LUBBOCK, Texas — A Lubbock-born and raised woman, Linda De Leon, 71, spoke with EverythingLubbock.com Tuesday about her experiences and time in the city as a Hispanic community activist.
According to De Leon, her parents were migrants, born in Mexico. She was an Estacado High School graduate.
She said as a young mother, she began to get involved when she heard rumors they were going to close the school down that her daughters attended. De Leon began attending board meetings and before she knew it, she was representing District 1, North Lubbock on the City Council.
“Many people didn’t like me, I guess I was someone to reckon with,” De Leon said. “But I was gonna represent them the best way I could.”
De Leon said she took her position so seriously she would lose income just to take vacations for training necessary for trustees. Behind closed doors, she was yelled at for being so outspoken. There were times she said she even got death threat letters.
“I think it was an attempt to get me to quit, but I’m not the type,” De Leon said.
In all that she took on, her husband of nearly 46 years was supportive.
“He would drive me around Loop 289 to let me vent,” she said.
According to De Leon, if it weren’t for the community, she would not have accomplished all that she did. She explained that when she first got put on the board of trustees, of all the schools she represented, none of them had air conditioners.
“How could our kids learn in that type of environment,” De Leon asked.
De Leon even went to communities around Lubbock encouraging Hispanics to run for political offices and school board. She had the unique opportunity to work with a group of kids who were considered gang members, that she later got to see walk the stage and recieve a diploma.
“They would say to me, ‘Had it not been for you, I probably would have dropped out.’ Many of these kids would have given up because they felt like nobody cared,” De Leon said.
De Leon served 18 years on the school board and six years on the Lubbock City Council.
De Leon’s biggest message was “I just hope that people running for office do the job they were entrusted to do.”
These days, De Leon enjoys her life as a grandmother in the Houston area, but Lubbock still holds a special place in her heart.