The Honorable Raúl H. Castro was Arizona’s only Mexican-American governor, and served as ambassador to Argentina, Bolivia and El Salvador. On his 96th birthday, even after he identified himself as a former ambassador and governor, Castro endured an interrogation in 100-degree heat by Border Patrol agents at a highway checkpoint because his pacemaker had likely set off a sensor. He refused to file a complaint against the agents, but instead politely suggested instituting new policies for dealing with the frail and elderly. The institute at Phoenix College that bears his name also seeks to foster understanding by sponsoring non-partisan university research on Latino issues; briefing policymakers; and establishing networks of Latino organizations concerned with education, health and human services, leadership, and civic participation.
Through its annual Dare to Dream Conference, the institute encourages middle school students to go to college. The institute’s Arizona Latina Trailblazers project honors Latina heroines who can be an inspiration for young people. “This has become the signature event for the institute,” says director Dr. Trino Sandoval. “There is a lack of role models for Latinas in the state, and the women we select are true trailblazers.”