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Apolonia Lopez English transcript, 2022-10-02

Identifier: dcpl_dcohc044_01_tra_eng.pdf

Scope and Contents

From the Collection:

D.C. Oral History Collaborative (DCOHC) is a citywide initiative to train community members in oral history skills, fund new and ongoing oral history projects, connect volunteers with oral history projects, and publicize existing oral history collections. DCOHC is a project of DC Public Library, HumanitiesDC, and the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. This collection contains oral history interviews, transcripts, and indexes produced by DCOHC grantees.


  • Creation: 2022-10-02

Biographical / Historical

D.C.-born and Urban Village-raised, Apolonia Lopez is a 37-year-old mother of three. She was raised at Urban Village by her grandmother, who came to D.C. from El Salvador, in pursuit of better work and a better life. When her grandmother passed away, Apolonia took over her grandmother’s unit, where she is now raising her three children. She has been an affordable housing activist and leader for the past twenty years, serving on the board of her tenant association, on and off. When her building had to go through another renovation and Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA) process, she stepped up again as a tenant association leader while she was expecting her latest child during the COVID-19 pandemic. Apolonia’s efforts contributed to crafting some unique resident ownership and generational wealth building opportunities.


From the Collection: 1.13 Terabytes

Language of Materials



Apolonia Lopez is a second-generation resident of Urban Village, an affordable housing complex in the Newton Street NW neighborhood. At the time of this interview, she is also serving as the Vice President of the Urban Village Tenant Association, which is in its last round of finding a new developer to perform major renovations on the complex. In this interview, she shares her experiences as a longtime resident of Urban Village, where she was raised by her grandmother, and where she now raises her own children. She recalls the Urban Village community of her youth, as well as its evolution in the recent process of the residents selling the building to a new developer as part of exercising their Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA) rights. Her building’s history as the product of St. Stephen’s Church’s reparations to the Black community continues to give its residents additional protection in negotiating with new buyers. In the most recent sale, Urban Village went one step further by creating a mechanism for generational wealth for its current residents. She gives a first-person account as a working class mother taking on the challenge and actively engaging in the future of her affordable housing complex. This includes her experiences with the legal and financing systems as an affordable housing community activist and leader. She shares her pride and excitement in achieving something that was unimaginable, for the long-term benefit of her family and affordable housing community.

Repository Details

Part of the The People's Archive, Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library Repository

901 G Street NW
4th Floor East
Washington DC 20001