,' so I recited all the reasons why," Callejo once said in an interview with CBS News Texas. "Because I'm not listened to."
Callejo was the first woman of Mexican descent to graduate from SMU's law school.
She was the first Dallas female to graduate from law school and practice law in the city of Dallas and the third in the state of Texas.
"I'm proud to be a lawyer, but more proud to be an advocate," Callejo once said.
For decades, Callejo advocated, protested and pushed for better education for Latino students, and demanded more leadership roles for Hispanics in private and public operations - from school districts to city hall.
She earned numerous awards for her work and advocacy, including the LULAC Hispanic Entrepreneurship Award, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Justice Award and the Sandra Day O'Connor Award.
Callejo helped lead a quarter of a million people in a downtown march for immigrants. She wanted the city of Dallas to invest in the very families who were traditionally overlooked.
And now the statue.
"[The statue] is centralized in the city of Dallas so that many people can come to know the story of Adelfa ... and understand how we are so rich in history to have a civil rights icon like her in our city's history," said Dallas Assistant City Manager Liz Cedillo-Pereira.
Cedillo-Pereira recalls her high school years walking by Callejo's law office building every afternoon after school. She knew about Callejo's legacy of dedication to Hispanic families and children.
Cedillo-Pereira said Callejo's imprint on Dallas puts her at the top of Dallas living legends, Hispanic or otherwise.
This city's Hispanic heritage is on proud display, even when some fought against it. Dallas' salute to a Latina who pushed the city to be better.
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