Michael Gonzales Dallas Hispanic Leader
Michael Gonzales started his civic work as a young adult. Having attended segregated schools he is the product of a discriminatory society. He comes from a very prominent Latino family. His aunt, Adelfa B. Callejo was the first female Latina to graduate from Southern Methodist University Law School. In those times, the law school was all white and did not accept blacks for Hispanics. His uncle, William F. Callejo was a graduate of Southern Methodist University.
The Callejo’s later became very wealthy and mentored Mr. Gonzales. He led many protests over the years against institutions that discriminated against Hispanics.
Mr. Gonzales was the first Hispanic in Dallas history to serve on the board of directors for the Dallas Symphony Association with billionaire Ross Perot, Mort Myerson, among other prominent dignitaries.
In 1984, Michael was appointed Chairman of the Private Industry Council from Mayor Annette Strauss managing a $25 million budget and hundreds of employees. In 1985, he was appointed to the board of directors of the City Club at a time when women and minorities were not allowed to be members.
After two years, he successfully secured the votes to allow women and minorities to be members in the City Club.
Mr. Gonzales has also been an advocate for bilingual education. Over the course of several decades, he led protests at the Dallas Independent School District so that teachers could receive additional compensation for their Spanish language skill.
In 1984, he led a press conference with national leaders to rewrite the deadly force policy for the Dallas Police Department. For decades, the police had been using deadly force on its citizens when it was not necessary.
He also served as the Treasurer of the United Way managing a budget of over $200 million. Mr. Gonzales was awarded Businessman of the Year by the Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Michael is the only person to have been elected twice as Chairman of the Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in its 70 year history.
He also started the Mi Casa, down payment assistance program which resulted in thousands of Latinos being able to purchase homes. He was recognized by the White House Housing and Urban Development Secretaries Mel Martinez and Henry Cisneros. He has met with Presidents George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, and the Clintons.
Other community service on national and local boards include the American Heart Association, the League of United Latin American Citizens, the Dallas Alliance, and the Mayor Stark Taylor’s Criminal Justice Task Force.