Google’s logo graffiti on Tuesday honors a woman in Orange County who led the fight to end racism at a school in California.
On September 15th, a picture displayed on Google’s home page shows a smiling Felicitas Mendez with a herd of happy children of all races walking to school. Her three children, led by her husband Gonzalo, are among them.
The image was a pure illusion in the early 1940s when her children were of a Mexican descent and were barred from entering a white school in Westminster. Their proceeding, Mendes vs. Westminster, ended the California public school separation and paved the way for the Federal Brown v. Board of Education, which ended the school separation nationwide.
In addition to Doodle, Google featured a three-minute documentary investigating Mendes stories and incidents. Includes family photos and video clips including Felicitas Mendes and his daughter Sylvia Mendes.
I’m very excited because Sylvia Mendes, now 84, who lives in Fullerton, is drawing my mother on Tuesday.
She was the one who said, “Go out and talk” when I retired from nursing. Go around the country and talk about it.
Some of Mendes’ children, centers, and cousins were sent to a Mexican-only school in Westminster, which led to a lawsuit leading to segregation of schools in California. (Courtesy of the Mendes family)
And Silvia Mendes did. She has been telling the story to schools and colleges all over the United States for about 20 years. The effort has been widely praised, and in 2011 Silvia Mendes was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
In 1943, Sylvia and her brothers Gonzalo and Geronimo left what was then called 17th Street School in Westminster. The family was told to go to a nearby Mexican school instead. With the addition of Gonzalo Mendes and five other Mexican fathers, he confronted racist policies in the districts of Westminster, Garden Grove, Santa Anna and Orange (later known as El Modena). In 1946 the Mendes family won a class action proceeding, and in 1947 the Court of Appeals upheld the decision.
The ruling made California the first state in the United States to end school separation.
According to a Google spokeswoman, this drawing and brief documentary posted on the first day of Hispanic Heritage Month in the United States is a 24-hour Doodle on the site. Google often features interactive Doodle and special features woven with its logo to celebrate holidays, anniversaries, and the lives of celebrities.
Artist Emily Barrera said on Google Video that she wants her paintings to inspire conversations.
I hope that when people see this Doodle, the conversation that the Hispanic heritage is an American heritage will begin. It was all together in this. It is part of this country and deserves the same opportunities and opportunities.
Meanwhile, Westminster, who once ignored the legacy of the Mendes incident, worked with the Orange County Department of Education to create a Freedom Trail with an interactive panel telling the story of the incident. According to Sylvia Mendes, the pandemic has postponed the construction of the project, but next month authorities are planning a groundbreaking event for Zoom.
The 2.5-mile trail along Hoover Street between Garden Grove Boulevard and Bolsa Avenue ends in a small park with a monument to the Mendes couple. Initially, the monument was meant to honor only Gonzalo Mendes. According to Sylvia Mendes, Felicitas Mendes couldn’t share the story by talking about her daughter. I also wanted her to be included.
This 1996 photo shows Felicitas Mendes on the left and his daughter Silvia Mendes. (Photo courtesy of Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register / SCNG)
Her daughter said Felicitas Mendes from Puerto Rico, who died in 1998, also played an important role in the proceedings. She helped systematically support the proceedings and managed a family farm that helped pay for the proceedings.
The daughter said she was very happy to be recognized.
In a video clip that comes with Doodle, Felicitas Mendes talks about her legacy.
At least we are proud to have the courage to fight for other children, not for our children. And for the children of their children.
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