Civil rights activist Adelfa Callejo laid to rest in Dallas

Adelfa Callejo

Credit: WFAA

Dallas attorney and civil rights leader Adelfa Callejo died on January 25, 2014 at the age of 90.

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by TINA FOSTER

WFAA

Posted on January 30, 2014 at 8:40 PM

DALLAS -- Hundreds gathered Thursday to remember Adelfa Callejo as tenacious, tough, and yet tender-hearted.

The civil rights activist and attorney was eulogized as a champion for immigration and voter reform, for women, minorities, and for education.

She spent her life fighting for the underdog; the voice for those who otherwise would not have been heard.

"Those who are hungry, those who are poor, those who are imprisoned, those who couldn't receive any education, those who were abandoned, those who were the immigrants, who were strangers in our communities," said Dallas Bishop Kevin Ferrell, "that was the purpose of her life."

Callejo was the first Hispanic woman to graduate from SMU Law School in 1961. The daughter of an immigrant, she knew education was the key to opening doors.

Even the youngest in the crowd, who attends a school named after Callejo, realized her impact.

"This picture was taken at the dedication ceremony. I will always cherish it, it will be an inspiration," she said. "I will look at this picture and remember Adelfa Callejo whenever I face a difficult time."

Callejo paved the way for other minority leaders in North Texas, her life a lesson to those she knew.

"Through her dedication to change the world, she taught all of us the following: 'If I do not speak up, not even God will hear me,'" said Callejo's nephew, John David Gonzales. "She said, 'It was my destiny to open doors, for so many who shall come behind me.' She told me 'All great achievements are completed by those who are completely exhausted,' 'Never lead from fear.'"

Callejo died Saturday at her home in Lakewood after battling colon and breast cancer and a brain tumor. She was 90 years old.

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