Irma Castro improves women’s lives by creating structural change in San Diego. She has been actively involved in community enrichment, development, education, and mentoring for more than thirty years, most notably through the Chicano Federation, Las Niñas de Aztlán, and Casa Familiar. Irma has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, a Masters of Arts in Urban Development, and was a research fellow at MIT in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning. For more than thirty years she has worked as an educator, administrator, and activist in San Diego County. Irma is a mother of two and a native of Barrio Logan. She has been a board member of numerous community service organizations including United Way, Domestic Policy Association, and Colegio de La Terra.
Irma was the Executive Director of the Chicano Federation from 1979-1991. During her tenure, she was responsible for creating more equity within the San Diego City Council by challenging the distribution of Latinas within city council districts. She was also responsible for successful fundraising, improving the image of the Federation within San Diego, and the implementation of numerous social programs. She then became the Coordinator of New Beginnings, a school-based program focused on improving low income families' access to medical care, food, and education. In 1999, Irma created Las Niñas de Aztlán, an outreach and mentorship program focused on pairing nine to eleven-year-old Latina and Native American girls with successful women mentors who have had similar life experiences. Currently, Irma is Programs Officer for Casa Familiar, an organization focusing on education, advocacy, housing, and community economic development. Irma’s ongoing commitment to community advancement is why she is being inducted into the San Diego Women’s Hall of Fame as an Activist.