150 E San Fernando St, San Jose, CA 95112

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Take a stroll down memory lane with community members and activists that helped shape the East Side we know today. In this two-part panel event, participants will discuss their experiences living and working on this historic community. Learn about the East Side’s evolution from rural farmland to thriving multicultural community, and how that community came together to face the challenges posed by government neglect, media misrepresentation and economic discrimination. 

Part 1: Growing Up East Side


Len Ramirez is a multi-media Journalist and TV Reporter at KPIX 5 TV.

Tony Alexander is the former political director for United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 5, and has served in many community groups including the San Jose Conservation Core, The African American Community Service Agency, and the Alum Rock Union School District board of trustees.

Joel Ruíz Herrera in an educator who has held numerous positions in area schools ranging from teacher to superintendent. He has also served in community organizations including the GI Forum and La Raza Historical Society.

Paul English has worked as a financial consultant and currently owns a landscaping company in San Francisco. He and has served in local organizations such as the Santa Clara Valley Urban League and the San Jose Chamber of Commerce.

Maritza Maldonado is the Founder and Executive Director of Amigos de Guadalupe Center for Justice and Empowerment, and a local and national leader on issues including immigration, school reform, and child advocacy. She was named Woman of the Year, 2022 by Senator Dave Cortese.

Part 2: East Side Activism

Maria Perez is a former east side activist and has worked in gang, drug, and alcohol prevention for over 40 years.

Doreen Garcia Nevel worked in nursing for 30 years, helping Spanish speakers overcome language related service barriers. The daughter of San Jose activists Ernestina and Tony Garcia, Doreen was involved in activist groups such as the Black Berets, Community Alert Patrol, and the Confederation de la Raza Unida.

Tony Estremera is a lawyer focused on immigrant rights and diversity. He has served on countless boards and committees including the Legal Aid Society of Santa Clara County, the Mexican American Political Association, and the Mayor’s Committee on Minority Affairs (San Jose).

Shirley Trevino is a former San Jose youth activist who has worked in Labor Relations for over 40 years. She is co-founder of several organizations including CAUSA, Latina Coalition, LULAC Gilroy, The Institute for Non-Violence, and Uoxina de Paz, and has been named one of the 100 most influential Latinos in Silicon Valley.


Rosanna Alvarez is a poet, author, creator and host of the Hella Chingona Podcast and co-founder and editor of Eastside Magazine.

This event is hosted by San José Public Library and is a part of the "East Side Dreams" Exhibit, a collaboration with San José State University King Library's Africana, Asian American, Chicano, and Native American Studies Center.