Today family members of a deceased Chicana community activist cut a ribbon dedicating the 1.2 mile Lorraine Lee Hidden Canyon Trail in Pima County adjacent to the JW Marriot Starr Pass Resort and Spa . The resort is at 3800 W. Starr Pass Blvd., the western extension of 22nd Street.
Lorraine Lee was Vice president of Chicanos Por La Causa, which is a “community development corporation committed to building stronger, healthier communities by being a leading advocate, coalition builder, and direct service provider. CPLC promotes positive change and self-sufficiency to enhance the quality of life for the benefit of those (they) serve.” In that capacity she worked tirelessly to bring social justice to the Chicano community in Tucson and Southern Arizona. Lorraine died from throat cancer at age 51, a little over 2 years ago.
400 people were in attendance today for the Dedication Ceremony including speaker Chairman Richard Elias of the Pima County Board of Supervisors, which unanimously approved the naming of the trail in April. Also speaking this morning were Pete Garcia, La Victoria Foundation; Danny Ortega, National Council of La Raza; and Lorraine’s 17 year old eldest daughter Rita Morado. Rita said that she remembered how much her mother loved picnics in the desert and taught her children to cherish and take care of it, by only “leaving footprints” behind.
Particularly moving were words from Father Ricardo Elford who stated that “we walk the trail of our lives with the heart and spirit of Lorraine.” How true.
An indigenous group Calpulli Teoxicalli performed a “duality of life” ceremonial dance, followed by scattering of flowers at the trailhead, representing Lorraine’s finding beauty in all of Nature.
Others in attendance were Ruben Reyes, aide to Congressman Raul Grijalva (CD 7), Ward 5 Councilmember-elect Richard Fimbres and his wife Mary (former aide to Councilmember Steve Leal), Public Defender Isabel Garcia, Jaime Gutierrez (University of Arizona), artist David Tineo, Scott Egan, aide to Supervisor Ray Carroll, Keith Bagwell, aide to Supervisor Elias, and former Ward 3 Councilmember Jerry Anderson. And of course lots of relatives and friends of Lorraine and her husband Alonso Morado were in attendance.
I knew Lorraine (who was part Chinese American) when she and I co-founded the Asian Pacific American Women of Tucson, now defunct. We were a social and political group of women in the 1990′s.
Like everyone who spoke today, I remember Lorraine as a passionate, fearless leader, who fought for social change, civil rights, women’s rights, and the environment as well.
Today was a fitting tribute to a courageous local activist, who loved the desert she grew up in, and who died much too young.
For more information about hiking this particular trail and other Pima County trails and parks, log onto www.pima.gov.nrpr.