Cover photo for Maria Jimenez's Obituary
Maria Jimenez Profile Photo
1950 Maria 2020

Maria Jimenez

August 2, 1950 — December 1, 2020

Maria DeLosAngeles Jimenez
b. August 2, 1950
d. December 1, 2020

Late on the evening of Tuesday, December 1, 2020, Maria DeLosAngeles Jimenez passed away peacefully after a prolonged struggle with cancer.

Maria was a lifelong activist, organizer, leader, brilliant thinker, humanitarian, feminist, colleague, comrade, mother and friend. She made invaluable and long-lasting contributions that shaped our current discourse and values on immigration and immigrant rights, as well as social and economic justice for all.

Born in Castaños, Coahuila, Mexico, Maria came to Houston with her parents when she was six years old and settled in Magnolia Park. Maria went to the University of Houston, where she was pivotal in student organizing efforts, involved with many groups including the United Farm Workers and the Mexican American Youth Organization. She served as the first Latina president of the Student Government Association. After graduating from UH with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science, Maria ran as a candidate for La Raza Unida Party in 1974. Later, she married and returned to Mexico where she was involved in organizing and political work in Yucatan.

When she returned to Houston, Maria worked with immigrants and others in the Service Employees International Union, as well as with other labor organizations. Maria was a key organizer of the Association for Residency and Citizenship of America, an organization that worked in 1990s to fight for immigrant rights across language barriers.

As director of the Immigrant Law Enforcement Monitoring Project of the American Friends Service Committee, Maria documented abuses of authority and formed coalitions to work on documentation systems in border areas. With her passionate work on human rights at the border, Maria led the way on documenting human rights abuses and called out the systematic militarization of the border, in coordination with the families of the most directly affected. She was one of the first to lift up the disparate impact of repressive border policies and practices on women immigrants.

She was proud to have been one of the organizers of the Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride in 2003 when she worked for AFL-CIO. She also worked for Central American Resource Center (CRECEN) and was a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Houston Center for Mexican American Studies, where she specifically taught the course "Latino Activism and Organizing."

Her last ten years she worked as a Research Associate for the University of Texas School of Public Health, where she dedicated her time to community engaged research to evaluate the impact of environmental exposures on human health and served as a liaison between researchers and community members so that their voices are heard.

In her long life, she contributed to movement and coalition building, helped found community organizations, inspiring and training untold numbers of community members and organizers, persistently bringing awareness and commitment to justice for border rights, communities and immigrants.

Maria is survived by her twin children, Carlos and Stalina Villarreal. She is also survived by her two sisters Elva J. Corona and Olivia Jiminez, as well as her two brothers, Ra&uacutel Enrique and Victor Jimenez.

Her family is grateful for the kindness of friends and family. In line with Maria's wishes, there will be no funeral services. Following her instructions, she will be cremated, and her ashes will be scattered in the Río Grande/Río Bravo once it is safe to travel again after the pandemic.

In lieu of the usual remembrances, the family has requested donations be made to an immigrant rights organization of your choice.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Maria Jimenez, please visit our flower store.

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