Herman Gallegos

An interview with Herman Gallegos, MSW, as he discusses his work as a pioneer civil rights activist, as well as the importance of community organizing and philanthropy in social work.

California Social Work Hall of Distinction Biography

Interviewed by Manuel Fimbres. Date of interview: 12-15-11. Length of interview: 59 minutes. DVD containing interview.

Interview Topics

(00:35)- Introduction by Manuel Fimbres . (01:47)- Early childhood experiences that led to his career in social work; Ludlow mining strike . (03:50)- The Depression and government's involvement in social welfare . (04:45)- Losing leg at age 9 -- Referral to The Cripple Children's Society (now Easter Seals) . (07:15)- Lack of Latino mentors/teachers in public school system . (07:45)- The Loyalty Oath -- Influence of Dr. John Beecher . (11:18)- Working on Skid Row in Santa Clara County . (12:00)- Negative reputation of welfare and social work . (13:30)- Working in juvenile probation with Mexican-American children . (15:05)- Working with Saul Alinsky and Fred Ross in organizing Community Service Organization (CSO) . (17:10)- MSW from UC Berkeley -- concentrating on community organizing . (19:40)- First job organizing community services in the High Desert . (20:30)-Recruited to be one of the first Latinos on a foundation board. (20:45)-Fighting racism in San Bernardino County . (22:00)-Combating discouragement within the social work profession . (24:18)-Management of the AIDS Epidemic . (25:26)-Farm workers' struggle -- Dr. Ernesto Galarza Research . (29:10)-The power of organizing . (29:40)-Voter registration for the Latino community and working with Cesar Chavez . (30:50)-Launched statewide voter registration campaign . (31:25)-Support in the field of social work. (33:40)-Pledge to non-violence in Chicano movement . (34:40)-Creation of National Council de la Raza(NCLR). (35:04)- Lack of Latinos on foundation boards -- working toward inclusion . (36:00)-Importance of philanthropy in social work . (38:10)-The seduction of power and charismatic leadership regarding sustainability . (41:10)-The power of collaboration in social work . (43:43)-Religion and humility . (44:15)-Advice to future social workers -- his career from the barrios to the boardroom . (50:05)-Social work's role in the Occupy Wall Street Movement . (54:30)-The future of social work in creating change . (55:15)-The use of new technology in social work . (57:00)-The obligation to give back