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Felicitas Mendez: Who is Felicitas Mendez?

Felicitas Mendez: Who is Felicitas Mendez?

Felicitas Mendez

Who is Felicitas Mendez?

Felicitas M. Mendez is a granddaughter of migrant farmworkers and the author of the book¬¬¬ bebés Los Santos. She is a mother of seven and grandmother of twelve. And has nearly 40 years of experience raising and supporting her family on food stamps. And part-time low-wage labor.

With her husband Gonzalo, Felicitas spearheaded and won the monumental Mendez v. Westminster lawsuit. As a result, in 1946, the U.S. federal court ruled against public school segregation. Which happened almost a decade before the Brown v. Board of Education case. (Source: www.newsweek.com)

Family

Felicitas Mendez pic 1

Her father Albert Mendez was born in Cuba and became a freedom fighter during the Cuban Revolution on the side of Fidel Castro. Mendez left his mark on the Cuban Revolution on the side of the political left. His first militant act was to lead the attack of the Moncada Barracks on the eighth of July 1953. On that day, he had more than 300 of his men against the more than 300 of the Spanish Colonial Army.

Felicitas Mendez

Felicitas Civil Rights

Felicitas Mendez is a civil rights activist, a writer, a filmmaker, a feminist, a cultural translator, an educator, a cultural critic. And a cultural policy analyst, a professor, a lawyer, a journalist, a student, a poet, a speaker, a trainer, a mentor, a mentor organizer. And a columnist, a researcher, a documentary filmmaker, a storyteller, a curatorial worker, a documentary programmer, a visual artist, a performer, a singer-songwriter.

Felicitas Mendez pic 2

On the first day of Hispanic Heritage Month 2020 in the U.S. Today’s Doodle celebrates Puerto Rican civil rights pioneer and business owner Felicitas Mendez. Alongside her husband Gonzalo. Felicitas helped to spearhead and win the monumental lawsuit Mendez v. Westminster. Which in 1946 resulted in the first US federal court ruling against public school segregation—almost a decade before Brown v. Board of Education. (Source: www.google.com)

Civil Rights

Felicitas Mendez is a Latina woman with a long history of working to end racism and sexism. In a keynote article at a 2019 conference. Mendez spoke with a sense of optimism for a future. With a cultural shift in which Black and non-Black people can live together without violence. In her work as a Latino person. Mendez has been working to increase access to education as a pathway to moving up in the world.

Mendez vs. Westminster was a California civil rights desegregation case that successfully ended the segregation between Latino and white students in the state of California. (Source: wearemitu.com)

In 2011, Mendez's daughter Sylvia was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom—the United States’ highest civilian honor. In recognition of her and her parents’ role in the Westminster v. Mendez case. And her lifelong dedication to civil rights and education that followed. (Source: www.google.com)

Felicitas Mendez

Google Doodle

According to records with the U.S. Census Bureau, Felicitas was born on July 26th, 1916, in Garcia, Mexico. She was the daughter of Josefina Rodríguez and Ô scar Mendez.

Born in the town of Juncos in Puerto Rico, Mendez moved to the mainland United States when she was 10-years-old. It was here that she experienced her first taste of American racism and inequality. (Source: wearemitu.com)

Felicita Mendez fought against discrimination in the California public education system and won in the landmark case Mendez v. Westminster School District on Feb. 18, 1946. This is a landmark case that is forgotten in civil rights history. Felicita's leadership and success paved the way for the Brown v. Board of Education triumph in 1954. (Source: almalopez.com)

Felicitas "La Prieata" Mendez

Felicitas Mendez pic 3

Felicitas Mendez is a Mexican figurative painter and sculptor.

What’s less discussed, at least in the way it deserves to be discussed and acknowledged. Is the fact that this episode in the history of the United States, in the history of the struggle for Civil Rights. And in the history of Chicano struggles, is also an important part of the history of Puerto Ricans in the United States. Sylvia herself is adamant about this, “We didn’t have that divide in Mendez vs. Westminster, which not many people are aware of…it wasn’t just the Mexicans in the court case. We also had [Jan Malban] who were also Puerto Rican. Who were also friends of my family, and there were two other Puerto Rican families who were part of the Mendez vs. Westminster case aside from us….” This was also not the first case to bring Puerto Ricans and Mexicans together in California. The attorney for the case was hired because of his successful representation of Puerto Ricans and Mexicans. “Who had been segregated in the public parks and pools of San Bernardino.” (Ayala and McCormick, 28) (Source: centropr.hunter.cuny.edu)

 

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