Harry Pachon, a scholar and activist, has died at age 66. According to The Los Angeles Times, he succumbed to lung failure at Kindred Hospital in Ontario, California after several months of illness.
Dr. Pachon brought critical national attention and insight to this country’s growing Latino engagement in the intertwined areas of education and civic engagement as the President of the Tomas Rivera Policy Institute [TRPI] and as a founding board member and Executive Director of the National Association of Latino Elected Officials [NALEO].
Under Dr. Pachon’s leadership, TRPI was a leading voice in the dialogue on immigration, education, welfare reform and political engagement.
In a prepared statement MALDEF President and General Counsel, Thomas A. Saenz, had the following to say of Dr. Pachon’s tremendous contributions,
“The entire nation—and especially the 50 million Latinos in the United States—has lost a true giant in civil rights advocacy. Through his leadership of NALEO and TRPI, Harry Pachon provided the academic and intellectual heft to move many an obstacle to equality and fairness. His extraordinary legacy will reverberate for many years to come, with positive effects nationwide.”
Dr. Pachon served in Washington, DC as chief of staff for U.S. Representative Edward R. Roybal, a powerful California Democratic Congressman in the 1970’s, as well executive director of the National Association of Latino Elected Officials for a decade starting in 1983. In 1997, he chaired President Clinton’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans.
Funeral services will be private.