For many supporters of Rosie Castro, hearing the civil rights activist say “here” Thursday from the City Council dais was a long time coming.
The Thursday meeting was supposed to be a final interview before the appointment and swearing-in of Castro to fill the vacant District 7 seat temporarily after Councilwoman Ana Sandoval stepped down in January. But it was more of a celebration.
Castro — the mother of twin brothers Julian Castro, a former mayor, and U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro — was one of four people to apply to fill the vacancy, but she was the only one to make it to the final interview round. She will serve in the role until June, when the winner of the May 6 election takes over the seat.
In 1971, Castro unsuccessfully ran for City Council.
At the time, the city was under an at-large election system that helped allow the Good Government League — a group of mostly Anglo businessmen who controlled City Council through the 1960s and into the early 1970s — to hand-pick predominately white men as council candidates.
Castro was part of a push through the legal system to challenge the system that openly discriminated against Black, Asian and Mexican Americans. She was a plaintiff in a federal Voting Rights Act lawsuit that caused the city to establish single-member districts in 1977.
“Today, there are 10 City Council seats, each one that represents its own unique part of the city, because Rosie Castro fought that fight,” District 8 Councilman Manny Peláez said.
Castro’s sons carry on her legacy.