Several community members are taking issue with the city’s newest mural painted on the north side of the Aumont Hotel.
Members of the local League of the United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), and others who shared similar sentiment, gathered at the Seguin City Council meeting on Tuesday to express their concerns relating to the Texas Ranger Mural.
Schertz resident Chili Ornelas, who spoke on behalf of LULAC at a recent city council meeting, said the mural honors a law enforcement group that was responsible for the deaths of more than 5,000 Mexican Americans between the period of 1910 to 1920.
“Our members are important representatives of our community,” Ornelas said. “We have a Ph.D. professor at TLU (Texas Lutheran University), a member of the Seguin ISD school board … and even members who have sat in city council chairs. As you can see from our vocations past and present, we care deeply about our city … that is why it hurts us when an event like this brings sorrow to our hearts.”
Ornelas read from a letter addressed to the council that explained the history of LULAC and its stance on the art piece.
“The League of United Latin American Citizens has been an integral part of this community since the 1930s and has as one of its goals the abolishment of discrimination of all types,” Ornelas said. “Therefore, be it resolved that LULAC citizens would like to go on record as opposing the promotion of any mural or advertisement that highlights a dark chapter of our history.”
Jesus Trinidad, a lifelong resident of Seguin, told the council this is not a part of history that should be highlighted.
“I am really proud of this city; however, this thing regarding the Texas Rangers mural is upsetting,” Trinidad said. “When we were in school, we were not taught a lot of the history of the Rangers, and it’s only recently that many of us have become enlightened of that history. The period between 1910 and 1920 was when 5,000 Mexican Americans were killed, and that’s equivalent to one Mexican American killed every day for 10 years.”
He asked officials to reconsider before putting up any more historical displays.
“One thing that I would like from the council is that there not be any more murals or monuments here in the city,” Trinidad said. “Let the people judge the Rangers like they should and let the history books take care of that. I know that Seguin was founded by a lot of the Texas Rangers, and there’s a lot of history in regards to that, but many of us aren’t going anywhere, and we’d like to voice our opinions about that.”
While the mural depicted a small portion of the Texas Rangers’ history, Alberto “Beto” Rincón said it doesn’t paint the whole picture.
“I was disappointed in thinking about these words right here that are staring at me, ‘It’s real,’” he said. “The depiction of that mural to me wasn’t quite a very real depiction. In the real heyday of the Texas Rangers, there were more Mexicans legal and not legal lynched than in the antebellum south. That is daunting. And I have found that repeatedly cited, so that’s really a tough pill to swallow. The Texas Ranger Museum itself, from what I’ve been told, does not shy away from that dark chapter of the Texas Rangers’ history. So why does our mural have to?”
Plans for the mural emerged in January of this year and finalized in August after council approved the design with a 5 to 1 vote. Councilmember Chris Aviles voted against it.
At the time, Aviles said he believed the mural didn’t capture all that Seguin stands for, lacking critical components like the Guadalupe River, Juan Seguin, pecans and other historical aspects.
Houston-based artist Chris Garcia created the design and completed it for a little more than $14,000. The Seguin Commission on the Arts funded the project with funds from Guadalupe County United Way, Help Seguin Shine, ArtsFest and Seguin’s hotel occupancy tax fund.