SAN ANTONIO — The crowd at the San Antonio City Council chambers erupted when Maria del Rosario "Rosie" Castro was named District 7 councilwoman.

This came 52 years after she initially ran — it’s history correcting a wrong. Castro, 75, took a stroll by Woodlawn Lake Park, a San Antonio gem that resides in her district. She sat on the bench facing the iconic lighthouse and flipped through old photos from the early '70s as the ducks quacked passed her. 

“This was right over by Elmendorf Park,” Castro said while pointing to the photo. “I ran for council when I was 23. All of us were very young then.” 

This was during a time when the city used at-large voting methods, which resulted in Anglos often getting elected. But even after Castro lost, she still fought to give minorities a chance to win elections. 

“They used those statistics to make an argument for single-member districts because all of us came in second. We couldn’t win because it was at-large,” Castro said. “But they were able to show [that] had we had single-member districts, we would’ve won.” 

The format changed, and in 1981, Maria Berriozabal became San Antonio’s first Latina councilperson. Castro watched Berriozabal speak to the city council on her behalf. 

“I have thanked Rosie for opening the door for me. She opened the door for people who cannot win,” Berriozabal said. 

That’s why we are able to see a dais full of Latinas — Teri Castillo, Melissa Cabello Havrda, Phyllis Viagran and Adriana Rocha Garcia. 

“I think we are just waiting for the day that we will have a Latina mayor, too,” Castro said. 

It’s not far-fetched. Her son, Julian Castro, is only one of three Latino mayors in San Antonio history. 

“One of the times I felt the most pride was when Julian (Castro) became the district councilman for District 7, and when Joaquin (Castro) became the state rep for that area,” Castro said. 

Castro and her sons all still reside in District 7, where a portion of it is on San Antonio’s West Side, a barrio that she knows all too well. She explained to council in her interview. 

“I’ve lived in District 7 for 36-37 years, and actually longer. And you know how redistricting changed boundaries,” Castro said. 

The city told Castro that they felt silly interviewing her about this interim council seat, considering her five-decade-long resume, which reads civil rights activist, educator and trailblazer. 

“You can impact it so that everyone is able to have opportunities to live a good life,” Castro said. “To me that’s the ultimate thing, how do you help things to get better everyone.” 

Castro said she wants to continue the mission former Councilwoman Ana Sandoval started in District 7.

Even though she’s only going to be in this seat for two months, that’s pretty much a lifetime in council, where she plans to address drainage and transportation issues as well as getting young folks registered to vote. 

“But if we can increase that among young people, we will be in a lot better shape for the future,” Castro said.