Robert “Archie” Archuleta, CDEA’s much-loved board member, died on January 25, 2019, at the age of 88, in SLC. Archie was a celebrated Utah educator; Civil and Human Rights Activist; builder of SOCIO (Utah’s Spanish Speaking Organization for Community, Integrity, and Opportunity); mentor to a new generation of Chicano-Hispano community organizers; and a mischievous rabble rouser and truth seeker.
He was president of the board of the Utah Coalition of La Raza and served on the boards of Centro Civico Mexicano, Alliance for Unity, and many others. He received the Quixote Lifetime Achievement Award from the Utah Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and awards from the Mexican Consulate, Utah Education Association, and Salt Lake City NAACP.
One of five children, Archie was born on July 22, 1930, in Grand Junction, CO. As a freshman in high school, he suffered a severe football injury, developed gangrene, and compelled local doctors to remove the toes of his left foot and, later, part of his leg. Ironically, the injury spurred his parents to push him out of railroad work and “into something else.” That something else became a college education and a teaching license.
Archie was the first in his family (and his Pocatello, Idaho barrio) to graduate college. In 1953, he moved to Utah to teach public school. Over the ensuing decades, he married, became the father of five children, and one of the state’s most recognized civil and human rights activists. In the 1960s he worked with the NAACP to end local segregation and repeal the state’s anti-miscegenation law. In the 1970s and 80s, he helped develop the Spanish Speaking Organization for Community, Integrity, and Opportunity (SOCIO), Utah’s most effective Chicano-Hispano civil rights organization. He worked for jobs and educational opportunities for Chicanos; he fought against police abuse; he rallied for immigrants; and he mentored young activists, women as well as men; and he helped CDEA grow and take on new challenges. His bright spirit was on the forefront of social justice issues for more than half a century.