On Tuesday, the LA Unified School Board voted unanimously to construct its first new high school in East Los Angeles in over 85 years! The even better news is that it will be named for Felicitas and Gonzalo Mendez! For those of you who don’t know, the Mendez family joined with many others in challenging segregationist policies of “Mexican schools” in the landmark “Mendez v Westminster” case. They eventually triumphed almost 61 years ago laying the ground work for desegregation across the state of California and even across the nation as the decision in the case was used in arguments in Brown v Board of Education.
That Boyle Heights will be honoring Mexican-Puerto Rican civil rights heroes from Orange County is welcome news! Relatives of the family said in a statement that they were thankful to those who had advocated for naming the new high school after Felicitas and Gonzalo Mendez such as Inner City Struggle, The Boyle Heights Learning Collaborative and school board president Monica Garcia. Now all that is needed is that the history of this important civil rights case does not solely adorne the name of the new high school, but is taught in EVERY high school as part of the core cirriculum for social studies. Si Se Puede!