The Benson Latin American Collection

Celestino M. Pérez Papers, 1967-2015

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Pérez, Celestino M., Jr. (Celestino Muñoz), 1947-
Title: Celestino M. Pérez Papers
Dates: 1967-2015
Abstract: The personal papers of Mexican-American civil rights advocate and political activist Celestino Muñoz Perez, Jr. Collection materials document different aspects of Perez's life, from his enlistment in the Marine Corps to his work as an ExxonMobil research scientist. The latter portion of the collection contains documents pertaining to his community involvement with the Pasadena Citizens for Equitable Representation (PCER), as well as his work with the local Catholic Church. Materials include: biographical information; newspaper clippings; legal documents such as briefs, depositions, and attorney correspondence; campaign materials; Pasadena City Council documents; correspondence on behalf of the Pasadena Citizens for Equitable Representation (PCER) organization; and church related materials such as training manuals, correspondence, and educational pamphlets.
Accession No.: 2016-01
OCLC Record No.: 972850898
Extent: 9 linear feet
Language: English and Spanish
Repository: Benson Latin American Collection, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Sketch

Celestino Muñoz Pérez, Jr., activist, veteran, civil rights advocate, and active member of the Catholic Church, was born on February 8, 1947, in Alice, Texas to Celestino Pérez Pérez, Sr. and Esmeregilda Gamez Muñoz. Pérez married Rosalinda Benavidez Cárdenas in 1970. They have three sons: twins Celestino "Tino" and Caesar Cárdenas Pérez (b. 1972), and Eduardo "Eddie" Cárdenas Pérez (b. 1977). The couple also has three grandchildren.

Pérez attended San Diego High School in San Diego, Texas and graduated in 1966. While in high school he was an officer in Future Farmers of America (FFA). After high school Pérez attended Schreiner College, now Schreiner University, in Kerrville, Texas. In 1967, he joined the U.S. Marine Corps, graduating from Aviation Electrician (A) School at the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, Florida in 1968 and then becoming an Aviation Electrician. In 1972, Pérez moved to Pasadena, Texas. There, he attended San Jacinto College, earning an Associate of Arts in American History and a Certificate of Technology in Auto Mechanics in 1977. In 1978, he transferred to the University of Houston College of Technology and was awarded a Bachelors of Science in Business Technology in 1982.

Shortly after moving to Pasadena, Pérez began witnessing firsthand incidences of discrimination against Mexican Americans, particularly in politics and education. Due to these experiences, he founded Pasadena Citizens for Equitable Representation (PCER) in 1989. The advocacy group began as a way to lobby for increased Latino/a representation in local Pasadena politics, and has lobbied for increased representation on both the Pasadena City Council and the Pasadena Independent School District (PISD) Board.

In the 1970s, Pérez became active in the local Roman Catholic Church. He formally applied for deaconship in 1999, the same year he was elected president of the Parish Delegates Association's Hispanic Ministry. Pérez is a member of St. Pius V Catholic Church in Pasadena, where he has been involved with a range of church activities including the Eucharistic Ministry and the Diocese of Galveston-Houston.

Professionally, Pérez has worked as a Senior Research Technician for ExxonMobil Chemical Company since 1984. He has had several patents for the company registered with the United States Patent Office. Beginning in 1990, Pérez participated in and later conducted a workshop at ExxonMobile titled "Managing Diversity: Valuing Differences for Organizational Effectiveness," organized by Elsie Y. Cross Associates, Inc. He also conducted trainings in cultural diversity organized by Kochman Communication Consultants, Ltd. until 1993. Pérez has been recognized by ExxonMobil numerous times throughout his career for his contributions, including the Polymers President's Award, which was awarded in 1991 for Pérez's community service efforts. As of 2015, Pérez was still employed by ExxonMobil.

Scope and Contents Note

The Celestino M. Pérez collection primarily documents Pérez as a civic leader and community activist, with a bulk of its contents relating to his work as founder of Pasadena Citizens for Equitable Representation (PCER). The collection is composed of biographical material, correspondence, legal documents, clippings, church-, campaign-, and PCER-related materials documenting Pérez's life, career, and political/community organizing activities. The papers are arranged into six series: Personal and Biographical, Exxon Mobil Professional Career, Political and Community Activities, Religious Activities, Subject Files, and Clippings and Printed Materials.

