Orlando Sanchez on the passing of El Franco Lee
Today we held a Funeral Mass which was said by Archbishop Emeritus of Galveston-Houston Joseph Firorenza at Holy Rosary Catholic Church. Today was truly a non-partisan gathering. People of all races, ethnicities and creeds attended to bid farewell to a brother in Christ, Commissioner El Franco Lee.
In the political arena, the Commissioner and I had very little in common, but spiritually we shared the same faith. As I arrived I looked for a seat, I happened to find one next to our former Sheriff, Adrian Garcia. As I settled into the pew I felt a tap on my left shoulder; it was Mayor Lee P. Brown. He was so kind; we exchanged best wishes for the New Year.
As we were leaving the church I caught a glimpse of Rev. Bill Lawson, who recently lost his bride. It dawned upon me the gravity of the moment; Bishop Fiorenza, Rev. Lawson, Mayor Lee Brown and Commissioner El Franco Lee all played roles in the Civil Rights movement and thus are titans in the history of this great city.
Finally, I saw my former colleague the Rev. Jew Don Boney, Jr. Again, Jew Don and I have little in common politically, but as a man and fellow human being I admire the focus on his missions and I have tremendous respect for him. This is an example of the Jew Don I know: During the 1980s, Boney received national notoriety for his activism, which involved organizing the Coalition to Free Clarence Brandley, a multiracial and ecumenical alliance of Houstonians that successfully galvanized international support for Brandley’s release. Brandley was falsely accused of murder and sentenced to death row yet after serving a decade of his life in Huntsville, he was finally exonerated in 1990. “I believe having the opportunity to serve in a capacity that actually helped save a human being’s life is the most significant contribution anyone can make,” says Boney. Boney’s activism was depicted in the Showtime movie, “Whitewash: The Clarence Brandley Story,” which starred Eamonn Walker as Boney.”
May El Franco rest in peace.