ELSA LOPEZ

Membership Mobilization Manager

I was born in Michoacán, Mexico in a small town called Cheranastico. I emigrated to the United States when I was 7 yrs. old and grew up in Wheaton, IL. Before I came to the United States my parents had already immigrated to the U.S., my older sister and I stayed behind until we could reunite with them. Contrary to many other cases, we were fortunate enough not to stay behind for longer than a year before we were with our parents. The transition of culture, language, education, social environment and many other factors changed so many things for myself and my family, especially because we have an indigenous background, Purepecha, to be specific, as does my community. Our childhood was full of barriers, but the most difficult was the language, we spoke very little Spanish and of course learning English was a challenge. The sacrifices that our parents made for our family always kept my foot on the ground, I always had in my mind that the journey they made to the U.S. would not have been in vain. When I was 18, I joined the U.S., Navy and I moved to Washington state, my Navy station for 4 yrs. It was the first time I felt proud to have accomplished something my parents could be proud of as well. I am the first generation to enter college in my family, and even though it was tough at first, I always had in mind to accomplish the “American Dream” not only for myself but for my parents as well. Currently I am the Director of Programs at Casa Michoacán. I have found what motivates me to help my community in a binational way, where I can be of change not only here in the United States but in my home state as well. I am also founder and a member of Club Nueva Vision de Cheranastico, a club registered with the Federacion de Clubes Michoacanos en Illinois, where we work for social and educational changes for our immigrant communities among many other activities and proyects. I am also a member of the Colectivo de Mujeres Transnacionales. I am very active in helping our immigrant population here in the U.S. and back at home, Michoacán, in various ways, including maintaining our identity, in my case, our indigenous heritage, Purepecha.