When filmmaker Mylène Moreno decided to find a story in 2003 that would illustrate for a national audience how Orange County had changed from the white, conservative stronghold of her youth into something more complex, she chose Nativo Lopez.
The Santa Ana Unified School Board trustee was facing a recall launched by parents who opposed his support of bilingual education. Backing them were Democrats and Republicans who despised Lopez’s longtime advocacy for Latino immigrants and his constant attacks against those he perceived to be vendidos — sellouts.
Moreno says that the timing for the eventual documentary, “Recalling Orange County,” which aired on PBS in 2006, “was kind of perfect…The fact that he had been elected indicated there had been massive political change in Orange County. Yet all these forces coalesced against him because he was teaching [Latinos] that maybe they have some rights they can assert.”
Lopez passed away Sunday after a brief battle with cancer. He was 68.
Read the full story on LATimes.com.
Saddened by the passing of Nativo Lopez — a warrior for defending the rights of all people, who fought hard to protect the lives and dignity of immigrants. May he rest in power and peace.
— Mayor Eric Garcetti (@MayorOfLA) May 20, 2019