‘We’ve got misplaced an unbelievable champion.’ Ventura County mourns beloved public servant

We’ve misplaced the loveliest human being.

A champion for the atmosphere.

A voice for many who didn’t at all times really feel heard.

She at all times put Oxnard first.

The listing of tributes and condolences grew ever longer on Saturday, as mates and colleagues mourned Ventura County Supervisor Carmen Ramirez, a longtime legal professional and beloved public servant, who died Friday night time after being hit by a truck in a crosswalk in downtown Oxnard.

The 73-year-old, who was the present chair of the county’s board of supervisors, was the first Latina ever elected to the influential board, in addition to the first to function its chair. A candlelight vigil to honor her was deliberate for Saturday at 7 p.m. at Plaza Park in Oxnard, the place she beforehand served on the town council.

“We’ve got misplaced an unbelievable champion,” stated Linda Parks, a fellow supervisor and shut pal. “Such a gaping gap.”

Oxnard police stated that the person driving the truck that hit Ramirez remained on the scene and had cooperated with investigators.

Born Maria Carmen Ramirez, she grew up one in all seven siblings within the San Gabriel Valley however went on to construct her life in Ventura County.

A graduate of Loyola Regulation College, she started her profession as a authorized support legal professional within the metropolis’s La Colonia neighborhood within the late Seventies, in line with her campaign website.

“I used to be grateful to symbolize these with out the means to rent a lawyer,” she stated in a video, which she recorded in English and Spanish.

Ramirez, who spoke with The Occasions for a 2020 piece commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the Nationwide Chicano Moratorium Towards the Vietnam Battle, stated that becoming a member of the demonstrations years earlier had been a defining a part of solidifying her burgeoning identification as a politically engaged Mexican American.

The moratorium, she stated, “gave me the view that we simply must battle for justice.”

Ramirez served, for a time, because the president of the Ventura County Bar Assn. and was later elected to the State Bar of California’s board of governors— now known as the board of trustees. She additionally served as a longtime board member for the Center for Civic Education, a nonprofit that promotes the research and apply of democracy, and was appointed to the Fee on State Mandates by then-Gov. Jerry Brown in 2012.

When it got here to subjects she felt passionately about — and there have been many, mates and colleagues say — she didn’t mince her phrases.

When talking to The Times in 2017, Ramirez, then Oxnard’s mayor professional tem, expressed her disgust on the historical past of contamination at an area seashore.

“It’s clear who will get caught with all of the soiled stuff,” she stated. “What different metropolis has three energy crops and a Superfund website on the seashore? The folks of Oxnard have paid their dues.”

Parks, her fellow supervisor, stated she’s going to keep in mind her pal for her seemingly countless listing of passions, together with social justice, good authorities and the atmosphere.

“She walked the stroll,” Parks stated. “She would give donations to each trigger that got here earlier than us. A few of us would simply say good phrases. She can be on the market writing $25 checks.”

Ramirez led with a spirit of energy and care, Parks stated, noting how impressed she’d been by her colleague final 12 months, as she navigated grieving her brother, who died of COVID-19, whereas concurrently sitting via conferences the place some folks droned on about how they didn’t assume coronavirus was actual.

Ramirez was the kind of pal, Parks stated, who seen once you had been having a troublesome day and made it a degree to textual content you an image of flowers — perhaps a snap from her rose backyard or an image of a bouquet in a vase she’d seen in somebody’s dwelling.

“To me, that was such a kindness,” Parks stated. “We had been so fortunate to have her.”

Ramirez is survived by her husband, Roy Prince.

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