July 23, 1949|
Lubbock County, Texas, USA
|Died||November 3, 2009
|Alma mater||University of Wisconsin-Whitewater|
Joe Adam Riojas
Bidal Aguero, also known as Billy Aguero (July 23, 1949–November 3, 2009), was the publisher of El Editor, the oldest-running Hispanic newspaper in Texas. He was also a leading figure in the civil rights community in Lubbock.
Aguero was born at the Goodnight Farm in Acuff, Lubbock County, Texas, to migrant cotton laborers Ignacio (1915–1980) and Eulalia Aguero (1921–1994). The Aguero family moved to Lubbock in the 1950s and resided in the neighborhood known as "El Barrio Nuevo" off North Avenue U. Prior to establishing El Editor in 1977, Aguero worked for Gus Medina, Sr., owner of La Voz newspaper. In 1972, Aguero established a Mexican American Chamber of Commerce in Lubbock. That same year, he graduated from Texas Tech University with a bachelor's degree in music education. He then pursued his master's degree in music at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. While he was away from Lubbock, the Mexican American chamber of commerce disbanded, but Aguero re-formed it in 1976. Using his music education, Aguero was a founding member of a Lubbock Tejano group known as "Los Premiers". He played the saxophone.
Involved in Lubbock Democratic politics, Aguero organized protests against various injustices experienced by Hispanics. He was one of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed against the Lubbock Independent School District to change the method of electing trustees from at-large citywide to single-member districts so that persons of minority-group background could more easily win elections. From 1967-1962, Aguero was chairman of the Mexican American Youth Organization. He also ran unsuccessfully for the Lubbock City Council, state representative, and Lubbock County commissioner. In 1972, he was the Lubbock co-ordinator for the La Raza gubernatorial candidate, Ramsey Muniz, who polled more votes that year than the difference between Democratic winner Dolph Briscoe of Uvalde, and Republican challenger Henry Grover of Houston. In 1974, he worked for the second La Raza candidate, Mario Compean, who was also defeated by Briscoe. Aguero was active in West Texas farm unionization efforts and once received the Lubbock award named for farm activist Cesar Chavez. In 2007, Aguero received the Lubbock County Democratic Party's "Unsung Hero" award. He also received numerous awards from the National Association of Hispanic Publications. In 1977, he won the "Distinguished Service Award" form the Lubbock Jaycees.
Family and legacy
On October 17, 1988, Aguero married the former Olga Riojas (born November 6, 1959) in Lubbock. Aguero died of pneumonia at the age of sixty. Services were held on November 5, 2009, at St. Elizabeth's Catholic Church in Lubbock. He was cremated. In addition to his wife, he was survived by a son, Joe Adam Riojas (born ca. 1978) and wife Molli, and three daughters, Zenaida Victoria Reyes (born ca. 1970) and husband Robert, Amalia Raquel Aguero (born 1970), and Marisol Aguero, all of Lubbock; two brothers, Joe S. Aguero (born 1943) and wife Diana of Seattle, Washington, and Ricardo "Ricky" Aguero (born ca. 1955) of Rancho Dominguez in Los Angeles County, California; a sister, Martha and husband Sam Rendon of Lubbock, and four grandchildren.
On his death, El Editor commented:
As a product of the 1950s and 60s, Bidal's outlook on life was certainly impacted by the social exclusion of the times which [kept] Mexican Americans from restaurants, movie theaters, swimming pools, and other social settings. Perhaps, that is the starting point in understanding why Bidal Aguero took the road less traveled and chose to dedicate his life to working for social justice and for civil rights to improve the life of those who would follow his generation. In the history of this city, Bidal's life is a testament to his life long struggle to bring about the changes he knew were necessary if the social, cultural, and political arena was ever going to change for the Mexican American community. . . . Many of the victories and accomplishments which he enjoyed came after tremendous challenges and adversity.
. . .
Back in the 1970s, most of the social changes which took place were a direct result of people like Bidal who put aside his personal aspirations, followed his heart, and took a leap of faith across the social barriers which existed at the time. He knew that if nothing was done, change would not come. Many of Lubbock's social, business, political, civic, educational, cultural institutions, and especially the field of Chicano/Hispanic journalism bear one distinct fingerprint; that of Bidal Aguero.
. . .
And though he will be missed; Bidal Aguero will be remembered as a person who stood up for the causes he believed in; strived diligently for equal rights and social change, never forgot where he came from, and fought the good fight until the very end.
Aguero's papers from 1949-1988 are deposited at the Southwest Collection of Texas Tech University. Digital versions of the El Editor newspaper are also available through the Southwest Collection's digital repository.
- "Social Security Death Index". ssdi.rootsweb.ancestry.com. Retrieved April 1, 2010.
- "Christy Martinez-garcia, Civil Rights leader, Hispanic newspaperman Aguero dies at age 60". Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. November 4, 2009. Retrieved April 2, 2010.
- "Bidal Aguero's Remarkable Journey". eleditor.com, November 19, 2009. Retrieved April 2, 2010.
- "Bidal Aguero obituary". eleditor.com. Retrieved April 1, 2010.
- "Bidal Aguero: An Inventory of His Papers, 1949-1988 and undated, at the Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library". lib.utexas.edu. Retrieved April 2, 2010.
- "El Editor". Texas Tech University. Southwest Collection. Retrieved 17 April 2014.