The invoice seeks to rename the Los Angeles courthouse after the Latino Menendez household, a legacy of desegregation

By | September 26, 2023

Rep. Jimmy Gomez, D-Calif., will introduce laws Wednesday to rename Los Angeles US Court In honor of a Latino household that paved the best way for college desegregation.

Practically eight many years in the past, within the district the place the courthouse is positioned, Felicitas and Gonzalo Méndez, a Mexican American couple, filed a lawsuit that ended faculty segregation in California in 1947, and was later used as a blueprint for Brown v. Board of Training. Ruling that discovered segregation in public colleges unconstitutional in 1954.

“When Felicitas, Gonzalo Méndez and 4 different courageous households challenged segregation in California colleges 77 years in the past, they not solely stood up for his or her kids, they took a stand for the civil rights of scholars of coloration all over the place and left a legacy.” He advised NBC Information on Tuesday.

He mentioned renaming his district courtroom because the Felicitas and Gonzalo Mendez U.S. Courtroom may even be the primary time a federal courtroom has been named after a Latina girl.

US Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles.
US Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles.Xinhua through Getty Pictures

Sylvia Mendez, the daughter of Felicitas and Gonzalo, remembers being on the middle of the authorized battle in Mendez v. Westminster College District in Orange County after being denied admission to her neighborhood faculty in Westminster.

When she was a 9-year-old third grader in 1945, all she needed was to go to the “lovely faculty” with the “lovely playground,” not figuring out that it was just for white kids.

As an alternative, she headed every day to the “Mexican College,” a dilapidated constructing subsequent to a cow pasture. She recalled the situations there in an interview with NBC Information in 2021.

That is when her mother and father and 4 different households filed a lawsuit in opposition to the college district, difficult segregation practices.

The Mendez household received in federal courtroom in 1946 Judge Paul J. McCormick Writing, “Social equality is the very best situation within the American system of public training. It needs to be open to all kids by the Unified College Affiliation no matter parentage.

The household received once more in 1947 after the college district appealed the choice.

Two months after the enchantment, then-California Governor Earl Warren signed laws to formally finish segregation in public colleges.

Legal professional Thurgood Marshall, who filed a short on behalf of the NAACP in assist of Mexican households, later used the authorized framework of the Mendez case as a street map to argue Brown v. Board of Training within the Supreme Courtroom.

“It’s an honor to have Congressman Jimmy Gomez memorialize the work of my father, and all of the households concerned on this case, by naming the Los Angeles U.S. Courthouse after Felicitas and Gonzalo Mendez,” Sylvia Mendez mentioned in a press release Tuesday. American courtroom.”

“My mother and father and the opposite 4 households on this case refused to surrender their imaginative and prescient of a extra equal society for his or her kids, the place the colour of an individual’s pores and skin doesn’t decide their entry to training,” she mentioned. To see Rep. Gomez’s invoice transfer ahead to protect this necessary piece of Spanish historical past.

Sylvia Mendez will likely be current with Gomez on Wednesday when he proclaims the laws.

Gomez mentioned the Mendez household’s wrestle needs to be acknowledged as “a robust image of Latin America’s enduring legacy and our nation’s broader wrestle for equality.”

He mentioned the laws has the assist of members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, in addition to high Latino civil rights leaders, similar to UnidosUS President Janet Murguia and Tomas Saenz, president and basic counsel on the Mexican American Authorized Protection and Training Fund, or MALDEF. .

“This Hispanic Heritage Month, I’m ensuring that Latino tales are preserved in American civil rights historical past,” Gomez mentioned.

Hispanic Heritage Month started on September 15 and ends on October 15.

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