The Personal and Biographical series contains documents relating to Pérez's educational and military background dating from 1968 to 2003. It includes his military personnel file with accompanying awards and honors, two academic papers written while attending San Jacinto College, and any personal correspondence not directly affiliated with PCER and/or his community organizing activities. This series also contains several iterations of resumes compiled by Pérez himself, highlighting his professional accomplishments.

The ExxonMobil Professional Career series contains information about Pérez's role as a Senior Research Analyst at ExxonMobil during the years of 1975 to 2001. Materials include work-related awards and recognition, employment records, and hiring materials. This is the only series in which Pérez's duties as an ExxonMobil researcher and employee are explicit, despite the fact that, throughout the collection, much of his correspondence is typed on ExxonMobil letterhead. This habit reveals the often-overlapping professional and activist interests held by Pérez, for whom there is little distinction between promoting workplace diversity and advocating for increased Latino/a voter representation. An example of one such overlap within the Professional Career series are the documents pertaining to Pérez's ExxonMobil initiatives for Workplace Diversity and Management Leadership course.

The Political and Community Activities series is the largest of the collection and highlights Pérez's role as a civic leader, community organizer, and activist. It is divided into four subseries: Pasadena Community Organizations, Pasadena Citizens for Equal Representation (PCER), City of Pasadena and Harris County Governance, and Legal Documents.

The Pasadena Community Organizations subseries contains documents related to Pérez's involvement with various community organizations such as the Exchange Supported Child Abuse Prevention Effort (ESCAPE) Family Resource Center and Trinity Life Center. The materials in this subseries range from 1991 to 1999; several documents are undated.

The Pasadena Citizens for Equitable Representation (PCER) subseries is one of the largest within the Political and Community Activities series and contains documentation of numerous PCER activities, an organization Pérez founded in 1989 to advocate for increased Latino/a voting equity and representation within local Pasadena governance. The folders are organized chronologically according to each PCER function so that researchers have a clearer sense of how Pérez's advocacy and activism initiatives progressed in real time. Some such initiatives include: numerous voter redistricting efforts; efforts to increase Latino/a representation on the Pasadena Independent School District (PISD) and San Jacinto College Boards; and activism related to the sudden death of an incarcerated Latino man, Moises Delao. Material includes but is not limited to: correspondence, campaign paraphernalia, facsimiles with attachments, meeting minutes and internal documentation, press conference transcripts, and district maps. The most active years documented are between 1992-1995 though the full range of contents spans 1986 to 2012.

The City of Pasadena and Harris County Governance subseries contains material related to various functions of local government from 1987-2007. All of these documents relate, in one way or another, to the myriad roles Pérez played within city governance as both critic and member of the City Council. Material includes City Council meeting minutes, agendas and notes related to a 2006 City Charter Review project, and related documentation. The subseries also documents elections in which Pérez ran for office, including the Pasadena City Council, the PISD Board of Trustees, and the San Jacinto Board of Regents, organizations whose discrimination Pérez fought through his work with the PCER.

The Legal Documents subseries contains copies of official court documents and documentation related to various lawsuits filed by Pérez, most notably the H-91-3578 lawsuit against PISD alleging that their at-large election system for choosing school trustees was in violation of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Materials related to this lawsuits, districting maps, attorney correspondence, depositions and case files, span almost 20 years of time from 1986-2013 and show how the lawsuit worked its way through the Pasadena District Court all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court. Correspondence with attorneys Fraumencio Reyes, Jose Garza, and Rick Molina are organized chronologically within the H-91-3578 general files.

The Religious Activities series reveals Pérez's active role in the Catholic Church between the years 1975-2001. The series contains material related to numerous leadership positions at the local, regional, and national levels, such as membership on advisory boards, marriage and quinceañera committees, parish delegate associations and more. A significant portion of this series relates to the Catholic Diocese of Galveston-Houston as well as the Gabriel Richards Institute (GRI), a Catholic leadership organization through which Pérez completed leadership training. Materials include training books/manuals for leadership positions and course documents.

The Subject Files series represents the contents of one of Pérez's filing cabinets spanning 1981-2014, and as such provides explicit insight into his own organizational habits and decision-making processes. The contents of each file folder vary, but range in topic from folders titled Bob Bullock to NASA to MALDEF, the acronym for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. Effort has been made to maintain the original order these folders were found in. As a result, some of the folders contain material that is either duplicative or related to other series within the collection. Researchers should consult the container list to determine where desired materials are located, as they may exist in multiple places.

