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Nativo Lopez-Vigil is a Mexican American political leader and immigrant rights activist in Southern California. Lopez is the former national president of the Mexican American Political Association and the national director of the Hermandad Mexicana Latinoamericana (formerly the Hermandad Mexicana Nacional), a community service and advocacy organization for Mexican and Latin American immigrants throughout the United States. Lopez, born in Los Angeles, grew up in Norwalk, California. He became an activist in 1968, inspired by Bert Corona and Cesar Chavez. Prior to college at UCLA and Cal State University at Dominguez Hills, Lopez who was born Larry Nativo Lopez, changed his name to Nativo Vigil Lopez. 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 in 1986, and became involved in a campaign to allow undocumented immigrants to obtain drivers' licenses in the 1990s. Lopez served on the school board of Santa Ana, California for six years, from 1997 until 2003. He was recalled from office after a campaign led by Ron Unz, the multi-millionaire backer of California Proposition 227, which prohibited bilingual education programs. He was accused of failing to enforce Prop 227, informing parents of their rights under the new law to opt for bilingual education for their children. He sued to challenge the use of English-only recall petitions as a violation of the Voting Rights Act, and won in the Ninth Circuit federal appeals court, although the case is not yet resolved. Another issue involved in the recall campaign was the proposed construction of an elementary school in the wealthiest side of Santa Ana, but opposed by the majority wealthy Republican and conservative constituency of the city. Lopez was recalled by 71% of the voters and lost every single one of the 16 precincts were the ballots were cast, including areas with majority Latino voters.


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