LOS ANGELES – MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) mourns the passing of Ignacio E. Lozano Jr., former publisher of La Opinion, the Spanish-language daily newspaper based in Los Angeles, who died Wednesday. Known to his friends as “Nacho,” he was a steadfast supporter of MALDEF, and served on the organization’s board of directors from 1979 to 1988.

During his tenure as publisher of La Opinion, he helped focus attention on issues that mattered to Latinos across the Southwest and throughout the nation, and helped expand the publication’s reach and readership. He was a staunch defender of the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment. In 1983, the paper filed a federal lawsuit challenging immigration officials’ actions against a photographer from La Opinion while on assignment.

Lozano was appointed ambassador to El Salvador in 1976 by President Gerald Ford. He later went on to hold directorships at Bank of America, the Walt Disney Co., National Public Radio, as well as his alma mater, the University of Notre Dame.

He is survived by his four children and nine grandchildren.

Please attribute the following statement to Thomas A. Saenz, president and general counsel of MALDEF:

“Simply put, Ignacio Lozano Jr. transformed Los Angeles and the national Latino community.  But for his work, our community would have a different history and contemporary experience today.  His legacy stems not only from his profound contributions, but from the ongoing community involvement of his remarkable family.  MALDEF is proud that his extraordinary life and work included longtime support of MALDEF and, as a board member, key contributions to MALDEF’s growth and development.  MALDEF offers its deepest condolences to his friends and family.”

Please attribute the following statement to Ambassador Vilma Martinez, president and general counsel of MALDEF from 1973 to 1982:

“Nacho Lozano was so many things. He was a brilliant businessman and leader, as well as a kind and generous soul.

He was an early supporter of MALDEF and as a member of the Board, he shared his business acumen and connections to help define and advance MALDEF’s mission.

Personally I will miss his sometimes acerbic sense of humor, which he coupled with a twinkly smile. I send heartfelt condolences to his lovely family.”

Please attribute the following statement to Antonia Hernandez, president and general counsel of MALDEF from 1985 to 2004:

“I met Nacho in the late 70s.  As the publisher of La Opinion, he understood that his responsibility was not only to inform but to educate, protect and promote the interests of the Latino community. He was proud of his heritage, and served proudly on the MALDEF board. He worked to further the advancement of the Mexican American and the entire Latino Community.”