Biography - Antonio Gonzalez, President, William C. Velasquez Institute (WCVI)

Antonio Gonzalez is President of the William C. Velasquez Institute. WCVI, founded in 1985, is a paramount national Latino public policy and research organization.

Gonzalez assumed the presidency of WCVI in 1994, after working in various capacities for WCVI and SVREP founders Willie Velasquez and Andrew Hernandez during 1984-94.

Gonzalez is a paramount expert on US Latino voter mobilization and Latino voting tendencies and characteristics and thru his tenure WCVI has conducted critically acclaimed survey and demographic research.

Time Magazine named Gonzalez in August 2005 one of the 25 Most Influential Hispanics in America.

Gonzalez has lectured and written on Latino participation in U.S.-Latin America policy. Since 2004 he has hosted his own weekly radio show on KPFK 90.7FM in Los Angeles called "Strategy Session".

Gonzalez has also broadened the Latino agenda through his pioneering work in blending traditional Latino priorities (those of a "minority") with broader agenda priorities (those of an emerging "majority"), most by including climate action as a Latino priority.

Currently, Gonzalez is leading a community-based climate-action collaborative with local government and community organizations dubbed the "LA County Aguacate Alliance" to help revitalize the three rivers of Los Angeles County (LA, San Gabriel, and Hondo) through development of riparian parks, open space, and water projects in disadvantaged communities from the mountains to the sea.

In 2005-06 through a Visiting Scholar program at the David and Lucille Packard Foundation Gonzalez conceptualized the "National Latino Congreso". Broadly successful, the National Latino Congreso ran from 2006 to 2013 and initiated a process of renovation, and revitalization of Latino leadership at all levels.

Since its inception WCVI has trail-blazed Latino prioritization of transnational "intermestic" policies. Key Gonzalez deepened WCVI "intermestic" commitment with initiatives that included:

  • sending delegations to observe the Nicaraguan, Salvadoran, South African, Mexican, and Venezuelan electoral processes in from 1990 to 2014;
  • leading the Latino Consensus on NAFTA movement that led to the creation of the three billion dollar North American Development Bank from 1991 to 1997;
  • normalizing relations between the U.S. and Cuba through people to people engagement form 1996 to the present;
  • conducting international learning seminars for Latino leaders to study policy innovations in Europe and South America from 2004 to the present; and conducting an "End the Drug War" campaign in US Latino communities and in Mexico and Central America from 1999 thru the present;
  • Gonzalez has been active promoting Marijuana legalization across the southwest states since 2010 and currently helps lead the effort to legalize marijuana in California in 2016. Towards this end WCVI has launched the Southern California Latinos for Marijuana Legalization coalition.

Gonzalez has actively promoted Marijuana legalization across the southwest states since 2010 and currently building support for marijuana legalization among California Latinos. Towards this end WCVI has launched the Southern California Latinos for Marijuana Legalization coalition.

Gonzalez has played the role of "conscience" of the immigrant rights movement by criticizing anti-immigrant and enforcement-dominant federal legislative proposals over the last ten years. He has championed a strategy of enacting pro-immigrant state laws and policy changes as an alternative to enacting overly punitive federal legislation and regulations.

Gonzalez has traveled extensively in Latin America and Europe, and is fluent in Spanish. A graduate in U. S. History of the University of Texas, San Antonio in 1981, he conducted undergraduate coursework at UC San Diego during 1975-77 and graduate coursework in Latin American History at U.C. Berkeley in 1981-82. Gonzalez shares his life with his wife of 24 years Alma Martinez and their two daughters Sara Francine 21 and Ysabel Patricia 18.

How Do Latinos Vote?
Phone Poll, Exit Surveys & More
Phone Poll, Exit Surveys & More
Antonio Gonzalez On the Airwaves
Antonio Gonzalez On the Airwaves