Latino civil rights leader will help remove Confederate symbols, names from military bases
Lawrence Romo heads a group formed to protect Mexican American World War II veterans from discrimination.
Lawrence Romo speaks during a news conference on Jan. 29, 2016, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.Mandel Ngan / AFP via Getty Images
By Suzanne Gamboa
SAN ANTONIO — The leader of a national veterans' civil rights group formed to protect Mexican Americans from discrimination has been added to a commission tasked with devising a plan to remove Confederate names, monuments and symbols from military bases and assets.
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, today announced the appointment of Mr. Lawrence Romo to serve on the Commission on the Naming of Items of the U.S. Department of Defense That Commemorate the Confederate States of America or Any Person Who Served Voluntarily With the Confederate States of America. Chairman Smith’s previous appointment, Mr. Lonnie Bunch III, had to withdraw for personal reasons unrelated to the Commission’s work.
“As the Commission begins its work, it is critically important that its members represent the diversity of our great country,” said Chairman Smith. “Mr. Romo’s long track record of service – both in the United States Air Force and as Director of the Selective Service System in the Obama administration – give Mr. Romo the deep experience and perspective required. I am glad he has accepted the appointment and appreciate his willingness to serve.”
Mr. Romo is the current National Commander of the American G.I. Forum, a civil rights organization that has been serving Hispanic veterans since its founding in 1948. Before assuming his role with the American G.I. Forum, Mr. Romo served as Director of the Selective Service System for all eight years of the Obama administration. A graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, Mr. Romo served his country in various roles, both active duty and reserve, for decades prior.