Hispanic Heritage Month

Sylvia Mendez helped end 100 years of segregation in California

During this Hispanic Heritage Month we honor Sylvia Mendez who helped change life for Mexican children in California when legal action ended segregation.

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Sylvia  was the daughter of Gonzalo Mendez,a Mexican immigrant and Felicitas Mendez, a Puerto Rican immigrant. Like most parents, they wanted Sylvia and her two brothers to get a good education but they were not allowed to enroll into a “white” school.

Sylvia’s parents and other parents filed a class action lawsuit in 1945 on behalf of more than 5,000 children who attended segregated schools. They won the lawsuit.

In February 2011, President Obama awarded Sylvia Mendez the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Today Sylvia Mendez continues to share her story in schools across the country.

More information:

History on Sylvia Mendez 

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