Long Beach honors late California State Senator Jenny Oropeza

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AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli

In this file photo taken Aug. 30, 2008, state Sen. Jenny Oropeza, D-Carson, fans herself during a Senate session at the Capitol. Oropoza died Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2010 in a Long Beach hospital.

The city of Long Beach plans to dedicate a community center in the name of the late State Senator Jenny Oropeza today. The event coincides with Cesar Chavez Day.

The dedication ceremony takes place at Long Beach’s Cesar Chavez Park – a site that Oropeza helped improve when she served on Long Beach’s City Council. She became the city’s first Latina councilmember when voters elected her in 1994.

Oropeza also served on the board for the Long Beach School District and the California State Assembly. Students even elected her class president when she attended Cal State Long Beach.

An abdominal blood clot cut short her political career last October. Oropeza was 53 years old when she died.

Long Beach Councilman Robert Garcia sponsored the push to dedicate the center in the late lawmaker’s name. For him and for many other Long Beach Latinos, he said, Oropeza was more than just an elected official.

"You know Jenny for me was a mentor," said Garcia. "And that entire time she never forgot where she was from, and that was Long Beach. And she just gave so much of herself to the city. And in particular this park, she was the one that pushed this project and got it done, so it’s a great way to tribute her life."

The city-sponsored park dedication will be open to the public at no charge. The event begins at 3 p.m.

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