Sylvia Mendez is an American personality currently known as a civil rights activist. She has been involved in social welfare activities for the people who support Mexican and Puerto Rican heritage. Mendez grew up when the South and Southeast schools were both separated into parts. In California, Hispanics were not allowed to attend schools that were intended for whites. There were various Mexican schools for such people and children. Similarly, Mendez had to fight hard to get enrolled in a school. Only at a school for “whites” was she denied admission.
This event prompted her parents to take action and together form the Hispanic Community Organization to file a lawsuit in local federal court. The success of their actions, of which Mendez was a catalyst, ended when the era of segregated educational life came to an end. For this reason, on February 15, 2011, Mendez was honored with the presentation of the Presidential Medal of Freedom (regarded as one of the highest civilian honors).
Sylvia Mendez was born on June 7, 1936 and will be 86 years old in 2022. She was raised in Santa Ana, California by her loving and caring parents named Gonzalo Mendez (who was a Mexican immigrant who started a successful farming business in California) and Felicitas Mendez (who was from Juncos, Puerto Rico). It was around the time of World War II when the Mendez family had to move from Santa Ana to Westminster and they tended to get back their farm which they had leased from a Japanese-American family and later sent to an internment camp.
This was the great time in history when the United States was experiencing racial discrimination and not giving equal rights to Hispanics or other minorities. Westminster had only two schools in the 1940s, other than the district-mandated separate campuses for Hispanics and whites.
A life of struggle
When Mendez turned eight, her family attempted to register her and her brother’s names at a nearby elementary school. However, the school would not allow Mendez in because she was black and of Hispanic culture. Due to the school’s small size and the unavailability of certain facilities, Mendez was unable to accept her into either school. This led to Mendez taking legal action against the authorities and the school’s law. It was the time of 1943 when Mendez was only eight years old and accompanied her aunt Sally Vidaurri, her brothers and cousins to enroll all the children in elementary school.
Her aunt was told by school authorities that her children were fair skinned in order for them to be admitted. However, neither Mendez nor her brother were allowed entry because she was black and belonged to the Hispanic community. This prompted Mrs. Sally Vidaurri to storm out of the school with her children, niece and nephew. Sylvia Mendez had to fight for her rights in court for years.
She successfully played her role while pursuing a lawsuit in court urging Hispanics to allow admission into the good and respected schools. Eventually, in January 1948, Sylvia and her siblings enrolled at 17th Street Elementary School (which was whites-only), eventually becoming the first Hispanics to be allowed to sit in the whites-only school.
Sylvia Mendez’s career
Sylvia lost her parents and eventually embarked on a career based on a well-endowed educational society. However, she had to fight against various things, so she was called names at school. But she stayed true to her education, knowing that she had to fight for this long time. She became a nurse, landed a sustainable job and a good lifestyle, and ended her career while working for at least 30 years.
Sylvia Mendez Biography
|date of birth
|June 7, 1936
|Age (as of 2022)
|place of birth
|Santa Ana, California, United States
|in feet inches – 5′ 7” – in centimeters – 170 cm
|in kilograms – 80kg – in pounds – 176 pounds
Sylvia Mendez Family
|Sandra Mendez Duran
|Gonzalo Mendez Jr., Jerome Mendez, Phillip Mendez, Victor Mendez
|Hoover Elementary School
|Elementary School on South 17th Street
Sylvia Mendez has never married in her entire life. She adopted two girls to live in Fullerton, California. Meanwhile, Mendez traveled and gave tours about her life story and how, as a Hispanic personality, she came to be an advocate for her educational rights. She filed a valid lawsuit and fought and enrolled in the educational institutions. With that success, California became the first nation to end school segregation and paved the way for other nations to do the same.
Sylvia Mendez Net Worth
What is certain is that Sylvia earns well. She has been involved in the field of teaching students and raising awareness of people’s freedom and rights. Sylvia has been an activist for many years. She was also a nurse who worked at least 30 years of her life. Sylvia Mendez’s net worth is estimated to be around one million dollars.