The final Clippings and Printed Materials series shows Pérez's routine habit of collecting newspaper clippings related to his work as a community activist. The series is divided into two subseries: Collected News Clippings, 1987-2008, and Entire Newspapers, 1989-2008. The bulk of the clippings in the Collected News Clippings subseries come from The Pasadena Citizen and The Houston Chronicle newspapers, and are organized chronologically by source. These articles show how various PCER efforts were portrayed in the media and also provide background information about how the PISD and San Jacinto College-related lawsuits progressed in real time. Pérez also collected newspaper clippings related to city council policies, redistricting efforts, voting issues, civil rights, and Latino/a discrimination. Several duplicates of these clippings appear in the Political and Community Activities Series. The Entire Newspapers, 1989-2008 subseries is comprised of whole, intact copies of several local Texas newspapers. The subseries provides a general overview of social conditions in Pasadena during this time.


Access Restrictions

The Celestino M. Pérez Papers contain sensitive personal material, including social security numbers, that are restricted from researchers. Box 6, folder 5 and Box 8, folder 4 are restricted.

Use Restrictions

Standard copyright restrictions apply.

Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Pérez, Celestino M., Jr. (Celestino Muñoz), 1947- --Archivez.
Garza, Jose.
Molina, Rick.
Reyes, Fraumencio.
Subjects (Organizations)
Catholic Church. Diocese of Galveston-Houston (Tex.)
ExxonMobil Chemical (Firm)
Gabriel Richards Institute.
Pasadena Citizens for Equitable Representation (Tex.)
Pasadena Independent School District (Tex.)
San Jacinto College.
Trinity Life Center, Inc.
Discrimination in education--Texas.
Discrimination in employment--Texas.
Representative government and representation--Texas.
Pasadena (Tex.)

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Cite as: Celestino M. Pérez Papers, Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection, The University of Texas at Austin.

Acquisition Information


Processing Information

Collection processed by Lauren Henley, Itza Carbajal, Emma Whittington, and Ron Davis, Spring 2016.


Further materials are expected for this collection.

Box and Folder Inventory

Personal and Biographical, 1968-2003, undated

Box Folder
1 1 Resumes, undated
2 United States Marine Corps File and Service List, 1968 January 1, undated
3 San Jacinto College, English 232.031, 1980
4 General file, Dr. Hugo Ramirez, 1987-1996
5 C. M. Perez Writer File, 1990 April 9-2003 February 26
6 Letter to Sra. Morales, 1993 November 21
7 Notes, Rosalinda Cardenas Perez, 1993 June 26-1994 December 31
8 Lawsuit against Denny's alleging food poisoning, 1995
9 Business Card Request, Craig Sherwood, 1997 February 7-1997 June 18
10 General file, 1991-1997
11 Leisure and Entertainment, 1996-2000
12 Eddie C. Perez, 2000, undated
Box Folder
15 1 Remembrance of SPC Jose Amancio Pérez III, 2003, undated
Oversized materials

ExxonMobil Professional Career, 1984-1995, undated

Box Folder
1 13 General file, 1984-1995, undated
14 Professional correspondence, 1990-1995
15 Polymers President's Award, 1991
16 Air Quality Monitoring Stations in the Houston Area, 1995 October 1

