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Profiles in Advocacy: Truax Award winner Teresa Oyos

December 2012 brings me full circle as I complete the first year of Profiles in Advocacy, returning to the topic that started it all, the current A. Brad Truax award recipient. I am thrilled that this year’s honoree is both a friend and colleague at University of California, San Diego (UCSD): Teresa Oyos of the HIV Neurobehavioral Research Program (HNRP) housed on UCSD’s Hillcrest campus.

Having spent 18 years with the HNRP as an outreach representative, and now supervisor, is a significant contribution to the effort toward understanding and eventually ending HIV/AIDS, but my interviews with Oyos showed me that this was really just one chapter in a 40-year commitment to advocacy in San Diego.

Her story begins in the 1970s, a time of change and progress for the Latino and Chicano populations. Set against the backdrop of migrant farmworker struggles, increased visibility for Latinos in cinema, theatre and contemporary literature, and the raising of awareness for Latino voters, Oyos found her activist voice while attending San Diego City College.

With her initial focus stemming from her identity as a Latina woman, she became involved with the Chicano Newspaper “La Verdad” and the SDSU chapter of M.E.Ch.A. (Movimiento Estudiantil Chican@ de Aztlán). Additionally, she spent much of her early efforts advocating for a comprehensive Latino/Chicano studies program in San Diego City College. To this day, Chicano Studies at San Diego Mesa remains a thriving and vital program, and has set a standard for inclusion in all San Diego higher education centers.

Read the full profile in SDGLN media partner Gay San Diego HERE.