2000 Inductee - Stella G. Lopez

2000 Inductee - Stella G. Lopez

If action speaks louder than words then political action must speak loudest. Stella Lopez helped elect enough politicians to run a small country. Locally she helped Patrick Johnston, Mike Machado, Steve Gutierrez, Victor Mow, Frank Orosco, Vickie Brand and Louie Gonzales win their elections.

Barbara Boxer, Diane Feinstein, Richard Polanco, Gray Davis and Cruz Bustamante are some of the state officials she helped to elect as president and vice president of Hispanics for Political Action (HPA). “The last six years (in HPA) have positioned me to lead many successful events never before seen in Stockton. We held a $99 donation fund raiser for Senator Polanco. Never before had we had such a distinguished leader in Stockton. He is only the second Latino in California history to be elected Majority Leader.” Stella brought other VIP’s to our little town. “I have also been instrumental in having brought to Stockton Assemblywoman Diane Martinez, California/ Mexico Counsel Carol Girut and our own celebrity Dolores Huerta.” One of Stella’s fund raisers helped Cruz Bustamante become the first Hispanic lieutenant governor. Another money maker fueled the campaigns of Gray Davis and Bill Lockyear. Stella was the founder of the Latinas Democratic Club in Stockton and was instrumental in getting Congressman Jerry McNerney, elected to office in 2006.

Stella was more than a political activist. She held six teaching credentials. In 1977 she became the first Hispanic female reading specialist for SUSD. “I soon recognized the need for families to learn English. I formed an after school program for parents and their children. The program was so successful that teachers and teacher aides were soon attending. My past students have told me that I was an inspiration to them, leading them to become successful adults.”

Eventually Stella left the classroom to become a high school assistant principal. An innovation of hers was a Saturday school for truants. Stella continued her work to improve education after her retirement. In 1997 she worked with Senator Boxer on the After School Education and Safety Act. She worked with the state to improve the earnings of retired teachers. She was also an officer in three organizations and a delegate to the Democratic National Convention.

She was bestowed the prestigious Susan B. Anthony Woman of Achievement award in 1999 and earned many honors from many groups. She personally registered over 300 new voters and was involved with over 13 community groups. Of all her political, educational and community successes, Stella states, “My experiences as a teacher, administrator, community college instructor, and a private Spanish teacher for teachers, I found teaching to be the most fulfilling; teaching and seeing the sparkling faces of students after learning and understanding new concepts.”

Stella passed away on August 16, 2007.