Led by: Leslie López, (she/they) Lecturer in Latin American and Latino Studies, Community Studies, and Community Engagement at Oakes College; Director, Corre la Voz Program in Education for Community Development

Dr. Leslie López specializes in communication and media, political culture, and social justice in the Americas. Dr. López has taught at UCSC since returning from fieldwork in Mexico in 2002, working with students in a variety of courses and projects--field-study, research, politics, education, media, and writing. Currently, Dr. López teaches with Community Studies, Oakes College, Latin American/Latino Studies and Education. She is also working on two long-term participatory action research projects: the We Belong Collaboration for Community-Engaged Research for Immigrant Justice in Santa Cruz County; and a bilingual teaching-learning program called Corre la Voz  (CLV), which she has directed since 2009. The CLV program, in particular, reflects the principles and practices of Latin American participatory education for community development that Dr. López has studied for nearly 20 years while pursuing her graduate research.

Dr. López received her PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of New Mexico. Her dissertation drew on her field studies on community radio and grassroots democracy throughout Mexico—in Mexico City, Oaxaca, and Chiapas—but focused primarily on the history of Radio Teocelo, the only independent community radio in Mexico between the years of 1965 and 2001.

A Message to Students and Loved Ones:

I continue to be grateful for a life-changing opportunity I had to participate in a Study Field Experience program as a UCSC undergraduate in 1990, which brought me for the first time to Central Veracruz. I had always been interested in languages and culture—an interest I later realized was all about the hope that there must be better ways of living than those I knew. That experience in Mexico not only confirmed my hope, but changed my life path. I eventually married a friend I met at Radio Teocelo, and designed my graduate work to pursue a better understanding of the knowledge I first perceived there, and our children are now part of the extended family of that region.  

My teaching and research are deeply informed by histories, values and goals I have learned by studying Mexican (more generally, indigenous and Latin American) ways of working toward justice, respect, and sustainability. I am continually struck by the lack of information and understanding about Mexico available in the US. With this program, I hope students can gain perspective—literally seeing the continent and their own history from other angles. This program is an offering to students who want to know what it feels like to learn in a place where Mexican people and the Spanish language are at the center. It is also an opportunity to walk through a phenomenal global “crossroads,” forged through colonization and resistance; to reflect on how we will make choices there, and elsewhere. Whether students are themselves Mexican or they trace their ancestry from other places around the world, I am very pleased to introduce them to a series of extraordinary experts and innovators in grassroots organization, ecology, and culture—the arts of living.