Long-time community activist and Board member of Acción Latina Emilio Victorio Sanchez was found dead on March 20 of unknown causes. He was 66-years-old.

After returning from a visit with family in Mexico on March 14, Emilio was found dead in his apartment by San Francisco police. Cause of death is under investigation.

At the time of his death, Emilio served as a Board of Director member for Acción Latina, a Mission District non-profit cultural and educational organization that also oversees the publishing of El Tecolote newspaper. 

For 19 years, Emilio served as the Bilingual Service Coordinator for the Public Utilities Commission where he provided Spanish-language translation during public participant hearings and where he mobilized people throughout Northern California to making public comment.  

Emilio also worked with the Deaf and Disabled Telecommunications Program and he was a union member of SEIU 1000. 

In his free time, Emilio did volunteer work for 11 years with the Coalition of Concerned Legal Professionals (CCLP). During that time he dedicated himself to fight on behalf of low-income people for access to the legal system. 

He also volunteered his time to provide interpreting services and assistance at San Francisco Unified School District meetings.

In the 1990’s Emilio worked for Project Open Hand and the Better Business Bureau.

Born on December 19, 1953, Emilio attended la Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico and received his degree in 1975. A year later he settled in San Francisco where he eventually earned an Associate of Arts in Public Health at City College of San Francisco.

As a long time Mission District resident, Emilio was on the frontline as an activist fighting against deportations and for immigrant rights. 

“Emilio was an active member of the Mission District’s bourgeoning Latinx, Queer & LGBTQ community— actively contributing to spaces like the 16th street scene and the ‘Esta Noche’ bar,” said Josue Rojas, executive director of Acción Latina. “Emilio’s generous spirit was demonstrated in all the causes he took up as his own, often volunteering, lending a hand, and actively participating in peaceful protests and manifestations.”

“Emilio embodied such generosity of spirit, humility, pure goodness,” said former Acción Latina Executive Director Georgiana Hernandez. “I have so many memories of Emilio helping to haul ice as we put on events at Acción Latina, smiling, welcoming guests, always the best of a human being within all the communities that he touched. Thank you, Emilio, for being such an exemplar.”

Friends have described Emilio as a great lover of adventure and travel, as well as a beautiful and compassionate person who also had a loving spirit toward young people. 

They also said he loved his indigenous and Mexican roots. “My pride of my Mexican heritage has no boundaries and extends to all cultures of the world, making sure they learn about all the beauty in all things of Latin-America, from Mexico to the Patagonia,” Emilio once said.

Emilio joins his mother, Teresa Sanchez Garcia, and his sister, Yolanda Victorio Sanchez, in the after life.

He is survived by his two sisters, Lilia Victorio Sanchez and Maria Luisa Victorio Sanchez, and cousins Amparo Valadez Victorio, Martha Valadez Victorio, Luis Naranjo Victorio, Gerardo Valadez Victorio, Cesar Naranjo Victorio, Conrad Victorio Flores, Teofilo Victorio Flores, Moises Victorio Flores, Ricardo Duque Victorio and Jorge Duque Victorio.

A celebration of Emilio’s life is being planned at Acción Latina sometime in the near future. 

Assisting with this tribute were Axel Morales Victorio and Jesenia Diaz.