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Member & Activist Spotlight

Alejandra Lopez: I Never Forgot My Union Roots

Alejandra Lopez is a 2nd grade teacher and union activist in San Antonio, Texas
2020 Membership Spotlight: Alejandra Lopez
Published: December 7, 2020

I draw inspiration from my lived experience of growing up with a Mexican immigrant mother and a proud union ironworker father. 

In college, I joined my classmates to address societal disparity on our campus. The workers, primarily people of color, were underpaid and had no voice, and I became involved in the effort to get them representation and a living wage. 
I had the chance to serve as a page in the U.S. House, where I got an inside look at governing—and a system designed to give everyone a voice that too often gives power to just a few.  

Through those experiences, I came to believe that organizing people to take collective action could bring about change and I committed myself further to those causes. 
I’m a second-grade teacher, which affords me the opportunity to do what I love—inspire students; while working with the families of our working-class community of color.

I never forgot my union roots, I became active in NEA in my school and a founding member of a group focusing on social justice issues.

We are working hard to improve district curriculum that ignores the experience of the Black and brown children who make up 97% of our students. We’ve worked to address the safe return to in-person learning during the pandemic because students, educators, and their families deserve safe schools.

I’m also personally involved in a lawsuit filed by our union to keep one of our neighborhood schools from being taken over by a national chain of charter schools. The corporation trying to take over our school hasn’t adequately supported its other schools and the district has never invested sufficiently in ours.  
While we have faced challenging times in recent years as educators and especially as members of the Latinx community, I am more optimistic than ever that the best times for our students, our schools, and our communities lie ahead of us.

National Education Association

Great public schools for every student

The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.