Why Doesn't Westminster Commemorate Mendez vs. Westminster?
A faithful reader recently wrote in a question for my ¡Ask a Mexican! column wondering why the city of Westminster doesn't acknowledge Mendez vs. Westminster, the landmark desegregation case that allowed Mexican kids to attend school with their white peers and served as a precursor to the much-more-famous Brown vs. Board of Education. I thought the letter-writer was mistaken...but nope!
The SanTana Unified School District (one of the four school districts named as Mexican-segregators in the Mendez decision) dedicated Gonzalo and Felicitas Mendez Fundamental Intermediate School earlier this decade, and the school's website dedicates a page to the case's history. Los Angeles Unified will build its next Eastside (the REAL one, not some Silver Fake Kipling dream) high school dedicated to the Mendez family even though LA has nothing to do with OC. The United States Postal Service issued a stamp in 2007 commemorating Mendez vs. Westminster).
And the city of Westminster has done...nada.
Oh, Westminster Mayor Margie Rice showed up to the ceremony in which postal officials unveiled the stamp, but she'll show up to any ethnic event if it guarantees her votes. And the city council issued a proclamation for that event, but city proclamations have as much civic cachet as invocations. Fact is, nothing in Westminster commemorates the Mendez case. No schools, no parks, no plaque, not even a bloody mention on the city website's history page or the Westminster School District website, period.
As always, I ask the question: why? As always, my response is the orange-crate school of history that is so endemic amongst the county's lords. Seriously, Margie: is it too much to ask from your town to commemorate the only thing besides Little Saigon going for it?
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