Jesús Salas
Civil Rights Activist

Jesús Salas is a third generation migrant worker who spent 10 years migrating from South Central Texas to the Great Lakes Region. After relocating in Wisconsin in 1959, Jesús worked in the state’s first education programs for migrants. He later founded a farmworkers union, Obreros Unidos and joined Cesar Chávez in support of the California farmworkers grape boycott. In 1969, Jesús became the first Latino CEO of United Migrant Opportunity Services. He helped establish UW-Milwaukee Spanish Speaking Outreach Institute(SSOI), now the Roberto Hernández Center, and later the Chicano/Latino Studies at UW-Madison.

After spending five years in Texas, La Raza Unida Political Party politics, Jesús returned to Wisconsin and spent over two decades teaching in Wisconsin post-secondary institutions, principally at Milwaukee Area Technical College. Later, he was invited to lecture at UW-Madison’s Chicano/Latina(o) Studies Program in the 1990’s. While lecturing at UW-Milwaukee in Latino Studies, Jesús was named to the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents in 2003.

Jesus, we are truly honored to have you as part of our WHSF/Mexican Fiesta family. Your leadership has become a role model for our community and mostly new generations.