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Guest Column: Community Activist Linda Lopez departs North Fair Oaks

Linda Lopez, a resident of North Fair Oaks for 65 years, recently moved out of this neighborhood to the county of Santa Clara. Gentrification and the lack of truly affordable housing had a role in Linda's departure.
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Linda Lopez

The community of North Fair Oaks (NFO) —the marginalized and unincorporated swath of land trapped between the cities of Redwood City, Atherton, and Menlo Park— recently lost a stalwart community stakeholder who for the last 50 years worked to improve the lives of the more than 14,000 residents living here

Linda Lopez, a resident of North Fair Oaks for 65 years, recently moved out of this neighborhood to the county of Santa Clara. Gentrification and the lack of truly affordable housing had a role in Linda's departure.

Linda worked tirelessly as a community activist in the North Fair Oaks community for nearly 50 years, often extending her advocacy and support to other communities of color throughout the nine Bay Area region, and mostly as a volunteer. 

Before retiring as a member of the Service Employees International Union, Linda's 50 years of employment and volunteerism included work with community-based organizations, the San Mateo County Superior Court Juvenile and Family Court Divisions, Mental Health Administration, youth and at-risk kids' mentor, Councilwoman for the North Fair Oaks Council, and as member of various community organizations' board of directors.

Linda never wavered to question the status quo and to call out inequities. In her work, she was committed to helping create community change in withstanding the effects of institutional racism, marginalization, discrimination, and social injustice. And lately, as member of the North Fair Oaks Community Alliance (NFOCA), she also worked against the negative impacts of climate change in vulnerable communities like NFO.  

Linda always believed in the power of coalition building and the importance in creating new systems that could increase community capacity, giving voice to their needs and helping them to make decisions that impact their livelihood directly.

Over the years I had the pleasure to work alongside Linda as a council member and I grew to admire her determination to make things right by clearly articulating what was wrong in a gentle way as a caring mother would. 

I was also fortunate to work alongside Linda while founding NFOCA, the only grassroots organization in NFO working to unify and to promote equity in this community.

Linda Lopez has been indeed the mother figure for the NFO community at large, but particularly for many of the younger and active community leaders of today who recognize her as an effective leader and as an influential figure for their work in the community.

Linda Lopez’s presence and thoughtful voice will be sorely missed in our community, but she has left a huge positive mark, a legacy of work accomplished, and a pathway for new community leaders to follow. If North Fair Oaks has a strong community organizing force among its residents today, in grand part it has been thanks to Linda Lopez.

Some of Linda's accomplishments include the following:

  • Honored in the 99th Congressional Record
  • San Mateo County Women’s Hall of Fame
  • Latinas in County Government
  • La Raza Centro Legal San Mateo County Project
  • Board member for El Concilio of San Mateo County
  • Councilwoman for the North Fair Oaks Council
  • Vice-president of the North Fair Oaks Community Alliance
  • Co-founder of the Climate Ready North Fair Oaks
  • Co-founder of the Cultural Collective North Fair Oaks

Ever Rodriguez

Founding President
North Fair Oaks Community Alliance – NFOCA
erodriguez@northfoca.org
(650)996-3796
www.northfoca.org