Feed Your Mind: Get Summer 2017 Magazine


Maria Elena Ramos – An Immigrant Organizes for Kids and Technology

By on March 30, 2017 9:18 pm

Hero’s name: Maria Elena Ramos

Home city: San Francisco

Organization affiliation: Coleman Advocates for Children & Youth

How does the person’s work advance social justice? What is the person’s vision for an equitable world?

“Maria Elena has been a member of Parents Making a Change (PMAC), which is Coleman’s parent organizing project for seven years. She immigrated to the U.S. from El Salvador in 2009 and has faced countless challenges in her quest for a better life for her family.

When Maria Elena enrolled her son in elementary school in San Francisco, she quickly learned that while many students were receiving a quality education, many others – primarily Black and Latino students – were being failed by a two-tiered educational system.

One of Maria Elena’s first leadership experiences was helping to lead a PMAC campaign to win a computer lab at her son’s elementary school.

When she learned that there were no computers at the school, she was disappointed and suspicious.

In the 21st century, how could a school not have any computers, especially in a city with so much wealth and technology?

She investigated and found that other schools had computer labs but they were not in low-income immigrant Latino neighborhoods, like her son’s school. She worked with PMAC to survey parents and educate them about their rights.

She met with the principal who told her the school didn’t have money for computers and tried to intimidate her into silence. Maria Elena didn’t back down.

She recruited, mentored and inspired many parents to get involved. When Maria Elena became very ill and had to step away from the work temporarily, the parents she recruited continued the fight.

After two years, the parents won the resources for a computer lab and staff. One day, her son came home from school and said ‘Mama, I thought about you all day today! We had our first class in the computer lab!’

Since then, Maria Elena has played numerous leadership roles in PMAC and the local education equity and economic justice movements.

She is helping to lead a campaign to win a district-level ‘Family Academy’ to train parents to be able to more effectively support their children academically and act as advocates for their right to high-quality education and supportive environments in their schools.

Maria Elena is especially known for her dedicated commitment to building unity between Black and Latino communities, particularly when it comes to common challenges, hopes and dreams related to public education.

She is constantly pushing other parents to challenge their acceptance of the status quo.”

Honored by: Yaya Ruiz of Coleman Advocates for Children & Youth


Note: This profile is part of Equal Voice News’ special Cesar Chavez Day Community Heroes edition. These submissions were edited for clarity.

10 Responses to "Maria Elena Ramos – An Immigrant Organizes for Kids and Technology"

  1. Georgina  April 25, 2017 at 10:11 pm

    que buen trabajo, inspira para no darse por vencido.

  2. Sandra  April 25, 2017 at 10:09 pm

    María Elena Luchadora siempre comprometida por un Mejor Sistema Educativo.
    Siempre adelante Bendiciones .

  3. Adryan Ramos  April 25, 2017 at 10:08 pm

    Voten por mi mama, ella ha peleado mucho para estar en la posicion que esta. Estoy tan orgulloso. Te amo mama.

  4. Teressa Dane  April 25, 2017 at 10:03 pm

    As a fellow advocate fighting the fight in Sacramento, I have heard stories about Maria and her hard work. I know the challenges of being the voice for our children and families and Maria has been an inspiration.

  5. Ann Gettis  April 25, 2017 at 10:02 pm

    As a fellow advocate fighting the fight in Sacramento, I have heard stories about Maria and her hard work. I know the challenges of being the voice for our children and families and Maria has been an inspiration.

  6. Fiana  April 25, 2017 at 9:39 pm

    My aunt Maria Elena is a very important element of our community in California. As her niece, and as a social worker, I recognize my aunt for her hard work and dedication to fight for social justice, the dignity and worth of individuals, and for her commitment to serve others in a selfless manner. These are values that social workers utilize as a framework to help communities of underserved individuals.

    My aunt Maria Elena actively participates in the community by organizing events and serving as the voice for many immigrants, women, and children who are in need. Thanks to her efforts, many changes have been made to benefit the population that she advocates for. It is also important to mention that she has received recognition for her work and dedication.

    Please support my aunt in all of her endevours, as she is surely commited to promote the well-being of her family here, in El Salvador; and of the people in the community that she lives in.

  7. Daniel  April 22, 2017 at 12:38 am

    Loable trabajo!!!!

  8. Laura Mena  April 21, 2017 at 11:53 pm

    This woman is an inspiration for anyone who has been forced to migrate for any reason. I was a refugee once and was forced to return to El Salvador while still a teenager. I had to migrate back to the country that opened their doors to me when I was a child, this time to be able to study. I got my degree while working full time and it was not easy. I wish I’d had women like her close to me when I was a child and then later when I was studying. It would have made my experience less difficult and I might have been able to follow my dream of giving back to the country that received me as a child and gave me the opportunity to study. I would have loved to have the courage to engage in organizing and helping people in neighborhoods like the one I grew up in: mostly immigrants. I am proud to know María Elena.

  9. Mayra  April 21, 2017 at 8:06 pm

    Muchas felicidades Maria Elena! es una gran líder éxitos junto su hermoso hijo

  10. Aracely Erazo  April 21, 2017 at 5:53 pm

    Tengo el gusto de conocer a Maria Elena desde hace algunos años y se que es una mujer muy luchadora y decidida. Siempre busca ayudar a otros desde donde y como pueda, es empatica y determinada.

    Te felicito amiga, nunca pares.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.