Please Join us in the commemoration
of the life and accomplishments of 

Rodolfo "Corky" Gonzales

June 18, 2013 

Su Teatro
721 Sante Fe Dr.

Specail Guest
Daniel Valdez  


CALL 303 964 8993 



All through high school, Gonzales saved to pay for a college education. When it became clear that his financial status would not allow him to continue his study of engineering after his first semester at the University of Denver, he went into professional sports. He soon became a featherweight champion, winning a Golden Gloves title, and the National Amateur Athletic Union bantamweight title in 1946.


As a professional boxer, Gonzáles was ranked the number 3 Featherweight boxer by Ring Magazine. He retired from the ring in 1955 after compiling a record of 65 wins, 9 losses, and 1 draw. His success in boxing lent him a prominence that he would later capitalize upon during his political career. Gonzales would be inducted into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame in 1988.


In his column in the Denver Post of January 6, 1988, Tom Gavin wrote,


"He’s grizzled now, and gray,

but he stands tall, Corky Gonzales does,

and taller still, Rodolfo "I am Joaquin" Gonzales.

The one was a pretty good boxer,

the other is a leader of men."





In the 60's, Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales and Chicano community members founded an urban civil rights and cultural movement called the Crusade for Justice. He became one of the central leaders in the Chicano movement and a strong proponent of Chicano nationalism and self-determination. During this time Corky, and his organization, supported high school walkouts, and demonstrations against police brutality. He was one of the first civil/human rights leaders to speak out against the Vietnam War at mass demonstrations around the country.


For the 1968 Poor People’s March to Washington D.C. organized by Dr. Martin Luther King, Gonzales led a Chicano and Native American contingent from the Southwest. While there, he issued his "Plan del Barrio" which called for better housing, education, community owned businesses, and restitution of pueblo lands.


One of the most important roles played by Gonzales, and The Crusade for Justice, was as organizer of the three Annual Chicano Youth Liberation Conferences, the first that took place in 1969. These Conferences drew large numbers of Chicano youth from throughout the United States. At the first conference, the ground breaking El Plan Espiritual de Aztlan was created. The next conference in 1970 further refined Gonzales' efforts toward Chicano self-determination that lead to the formation of the Colorado La Raza Unida Party. One of his greatest contributions to the struggle was the ability to forge coalitions with people and organizations locally and nationally. Corky never wavered in his commitment to enhance the lives of Chicanos and all oppressed peoples. He was the fist of the Chicano Movement..


The Writer

Rodolfo Corky Gonzales was the publisher of El Gallo newspaper, two plays: The Revolutionist, A Cross for Maclovio, and poet (Sol, Lagrimas, Sangre and Yo Soy Joaquín)

In Gonzales’ epic poem Yo Soy Joaquín/ I Am Joaquin, he shared his new cosmological vision of the "Chicano", which was neither Indian nor European, neither Mexican nor American. This new "raza" or "race" found its roots in the Pre-Columbian civilizations, which gave it indigenous rights to inhabit the ancestral land of Aztlán. Joaquín, the archetypical Chicano, found hope for his future in his own personal and spiritual awakening, a realization forced upon him by his status as an oppressed minority in the United States.

Scholars have credited Gonzales with authoring this historicized, politicized definition of what it is to be a "Chicano". The far-reaching effect of the poem is summed up by UC Riverside professor Juan Felipe Herrera: "Here, finally, was our collective song, and it arrived like thunder crashing down from the heavens. Every little barrio newspaper from Albuquerque to Berkeley published it. People slapped mimeographed copies up on walls and telephone poles."

It was so influential that it was turned into a film by Luis Valdez's Teatro Campesino that toured nationally. It has been published internationally and has been performed by teatros internationallyIt is seen as the foundational work of the burgeoning Chicano Art Movement that enhanced the Chicano Movement, and, as the Plan Espiritual de Aztlán exhorted those talented members of the community to use their abilities to advance La Causa (The Cause), Yo Soy Joaquín provided a strong vehicle and the impetus.