Lilia Garcia Moreno de Lopez
Lilia Garcia Moreno de Lopez's lifelong dedication to improving the lives of women, children, the elderly, and the Latino community has made her one of San Diego's most respected activists. During more than thirty years of grassroots organizing, she fostered social justice and community empowerment in San Diego. Educated at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM), Lopez worked in public relations and journalism in Mexico for fifteen years before moving to Barrio Logan in the early 1960s. She soon recognized injustices suffered by Latinos and other ethnic groups living in the United States. Because many Latinas lacked basic job skills and access to educational resources, Lopez and others founded the first Latina advocacy group, Organizacion Femenil (1970). She went on to create the first ESL/occupational training program for women in San Diego. This program produced numerous qualified and well-prepared women in the areas of clerical, secretarial, and medical receptionist professions.
Along with initiating much-needed resources for Latinas, Lilia Lopez played key leadership roles in her community. She was the first Secretary for the Chicano Federation Board of Directors in 1969; she represented San Diego Latinos by lobbying for youth programs in Washington D.C. and at the 1980 International Women's Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. Lopez collaborated with San Diego State University researchers in numerous groundbreaking cross-cultural studies to identify the health needs of elderly San Diego Latinos and other aging ethnic groups (sponsored by U.S. Department of Health).
Lopez actively participated in such diverse organizations as the San Diego County Alcoholism Advisory Board, San Diego Community College District Center City Adult Citizen Council, Model Cities Advisory Board, Logan Heights Health Clinic, and Latino Foster Parents Association. At the same time, Lopez raised her own four children and fostered seven children. Lilia Garcia Moreno de Lopez is known to many as a true Madrina, a role model with enormous strength and vision.