AGUERO, BIDAL (1949–2009). Bidal Aguero, civic leader, community activist, and newspaper editor and publisher, was born on July 23, 1949, in Acuff, Lubbock County, Texas, to Eulalia and Ignacio Aguero on the Goodnight cotton farm where they worked as laborers. In the mid-1950s the family moved to Lubbock where Bidal attended school and graduated from Lubbock High School. He graduated with a bachelors in music education from Texas Tech University in 1972 and then received his masters in music at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in 1974.
While attending Texas Tech University, Aguero became active in a number of Mexican American organizations. He joined a group known as Los Tertullianos and eventually became its president in 1971. He helped organize MAYO (Mexican American Youth Organization) on the Texas Tech campus and later merged this organization to establish a chapter of Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán (MEChA) in 1971. That same year Aguero began galvanizing the Mexican American community. With the help of other students and community activists, he protested police brutality, inequities in the workplace, and other injustices. One of the products of this work was the organization of La Marcha de Fe (the March of Faith) in November 1971. Aguero also worked with writer and poet Nephtalí De León to organize the Teatro Chicano. The Teatro was established to bring pride, knowledge, and courage to the Mexican descent community; the theater group performed throughout West Texas and eastern New Mexico to large crowds in rural and urban communities. Aguero, a farm worker during his childhood, had a special affinity for the farm working population. To aid the farm workers in their employment, Aguero promoted non-profit manpower services such as the Llano Estacado Farm workers de Tejas, Inc.; Panhandle Community Action Corporation; and Chicanos Unidos-Campesinos—all of which received funding from the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act, Title 111. In 1972 he founded the Mexican American Chamber of Commerce, Comerciantes Organizados Mejico Americanos (COMA) for the Spanish-speaking entrepreneurs of Lubbock and the surrounding towns. After he left for graduate school in Wisconsin, COMA collapsed, but after Aguero returned to Lubbock, he started the organization anew in 1976.
Aguero began working at La Voz newspaper, owned by Gus Medina, Sr., part-time after school. In 1977 he started his own newspaper, El Editor. The first issue appeared on October 12, 1977. During the early years of the periodical, Aguero financed its production and did all of the work by himself. By 1981 it had a circulation of 10,000. In the late 1990s he retired from day-to-day operations, which were carried on by a daughter. As of 2015 El Editor was still owned and published by Aguero’s wife and daughters and was the longest running bilingual newspaper in the Texas Panhandle.
A political activist, Aguero joined the Raza Unida Party and campaigned for Ramsey Muñiz for Texas governor in 1972 and 1974. Aguero was a member of the delegation that traveled to El Paso for the Raza Unida Party national convention in 1972. He later campaigned for Mario Compean in the 1978 state election. After the end of the Raza Unida Party, Aguero joined the Democratic Party and championed many issues such as single-member districts. In the late 1970s he filed a successful lawsuit against the Lubbock Independent School District in support of single-member districts and against the LISD school trustee election practices. In the 1980s he ran unsuccessfully to represent District 83 in the Texas House.
Aguero helped found the National Association of Hispanic Publishers. A lifelong resident of Lubbock, he helped organize community events such as the Viva Aztlan Festival and the Pancho Claus program. Aguero was also a playwright and wrote La Muerta de Una Adelita and El Traje de Pancho Clos. In 2007 he received the Lubbock County Democratic Party's "Unsung Hero” award. He was married twice. On November 21, 1969, he married Juanita Roma. On October 17, 1988, he married Olga Riojas.
Bidal Aguero died from pneumonia on November 3, 2009, in Lubbock. Aguero, a Catholic, was survived by his wife Olga, a son, and three daughters. A scholarship was established in his honor for Texas Tech students. In 2014 El Editor announced its establishment of the Bidal Aguero Justicia Award for individuals engaged in civil rights activities in the local community.
Bidal Aguero to David Zepeda September 7, 1976, Oral History Southwest Collection, Texas Tech University. Bidal Aguero Papers, 1949–1988 and undated, Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas. Nephtalí De León Papers, 1945–1969, Southwest Collection, Texas Tech University. El Editor, November 24, 2014. Jorge Iber and Arnolda De León, Hispanics in the American West (Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO, Inc., 2006). Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, November 5, 2009; November 10, 2010. Oral History Interview with Bidal and Olga Agüero, 1998, by José Angel Gutiérrez, CMAS No. 63 (http://library.uta.edu/tejanovoices/xml/CMAS_063.xml), accessed June 7, 2016. Qualification Statement, Title III, Section 303, Chicanos Unidos-Campesinos, Muleshoe Texas, filed November 8, 1971, Office of the Secretary of State of Texas, Bill Kimbrough, Deputy Director Corporation Division. Lucas Trujillo to Yolanda Romero March 24, 1987 at Plano, Texas, Southwest Collection, Texas Tech University.
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