María Antonietta Berriozábal
Community, environment, and housing activist
María Antonietta Berriozábal has a long distinguished career in municipal politics, and has devoted her life to serving her community. She was the first Latina to serve on the San Antonio City Council, and her mayoral run received national attention. She continues to advocate for environmental justice, human rights, labor, housing, and other issues that impact the Westside.
Berriozábal was born in Laredo in 1941. When she was ten months old, her family moved to San Antonio. She attended the Catholic schools Christ the King and Providence High School. When she graduated she began working for the Salvation Army. She also began taking college courses and completed her degree in political science in 1979 from the University of Texas at San Antonio. Her connection to politics began when she started working for John Daniels, chair of the Democratic Party in Bexar County. She worked as a legal secretary for HemisFair '68, and subsequently for Bexar County Judge Blair Reeves. In this work she learned about city politics and about the divisions within the city.
After she graduated from UTSA, her first job was running the district office of the Census in San Antonio in 1980. She worked to support Henry Cisneros in his successful campaign to become mayor of San Antonio, and then she decided to run for City Council and won with 55% of the vote in 1981.