After a more than yearlong battle against cancer, local education and immigration activist Raul Borbon died at his home last week surrounded by friends and family members. He was 56.
Borbon worked with several local groups, including the Pasadena-based Chicano empowerment group Institute for Popular
Education as well as Centro de Educación Popular. But, despite his affiliations, Borbon strove for equality for everyone.
Latino activists said Borbon fought hard to ensure that disadvantaged children received a good education.
“His presence was filled with kindness, generosity, humility and commitment,” wrote Vannia De La Cuba, field representative for Pasadena City Councilman Victor Gordo.
Borbon was born in México in March 1955. His mother never went to school but still impressed upon her seven children the importance of education, volunteering at their schools, according to De La Cuba.
Borbon came to the United States in the 1980s and began his own community involvement as a volunteer, teaching English and literacy classes in Pasadena’s Central Park and working with Latinos in Northwest Pasadena.
“Raul was committed to equality, social justice and equal opportunity for all,” said Gordo. “The most impressive thing about him was he seemed to treat all Pasadenans as if they were part of his family.”
Borbon is survived by his wife, Susana, and seven children — Emiliano, Jacinto, Iyali, Neidi, Nikki, Belen and Camilo — as well as his 18-month-old grandson, Gaian.
Family and friends gathered to celebrate Borbon’s life last week at the Villa-Parke Community Center.
“He advocated for equitable and quality education for disadvantaged youth. He was very committed to social justice. He had a personality and mannerisms that were friendly and down to earth, not confrontational. He had an easy-going spirit that made most people like him,” said Randy Ertll, head of El Centro de Accion Social.