Political and Community Activities, 1986-2015

2 Pasadena Community Organizations, 1991-1999, undated
1 "Connection Connection" Child Abuse Prevention Network (CAPN) publication, 1991 March
2 Exchange Supported Child Abuse Prevention Effort (ESCAPE) Family Resource Center, 1997
3 Trinity Life Center, 1997-1999
4 Sand Dollar, Inc. proposed program, undated
5 "Arriesgando"/"Risking" poem, undated
6 "Cross-Cultural Relationships"/"Relaciones de la cruzada cultural" chart, undated
Pasadena Citizens for Equitable Representation (PCER), 1986-2012
7 PISD-related booklet describing discrimination, 1990-1994
8 PISD language tests, 1991
9 PISD-related general file, 1990-1992
10 PISD-related general file, 1991
11 PISD-related general file, 1991-1992
12 PISD-related general file, 1992
13 PISD-related correspondence with Superintendent Larry Vaughn, 1992 February 3
Box Folder
3 1 PCER Educational Packet re: Civil Action No. H-92-3578 binder, 1992 April 30-1994 October 27
2 PISD-related general file, 1993
3 PISD Contributions/Expenditures forms from the Texas Commission of Ethics, 1993-1994
4 PISD-related letters/activities, 1994 February-1994 March
5 PISD-related letters/activities, 1994 April-1994 May
6 PISD-related letters/activities, 1994 June-1994 October
7 PISD-related "Petition for the Reinstatement of Graciela Kavula as PISD Principal," 1994 April
Box Folder
4 1 PISD Bond Election, 1995
2 PISD-related general file, 1995
3 PISD-related Casa Olé Restaurant and Cantina meetings, 1995
4 Coordinadora de Auto-Defensa y Participacion Ciudadana fax, 1995 February
5 PISD-related News Conference, 1999 June 30
6 PISD-related News Conference, 1999 October 13
Includes six photographs.
7 Texas Public Information Act Request, PISD Election Results 1960-2010 envelope, 2010
8 Texas Public Information Act Request, PISD Election Results 2001-2010 envelope, 2010
Box Folder
5 1 PISD general file, 2011-2012
2 PISD campaign signs, undated
Moises DeLao
3 Packet on the death of Moises deLao, 1994 November 26-1994 November 29
4 Letter/Petition to Pasadena Police Department Chief Tommy Shane re: the death of Moises deLao, 1994 November 28
5 Pasadena Citizen article copies, 1994 November 29
6 Pasadena Citizen article copies, 1994 November 30
7 "Memorial Fund for the Children of Moises deLao" flyers, 1994 November
8 San Jacinto College-related PCER general file, 1992-1995
9 San Jacinto College-related PCER letter, 1994 November 22
10 San Jacinto College District file, 1995, undated
Box Folder
15 2 PISD campaign materials: signs, charts and graphs, 1986-1993, undated
Oversized materials
6 City of Pasadena and Harris County Governance, 1986-2007
1 City of Pasadena Submission for Change of Election Precincts, 1992 December 15
2 City of Pasadena Regional/Urban Design Assistance Team, (R/UDAT) planning booklets, 1993 October 11
3 Police brutality, 1991-1994
4 Letter to Perez from Lt. Governor Bob Bullock, 1991 January 18
5* Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Public Records Requests, 1994
*Access Restriction: Records that contain personally identifiable information are closed to protect individual privacy.
6 "Recommendation of members to Hispanic Advisory Committee" letter to Pasadena Mayor John Manlove, 2002 July 1
7 City Charter Review, 2006 September
8 City Charter Review, 2006 October
9 City Charter Review, 2006 November
10 City Charter Review, 2007 January
Box Folder
7 1 Charter Review Committee binder 1 of 2, 2006
2 Charter Review Committee binder 2 of 2, part 1 of 2, 2006
3 Charter Review Committee binder 2 of 2, part 2 of 2, 2006
4 City of Pasadena Home Rule Charter general files, 1991-2013
5 Chamber of Commerce general files, 1989-1994, undated
6 City Council general files, 1990-1994, undated
7 Elections, Candidate for Public Office, 1993-1995
City Council District G election, 1993; PISD Board of Trustees election, 1994; San Jacinto College Board of Regents election, 1995.
Box Folder
8 1 Elections, 2003 Election, 2003
2 Elections, Candidate for Public Office: City Council District B election, 2015
3 Notice of selection for Grand Jury Panel, letter from Harris County Sheriff Johnny Klevenhagen, 1992 April 8
4* Harris County Voter Registration Volunteer Deputy Registrars guidelines, 1995-1996
*Access Restriction: Records that contain personally identifiable information are closed to protect individual privacy.
5 Harris County Precinct Judge paperwork, 2013
6 General file, districting maps, 2001, undated
7 General file, miscellaneous election and campaign flyers, undated
8 General file, Texas Democratic Party Primary, 2012
Legal Documents, 1986-2013
9 Correspondence with PISD attorneys Bracewell and Patterson, 1986 October 8
10 H-91-3578, Jose Cantu, Jr., 1991
11 H-92-3578 general file, 1986-2011
12 H-92-3578 general file, 1992-1997
13 H-92-3578 Deposition of Celestino M. Trevino, Jr. including Exhibits 1-8, 1994 December 7
Box Folder
9 1 H-92-3578 Deposition of Celestino M. Trevino, Jr., 1994 December 7
2 H-92-3578 Deposition Exhibits 1-8, 1994 December 7
3 H-92-3578 Texas Ethics Commission, Candidate/Officeholder Sworn Report of Contributions and Expenditures, 1994 December 1-1994 July 25
4 H-92-3578 Request for Admission of Fact and Request for Production, 1994
5 H-92-3578 Amicus Curae, 1995 December
6 Molina Law Firm notes and correspondence, 2011
7 Molina Law Firm general file, 2011-2012
8 Judge Keith Ellison, US District Court binder, 2011
9 4:12-CV-02579 binder, part 1 of 2, 2012
10 4:12-CV-02579 binder, part 2 of 2, 2012
Box Folder
10 1 Expert Report, PISD Vote Dilution Analysis binder, 2013

