Garden Grove Unified School District students at Carrillo Elementary School in Westminster welcomed civil rights advocate Sylvia Mendez on Feb. 12 during a special assembly. Students presented Mendez with a check worth more than $1,000 to help fund construction of the Mendez Freedom Trail and Monument, which will be located in Westminster.
With hundreds of students excitedly listening, Mendez spoke about her experience growing up in Westminster and being one of the first Mexican-American students to attend a non-segregated school. She also expressed the importance of not giving up and accepting people who are different from us. Students had the opportunity to ask Mendez questions about her life experiences.
“We are thankful for people like Mrs. Mendez, who continue to fight for equality for our children,” said Board of Education President Walter Muneton. “Our students’ contributions to the Mendez Freedom Trail and Monument is special because it will ensure her family legacy continues to educate students for generations to come about one of the biggest victories for equality in education.”
Also in attendance at the check presentation assemblies were Westminster City Councilman Sergio Contreras and board member Lan Nguyen.
Mendez’s parents played an essential role in Orange County civil rights movement. The Mendez vs. Westminster case helped desegregate Orange County schools and pushed for equal education for all students.
The GGUSD serves most of Garden Grove and portions of Anaheim, Cypress, Fountain Valley, Santa Ana, Stanton and Westminster.