Jose Cortez and Rick Dominguez, members of the Arizona Cruisers Association, discuss how car enthusiasts are using their hobby to promote positive changes in the community.
Jose Cardenas: The Arizona cruisers association is a group of car lovers in Arizona that have using their hobby as a tool for bringing people together. With me to talk about this group is Jose Cortez, member of the Arizona cruisers association and Rick Dominguez, a member of the association. Gentlemen, welcome to "Horizonte." Actually you're not just members, you're two of the three founders of the organization.
Jose Cortez: That's correct. I am one of the founders and so is Rick.
Jose Cardenas: And we've got a picture of the founders standing in front of one of the magnificent cars. Jose, tell me what led you to, and there's the picture, what led you to found the organization. What were you trying to do?
Jose Cortez: Well, I'm not really new to this, Jose, back in the late '70s I was part of an organization called the Arizona Low-rider Association, which basically started doing the same thing, trying to organize a car club into doing positive things. It lasted a while, didn't last I think maybe a few years. And then it kind of fizzled out. With that background and then with am the community organizing that I have done over the years, with Caesar Chavez, I had a good background of community organizing. So when I left Chicanos Por la Causa, I needed to be involved, I had the hunger to be involved in the community doing positive things, and that's when I ran into Rick and Geno, who were the other founding members. They talked about how they wanted to do positive things in the community, and I talk about how I wanted to do the same thing, and how they had the perfect tool, and I knew --
Jose Cardenas: Around what's basically an art form. We've got some pictures of some of these cars that we're going to show on the screen as we're talking. Rick, I know from the mission statement that one of the concerns is the negative image, the negative stereotypes of low riders. What kinds of problems do you think that's caused?
Rick Dominguez: Well, it's caused a lot of problems in the past. That's why we want to do what we want to do now with the Arizona cruisers association. To try to give everybody a better look at, we're not just a bad group of people, getting together to do bad things. We're trying to help the kids, the community, do car shows, events, that are positive.
Jose Cardenas: Speaking of community, I know we have one picture of a blessing, which is important to the community, and is part of the culture. And what's involved there? We've got another picture of some of these magnificent cars. We've good picture of -- I'll let you describe it, of a blessing ceremony.
Rick Dominguez The ceremony was actually put together -- Jose was the one that put that together. So maybe he would be able to elaborate.
Jose Cortez: Not a problem. Having spoken and conferred with members that we wanted to create a positive image and we've got that -- for our youth, I said, you know, we also need to bring a certain amount of spirituality. If we as the founding members and we as the mature adults don't project this kind of image for our youth, then we're going to continue projecting that negative image, so we need to start creating a strong spiritual foundation. In the past I know that there has only been one other blessing here in Arizona for the car clubs, so I figured this was time to bring that back into the car clubs, incorporate it into the events, so the day that we had the blessing, it start out the event with a blessing, but it was also used to collect toys for tots.
Jose Cardenas: And one of the other things you all have done, we've got a picture in connection with the food drive, another effort to improve the image of the organization. We've got a little bit about 30 seconds left. Tell us about that and the importance of it.
Rick Dominguez: It's very important. We were just trying to get different food banks to come out so we could give food and get the car clubs together to see what we can give back to the community. And it's basically that, it's just the Arizona Cruisers Association coming -- collaborating with other car clubs, coming together to give back to communities.
Jose Cardenas: That's great. We're glad you both joined us on "Horizonte" to share that with us and hope to see you again sometime soon.
Jose Cortez:Arizona Cruisers Association;Rick Dominguez:Arizona Cruisers Association;