Early life and education
Born in Harlingen, Texas, his parents moved the family early on to city's predominantly Mexican-American south-west side Pilsen neighborhood. As a student at Harrison High School and later the University of Illinois at Chicago, he organized students to demand courses on Mexican history, and for more Latin faculty. In his 20s, Lozano became an organizer for the International Ladies Garment Workers Union.
In 1982 Lozano entered the race for alderman of the 22nd Ward in the city's 1983 elections, in an attempt to be the first Mexican-American elected to the Chicago City Council. He faced longtime alderman Frank Stemberk and though Lozano was defeated, failing to force a runoff by seventeen votes, he played an instrumental role in bringing Latino voters across the city to support candidate Harold Washington, who became Chicago's first African-American mayor. His supporters alleged that voters with Spanish surnames were purged from the rolls, denying him the votes to force a runoff. Lozano continued his work in the ILGWU, becoming the chief Midwest field organizer through his work with tortilla factory employees and other low-paid immigrant workers.
On June 8, 1983, Lozano was shot to death in his home. A reputed gang member was convicted for his murder, but his supporters still contend that he was assassinated for his labor and political activities. Mayor Washington visited his widow at the home later that day, and said at Lozano's funeral that he "was a man driven by a search for unity among people." Lozano's campaign manager in the 1983 election, Jesús "Chuy" García, went on to win a 1986 special election for the 22nd Ward.
Today, the Pilsen branch of the Chicago Public Library is named in Lozano's honor, and his wife, sister, and sons continue his activist legacy. Also in his honor, there is a school called Rudy Lozano Leadership Academy. RLLA is associated with the Instituto Del Progreso Latino in Chicago. His son, Rudy Jr, ran for State Representative in the 23rd District of Illinois in February 2010, but did not win.