Feb. 29, 2016 By Michael Florio
A longtime street vendor and community activist passed away this week.
Claudia Lopez, 45, who was known as a churro vendor on Roosevelt Avenue near the Junction Boulevard train station, died last Sunday due to a known illness, according to Leslie Ramos, Executive Director with the 82nd Street Partnership.
While Lopez may be best known in the community for her food cart, which she ran for more than 20 years, she was also an activist who fought to make her neighborhood a better place, Ramos said.
Lopez was a member of Make the Road New York, a non-profit that aims to build up working class Latino communities, and an organizer with the Street Vendor Project, a group that educates vendors on their legal rights and responsibilities.
“Claudia was an exemplary member and leader of the Street Vendor Project and was a tireless organizer whose commitment to social justice was evident in everything she did,” the Street Vendor Project said in a statement.
“Her dedication to both her community and the struggle for street vendor justice city-wide was incredibly admirable and inspiring,” the organization added. “She will be tremendously missed by all her friends and compeñeros at the Street Vendor Project.”
Lopez, who was born in Mexico, was involved in these organizations to better the community and create opportunities for those trying to build a life in the neighborhood, Ramos said.
“She sought out to help vendors and small business owners,” she said. “She wanted to create opportunities for those who followed in her footsteps.”
“She was relentless and wanted those without a voice to be heard,” Ramos added. “She will be dearly missed.”
Ramos added that Lopez’s food stand, where she sold Mexican snacks such as churros and roasted nuts, will be missed by many in the community.
“She would make the churros fresh in her cart, not just sell store bought ones,” she said. “No one makes them like she did.”
Lopez will be buried in Puebla, Mexico.
Rest In Peace, such an icon here in the heights, she will be missed.