On March 26, 1948 the American GI Forum was established in Corpus Christi, Nueces County, Texas.
Dr. Hector P. Garcia the founder or the American GI Forum, having served in World War II, and returning home only to find Mexican-American veterans being segregated and denied veterans benefits, thus the American GI Forum was formed. His initial concerns were to address World War II veterans of Mexican descent who were being denied medical benefits by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. It wasn't until the Felix Longroria, a Mexican-American private, who was killed while serving in the Philippines that the American GI Forum came to national attention in campaigning on behalf of Private-Felix Longroria. Upon the return of Private Longroria body to Texas, he was denied funeral services by a white American owned funeral home. It wasn't until Dr. Garcia entervened on behalf of Private Longroria with a letter to Senator Lyndon B. Johnson, who secured Private Longora's burial in Arlington National Cemetery.
The Longroria affair brought national prominence to the organization and soon after chapters all accross the nation where being established.
It's concerns were not only that of veterans, but soon spread into non-veterans issues such as: voting rights, jury selection, and educational desegregation, women's, our youth, but advocating for the civil rights of all Mexican-Americans.
The AGIF is dedicated to addressing problems of discrimination and inequities endured by Hispanic veterans. Through the efforts of many of the organization’s early leadership, the AGIF grew to other states and has chapters throughout the United States. Though predominantly Hispanic, the AGIF is a fully interracial U.S. veterans and family organization.
In 1998 on the 50th anniversary of the organization, the U.S. Congress Chartered the American GI Forum as a Veteran's Family Organization. The AGIF has maintained a leadership role in many communities and has gained respect among all ethnic groups.
The AGIF has been in the forefront in civil rights struggles, such as advocating for Hispanic Veterans Benefits, desegregation of schools, voter registration, fair judicial proceedings, and combating media stereotyping and distortions.
The AGIF/US formally convenes at an annual convention held at different parts of the Nation. Educational and training workshops, corporate exhibits and job fairs are held and attended by delegates from throughout the state, as well as government and corporate representatives. Position papers, resolutions and proposed solutions are generated. These papers address issues of concern within the Hispanic community. These, presented at the National Convention are distributed so that action is assured on all issues.
The American GI Forum of Colorado, Inc. is composed of Forum, Women’s and Youth Chapters. Youth Chapters are sponsored by either AGIF group. Local chapters function under a regional structure. Elected officers of each group compose the State Board of Directors. The State Executive Board is elected at the Annual State Convention. that handles the administrative arm of the organization.
The AGIF Local and the State Headquarters offices sponsor and support the following programs in the U.S.:
AGIF National Archives
National Veterans Outreach Program
SER, National Jobs for Progress
Hispanic Education Foundation
To provide information and motivation on education, scholarships and post secondary educational opportunities.
YOUTH LEADERSHIP AND MOTIVATION
To establish AGIF Youth chapters; to train youth in leadership and motivation values; to help with their education through academic and trade scholarships, to promote better career opportunities
To establish communications with corporations and job placement organizations, to assist with job training referrals, and to ensure equal employment opportunities.
To enforce, defend and protect the civil and human rights of Hispanics, women and other minorities and to ensure equal opportunities as mandated by federal and state laws.
To provide input on enforcement of legislation that protects the rights of Hispanic veterans, their families and other minorities concerning affirmative action, benefits from social and educational
The American GI Forum is the largest Federally Chartered Hispanic Veterans organization in the U.S. With Chapters in 40 states and Puerto Rico. The AGIF also supports other Hispanic organizations, such as LULAC, NCLR, IMAGE, HACR, and many others. AGIF also has a Corporate Advisory Board (AGIFCAP) that helps with technical advise and financial support.
Official Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi
LORD, Make me an Instrument of Thy Peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
Oh DIVINE MASTER, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console,
to be understood, as to understand, to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to ETERNAL LIFE. Amen.