We invite you to share your memories at this special tribute page created to honor Father Armand Mathew.
Click here to view photos from the Remembering Father Mathew Celebration.
of Father Mathew Remembered at Kids Voting Event
Teacher Jesus Jaime of Incarnate Word Academy winds up to hit the Stop Voter Apathy pinata as his 3rd grade class cheers him on during a Remembering Father Mathew event at the Main Courtyard.
Members of the campus community gathered today in the Main
courtyard at The University of
Texas at Brownsville
, to honor Mathew’s legacy and to create
awareness and raise funds for Kids Voting USA Brownsville in his memory.
priest and community activist whose work took him where he was needed,
including Washington, D.C. for a decade, and the founding director of the
Center for Civic Engagement, Mathew passed away at the age of 90 in June.
Mathew gave us all so much, so of course everyone wanted to give him something
on his birthday every year,” said Dr. Selma Yznaga, Director of Advising, who
served as master of ceremonies for the event. “But we soon learned that
material things were not of much interest to our dear friend; after he
established the Kids Voting Endowment, we knew exactly what would be the best
gift for Fr. Mathew – donations to the endowment to help keep it growing and
believed deeply in the mission of Kids Voting in
Brownsville, and he worked tirelessly to establish the program, that
encourages involved citizenship, in all Brownsville schools. Knowing the
initiative must be self-sustaining to ensure its survival, he created The Kids
Voting USA Brownsville Endowment with UTB in 2005.
Seifert, a community activist who works with the Marguerite Casey Foundation and Proyecto Vida Digna in
Matamoros, Mexico, and a long-time
friend of Mathew’s, addressed the group eloquently during today’s celebration
of Mathew’s tireless efforts to make the world a better place. Seifert spoke of
the changes coming to the Rio Grande Valley and the fact that within a very few
years, UTB will be the second largest Hispanic serving university in the United
can sit back and watch things pass us by, or as Armand would say, we can get
involved and work for change,” Seifert said. “And he understood that change is
going to start at the grass roots and with our children. Teaching them from the
very beginning about voting and being a part of voting was his life.”
said Mathew’s real passion was the struggle for justice.
2 dancers perform during a Remembering Father Mathew event on Monday, Oct. 21, 2013 at the Main courtyard.
had little patience for the folly of politics and the foolishness of people who
couldn’t be bothered with reading the signs of the times,” Seifert said. “His
only expressed fear was that Kids Voting would come to a stop after he was
gone. I think we owe it to him that we make sure that the seed that he planted,
and planted, and planted takes root and grows.”
As in past years, the UTB Center for Civic
organized Father Mathew’s birthday party with
entertainment and a hotdog lunch. Jesus Enrique Jaime’s third-grade students
from Incarnate Word Academy sang “The Sunflower Song,” Juan Antonio and Alberto
Chapa sang Mexican ballads, and Dr. Zelma Mata, Associate Professor of Health
and Human Performance, and Santa Estrella of the Grupo Folklórico Tizatlán
danced “La Indita,” dressed in their white lace costumes.
Dr. Olivia Rivas, Professor of Educational Psychology and
Leadership, she said she hoped this birthday would begin a new era of the
birthday gift tradition by helping spread the word of Father Mathew’s work to
new students and faculty who never had the good fortune of meeting him.
“Father Mathew taught us if we want peace and we pray for
peace, we must be informed and involved in our community, and everyone must
learn about the issues and vote,” Rivas said.
more information on Kids Voting, contact the Center for Civic Engagement at
956-882-4300 or firstname.lastname@example.org.