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Tejano Monument gets closer to completion

By Jennifer Lee Preyss
July 17, 2011 at 2:17 a.m.

Adam Martinez uses a knife to cut brisket with other members of the League of United Latin American Citizens at Club Westerner on Sunday for a fundraiser to help erect the Tejano Monument on Capitol Grounds in Austin. About 15 briskets were served, along about 100 chicken halves.

TEJANO MONUMENTWHAT: Monument in front of state capitol will be funded entirely by contributions from individuals, foundations and corporate support.

COST: $1.5 million

Approximate cost remaining, $100,000

TO DONATE: Send contributions to The Tejano Monument Inc. P.O. Box 2948, McAllen 78502-2948

FOR MORE: Visit www.Tejanos.com.

In 2003, Benny Martinez mounted a horse and set out on a 125-mile ride from Goliad to the State Capitol in Austin.

His purpose: To raise awareness and support for the construction of a $1.5 million Tejano Monument in front of the capitol.

About 200 supporters of the monument attended a benefit Sunday at Victoria's Club Westerner in an attempt to continue raising money and awareness for building the monument.

"This project is not just for us. It's a project for all the people of the state of Texas, and we're asking for their help," said Martinez, League of United Latin American Citizens District 10 director. "It doesn't matter if they're Hispanic. History belongs to everyone."

The monument, scheduled to be erected as early as next spring, depicts the historical origins of Tejanos and the contributions and heritage of Spanish-Mexicans in Texas since 1519.

LULAC districts throughout the state are holding similar fundraisers for the monument, Martinez said.

Building the Tejano Monument has been an ongoing project for more than a decade, and several people at Sunday's fundraiser have supported and assisted the project since it was first proposed 11 years ago.

"I think it's a great event.... It's to help educate the public and school children and out-of-towners about our history," said Tejano Monument Board of Directors member William Zermeno. "Not one one of them down there commemorates Tejanos, who built towns, and named cities and rivers throughout the state."

The approximate 40-foot monument features life-size bronze figures of cowboys on horseback, Spanish explorers, Tejano family members, as well as mustangs and longhorns.

It will be erected in the front of the capitol and visitors of the building can tour the monument, Zermeno said.

Martinez said the project needs about $100,000 to finish building.

"If every Hispanic in Texas gave 25 cents, we'd have $4 million," he said.

Sunday's fundraiser collected about $2,000.

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