the wrong reasons

all wrong.png

by Dan Benavidez

intro’d to Dan via Mike via Peter (via Sandy).. and then found his book





i have made something of myself and i knew he (dad) would have been so proud of me, but why am i not proud of me? i did it yes.. i made something of myself, but for all the wrong reasons

i wanted so very much to be part of white society and still be proud that i was mexican but i could not get the two to fit together..

i made a fool of myself, subjugated myself, just to get in the doors that had been closed to me and to my people..


it is time i give up being a mover and shaker, a warrior for power, and start down the path to becoming a warrior for peace.. we are all the same color inside..


this thinking would transform in a deep and abiding anger as my awareness of the many forms of discrimination i was facing dawned on me. and the terrific irony of it all was that down the road i would become a civil rights activist and a long haired, anti war hippy


i had just come from playing war games where i saw a lot of nasty shit, cried a river of tears over the bad stuff and laughed w my buddies because there was nothing else we could do about the situation. i got thru all of that, including an appalling and degrading bus ride, and here i was almost bawling on this lady’s front walk because i couldn’t find my mama..


it could be argued, however, that there is always violence or a war going on somewhere in the world. i guess it is good for business, profit, and the bottom line – not mine, but someone’s.


little did i know that the paradise i envisioned in longmont would urn out to be another horrible lesson in racial discrimination that would last years. and somewhere in those years, i would be left to raise my daughters alone… hello longmont nightmare


i believe we were the first people of color to move into the ‘white west’.. sunset street..

in reality, i wanted to be like them, not like me, whoever that was. yeah, yeah, for all the wrong reasons, i know that now. i thought acceptance was what i wanted and damn the expense.. i had huge self worth issues to deal with and this was my way of dealing.. getting to the west side as a temp fix for a deeper scar that had not really healed,


60s – longmont elks didn’t allow mexicans


what hurt them so bad that they feel that they have to hurt me in order to heal it?


that pressure was becoming unbearable as the racial inequalities made the rift between our local govt, the police and private businesses widen..

i have vivid memories.. of having to stand at the back of a line to get service at stores, or signs in windows that read, ‘o dogs, no mexicans’.. there was even a time when our city was pretty much run by the ku klux klan…

holy cow


as it turned out.. cordova and garcia had no weapons and the one who started it all was ironically the white mal e who shouted – f you pigs.. in less than a minute on a steamy august night, an undertrained, stressed out rookie white cop overreacted and two young latinos were dead..


it was on the same muggy friday night.. aug 14 1980 tha i became part of either the problem or solution… depending on your perspective.. either way, my life change again and my destiny to a hard right turn..

louie garcia and jeff cordova – age 21


time to rewrite the play


i would eventually be the first person of color to be elected councilman at large and after that mayor pro tem.. it plunked me solidly on the path of activism .. a path i walk to this day..  w all the notoriety and glory i was receiving at the time, there was also the planting of a small seed of self loathing that i would have to examine much later as to why i did some to the things i did.. the results were usually very good ones for our people and for that i was grateful, but only i knew that all of my motives were not all the honorable.. some were for my own advancement..  what a hell of an emotional price i was going to pay down the road.. .. i felt like there were two dan’s .. which of them was the real me?


this would become the most notable event of its kind in their history of our state.. just like that, we were planning to march on city hall..(mike) calls.. wants to work together.. cops on rooftops


march was huge success


guys in frederick wanted to join in.. but dan said no thanks

when all was said and done, we kept the peace and together change the course of our city…

my role as the lead in the city’s first major demo for minority rights..


caring for my dying mother made a human being of me, probably for the first time, and i was fully conscious of it.. it was a most uncomfortable process, and my siblings and friends saw me and were confused many times.. ii am sure they were wondering if i was losing it.. perhaps i was, losing a part of me that needed to go