A high school dropout and former migrant farm worker, Alfredo Rodriguez Santos c/s was an active participant in the Chicano Movement and a member of the Mexican American Youth Organization (MAYO) in Uvalde, Texas. In 1970, he made the switch from the agricultural fields to the academic fields when he decided going to Vietnam was not an option. He entered San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton, California and after extensive retooling and many hours spent with tutors, he managed to sneak into the University of California at Berkeley. While a student, he was was involved with the United Farm Workers Union Support Committee, Teatro Chicano (Hijos del Sol) and the Frente Foundation. In 1974, Santos graduated from UC Berkeley with a bachelors degree in economics.
After a two year stint as a labor organizer for Cesar Chavez's United Farm Workers Union of America in Watsonville, California, Santos went on to do graduate work at the University of California at Los Angeles, the University of Notre Dame, Texas Southern University and the University of Delaware. In 2002, he earned a masters degree from Sul Ross State University-Rio Grande College.He is currently a graduate student at The University of Texas at Austin.
Santos' varied work experiences as a labor organizer, locksmith, janitor, school teacher, waiter, program administrator, taxi cab driver, public policy advocate, journalist, newspaper publisher and community activist have helped him to develop a healthy and unique perspective on what is possible when you combine drive, determination and ganas.
Now, as the Chief Operating Officer of the Mexican American Center for Community and Economic Development, Santos looks forward to continuing the work of helping people to help themselves. To paraphrase Cesar Chavez, Santos says, "When you really break it down, it's true . . . .all we have to give is our lives. When it is all said and done, all that will be left is the memory of what kind of person we were and maybe, just maybe, what small thing we did to make life better for someone else."