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Education was important to the newlyweds. Despite her new role as a mother, Josefina continued her education. She took courses at Contra Costa College in San Pablo in the evenings while Trinidad took care of their children. In the meantime, Trinidad was taking courses at the Grove Street campus of the City College of Berkeley. “The Grove Street Campus was a hotbed for student activism,” Lopez recalled. “There were Chicano studies. I learned about the United Farmworker’s campaign. We were in the midst of the Third World Strike. And the Black Panthers were teaching there as well.”.
The Fall of 1968 marked the sanuk yoga mat shoes beginning of a deeper more auspicious transformation for the young coed when she was enrolled at the University of California, Berkeley, She remembered the deep gratitude and excitement she felt as she set foot on the Berkeley campus “I felt like, ‘Am I really hear?’ That was followed by confusion about what a mess things were,” she said, The demonstrations against the war in Vietnam were escalating, As Josefina began classes, the campus was aflame — literally, The library had been set on fire, Garbage cans were smoldering and burning, Helicopters flew over the campus, Tear gas wafted through the autumn air, Startled and slightly confused by the turmoil, she had to ask fellow classmates what was going on..
Though a native Spanish speaker, she decided to “choose” Spanish as her second language because she realized “how stupid the entire educational system was which discouraged me from speaking Spanish in school,” she said. In 1971 she visited Cuba as part of a program to study education. By the time she graduated in 1973 she had decided to become an educator. Trinidad was not far behind. He elected to study economics at U.C. Berkeley. After graduation he became an appraiser for the City of Oakland And like his young wife, his political awareness had grown. He became an activist in the Fruitvale District, working for the Spanish-speaking Foundation, organizing various events in the neighborhood.
After graduating, Lopez began combining her career as an educator with her new found political awareness, Over the next 30 years she worked for the Oakland Public School District as a pioneering elementary schoolteacher, Shortly after she began, she fought with school district administrators to open sanuk yoga mat shoes a small, bilingual elementary school in downtown Oakland, La Escuelita educated more than 300 students, most of whom did not speak English, She would continue her advocacy for bilingual and mutli-cultural education at Calvin Simmons Junior High and Hawthorne Elementary School, She started a student club Latinos Unidos, raised funds to support a narcotics education program and organized Ballet Folklorico which taught a popular Mexican style of folk dancing to her young students..
As an administrator at Highland Elementary School, she discovered many of the teachers were older, less energetic and indifferent. It was the school district’s way of disposing of teachers they believed to be ineffective. The school was also plagued by the growing ethnic tension between African-American, Asian and the burgeoning Latin American student population. The brutal civil wars in Central America had driven thousands of Salvadoran and Guatemalan families from their homes. Many sought refuge in cities and towns around the San Francisco Bay Area including East Oakland.
The school was the place where these tensions spilled over, Latino students were told by some of their African-American classmates to ” …, go back to El Salvador!” Go back to Guatemala.” Go back to Mexico.” Sometimes parents became involved in these disputes, Confused, upset and angry by the treatment they received from some of these parents, Latino parents began referring to them as “las maletas” or the “wicked ones.”, sanuk yoga mat shoes Lopez also discovered the cultural needs of recently arrived Latino students were ignored, She organized school assemblies which lifted up Latino culture and history..
But Lopez was undaunted by these conflicts. She began working closely with at-risk children, making home visits to their families. To her great sadness, she often discovered families living in squalid conditions in homes which had been virtually abandoned by absentee landlords. In 1999, Lopez and her husband began preparing for retirement. Her husband bought property on International Boulevard and together they opened a small, Mexican craft store, Corazon del Pueblo. They saw the store as a means of continuing their love for learning, teaching, books and social action.
The store opened slowly occupying only a small, storefront, However, Josefina began offering classes to local elementary schools teaching students how to make sugar skulls, paper cuttings and candles for various Latin American heritage and cultural events, Local musician and activist Francisco Herrera, a longtime friend of the Lopez’s, sanuk yoga mat shoes described the significance of Corazon del Pueblo, “Corazon del Pueblo offered a model of initiative for small business owners,” he said, “Furthermore, the art, crafts and books they sold promoted the dignity of our people.”..