Lopez-Vigil is a national
Chicano political leader and immigrant rights activist.
Lopez is the president of the Mexican American Political Association
and the national director of the Hermandad Mexicana Latinoamericana,
a community service and advocacy organization for Mexican and
Latin American immigrants throughout the United States. Based
in Southern California , his importance in Los Angeles politics
has been compared by the Los Angeles Times to that of Al Sharpton
in New York and Jesse Jackson in Chicago.
Lopez, born in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles, grew up in Norwalk,
California. He became an activist in 1968, inspired by Bert
Corona and Cesar Chavez. He organized student walk-outs from
high schools in order to demonstrate for education reform.
He was involved in successful efforts to win a large-scale
amnesty for undocumented immigrants 1986, and in campaigns
to allow them to obtain drivers' licenses in the 1990s.
Lopez was one of the organizers of the 2006 United States
immigration reform protests, both the March 25, 2006 demonstration
in Los Angeles, and the Great American Boycott on May 1, 2006,
which mobilized over a million people in Los Angeles on each
On April 13, 2006, Lopez appeared on
Lou Dobbs' television show, where he argued that "illegal immigrant" is
an offensively racist term on par with "N” word.
Lopez assisted in the foundation of the National Alliance
for Immigrants' Rights, a group founded on similar positions
on immigration. Lopez is one of the main spokespeople of the
immigrant rights movement, nationally.
He supports open borders for commerce, capital, and labor,
and immediate amnesty for all undocumented immigrants, and
iron-clad labor protections for all workers, particularly immigrant
workers, especially the right to organize a union of their
choosing. In moving towards this goal, he has argued for a
strategy of working-class mobilization, demonstrations, and
strikes, and electoral politics and lobbying.