AUSTIN - District 34 State Rep. Abel Herrero is seeking to get legislation passed that would create a state holiday honoring the late civil rights activist, Dr. Hector P. Garcia.

Herrero filed House Bill 661 last week, which recognizes Garcia's "significant sacrifices and landmark contributions to the Mexican American civil rights movement" by establishing an educational recognition day in his honor.

"With his successes, many others were able to gain respect, opportunities and inclusion", Herrero said in a prepared statement. "The opportunity I now have in being an elected official traces back to Dr. Hector P. Garcia.

As such, I look forward to the day when Dr. Hector P. Garcia will officially be honored with a state holiday."

Among his many accomplishments, Dr. Hector P. Garcia founded the American GI Forum in 1948 and worked tirelessly for the rights of area Hispanics and veterans who were being denied educational, medical and housing benefits. A World War II hero, he earned a Bronze star with six battle stars.

Additionally, in 1984, President Ronald Reagan awarded Dr. Garcia the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor given to a civilian by the President.

"We must enlighten our community about those who paved the way for Hispanic leaders today by fighting for equal access to education," Herrero said. "This state-wide recognition day seeks to honor Dr. Garcia's life and legacy and educate the public of his influences to our society, our culture and our country."

If passed, Dr. Hector P. Garcia Day will be regularly observed the third Wednesday of September by appropriate ceremonies and activities in the public schools and other places to properly commemorate the importance of the contributions made by Dr. Garcia.