Sylvia Mendez was in third grade when her parents were told she could not attend the whites-only school in Orange County, California. They fought back, and their action paved the path for desegregation of schools throughout the United States.
Gonzalo and Felicitas Mendez filed a lawsuit against four southern California school districts for their policies on segregation. Mendez v. Westminster became a landmark case, and set precedent for Brown v. Board of Education, the Supreme Court case that put an end to school segregation.
Mendez spoke with Horizonte about her experience with discrimination at such a young age, and how her parents’ fight for equality impacted how she lived her life.