East Chicago

Raymond Vega

By Israel Saenz

At the Vega home in East Chicago, Ind., during World War II, there were five blue stars in the window -- one for each of the sons serving in the military. Raymond Vega was one of them, serving aboard a ship as a hospital corpsman, tending to sick and wounded men. It was that experience that would lead him to devote his life to his faith, as a Roman Catholic priest.

Sailing in the South Pacific, aboard the USS Long Island, Vega had thoughts of being killed by a torpedo.

"When you have a thought like that for two years, you learn to pray," Vega said.

Martin Vega

By Natalie England

Martin Vega knows what discrimination is. He saw it in his everyday life.

He even saw that everyday discrimination culminate in murder.

Vega was born in Nuevo Leon, Mexico. His family immigrated to Taylor, Texas, 36 miles northeast of Austin, in 1921, where his father worked in the cotton fields. Times weren’t easy for Mexican Americans in Texas.

"I had two cousins murdered by the police," Vega said.

During a visit in 1945, his cousins, out drinking in Taylor, got into a scuffle. According to Vega, the police fired.

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