Religious Activities, 1975-2000

Box Folder
10 2 General file, 1975, 1995, 1997
3 Marriage-related workbooks, 1999, undated
4 Invitations to Centripet Academy Library Dedication, formerly Guardian Angel Catholic Church, 1999
5 Gabriel Richards Institute binder 1, part 1 of 3, 1997
6 Gabriel Richards Institute binder 1, part 2 of 3, 1997
7 Gabriel Richards Institute binder 1, part 3 of 3, 1997
Includes photographs.
Box Folder
11 1 Gabriel Richards Institute binder 2, part 1 of 2, 1996
2 Gabriel Richards Institute binder 2, part 2 of 2, undated
3 Gabriel Richards Institute, 1997-2001
4 Gabriel Richards Institute general file, part 1 of 2, 1999-2000
5 Gabriel Richards Institute general file, part 2 of 2, 1998-1999
6 Dioceses of Galveston-Houston general file, 1990-1995
7 Dioceses of Galveston-Houston general file, 1992-1997
8 Dioceses of Galveston-Houston general file, 1992-1998
9 Dioceses of Galveston-Houston general file, 1994-1995
10 Dioceses of Galveston-Houston general file, 1996-1999
11 Dioceses of Galveston-Houston general file, 1999-2000, undated

Subject Files, 1981-2014

Box Folder
12 1 Announcements, 1992
2 Bob Bullock, 1991
3 Celestino M. Perez, Jr., 1981-2014
4 Child Abuse Prevention Network Houston Area Council, 1991-1993
5 Correspondence, 1989-1991
6 District G, 1993
7 Exchange Supported Child Abuse Prevention Effort (ESCAPE) Center, 1991-2000
8 Goose Creek Consolidated Independent School District (GISD), 1991-1993
9 Harris County Volunteer Advisory Council Office of the Attorney General, 1993
10 Hearing: PISD vs. Eddie, 1990
11 H.E. McBrayer Letter, 1990
12 Houston Police Department, 1991
Box Folder
13 1 Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), 1992
2 NASA, undated
3 Parish Delegates Association Hispanic Ministries Diocese of Galveston-Houston, 1989-1994
4 Partners in Education San Jacinto Elem. and BPC, 1992
5 Pasadena Citizen's Advisory Council, 1991-1993
6 Pasadena High School Homeroom 9-13, undated
7 Polymers President's Award, 1989-1991
8 Regional and Urban Design Assistance Team (R/UDAT), 1992-1993
9 Sand Dollar, 1991-1993
10 San Jacinto Elementary, undated
11 Santa Anna Capture Site, undated
12 Southwest Voter Registration Education Project, 1992-1993
13 The Spanish Speaking Professional's Network, 1991
14 Strategic Planning Committee PISD, 1989
15 Subject file, 1981-1993, 2006
16 Subject file, 1991-1993
17 Texas Agricultural Extension Service, 1991-1992
18 Texas Metropolitan Organization (TMO), 1991-1993
19 Texas United School Employees Union, undated
20 Trinity Life Center, 1998

Collected Newspaper Articles, 1987-2008

14 Collected News Clippings, 1987-2008
1 Houston Chronicle articles, 1990-1994, 1999, 2013
2 Pasadena Citizen articles, 1987 January 2-1993 February 21
3 Pasadena Citizen articles, 1994
4 Pasadena Citizen articles, 1995
5 Pasadena Citizen "Judge Tosses School Board Elections Suit" article, 1997 March 14
6 The Houston Post "Multiethnicity at San Jacinto" article, 1994 April 21
7 Miscellaneous news clippings, 1999 October 05-1999 October 24
8 Miscellaneous news clippings, 1990-2008
15 Entire Newspapers, 1989-2008
3 Pasadena Citizen, 1991-1994, 1999
Oversized materials
4 Miscellaneous newspapers, 1989-2003
Oversized materials
5 Miscellaneous newspapers, 2004-2008
Oversized materials