Return to Headlines

Felicitas and Gonzalo Mendez High School Community Celebrates the Dedication of the Sylvia Mendez Wellness Center (04-02-22)

For Immediate Release                                                                           Date: April 2, 2022
Contact: Jennifer Valdivia
(213) 414-4812,                                                        

Felicitas and Gonzalo Mendez High School Community Celebrates the Dedication of the Sylvia Mendez Wellness Center

In Commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of the landmark case, Mendez v. Westminster

LOS ANGELES (Apr. 2, 2022) – Board Member Mónica García and several community partners throughout Boyle Heights celebrated the naming of the Sylvia Mendez Wellness Center at Felicitas and Gonzalo Mendez High School. This year marks the 75th Anniversary of the landmark case, Mendez v. Westminster, that ended racial segregation in California, paving the way for Brown v. Board of Education. The Sylvia Mendez Wellness Center is an amazing asset that will provide primary, vision, dental, mental health, and annual physical examinations for all of the school’s athletes. It is one of the largest wellness centers at Los Angeles Unified, and one of 24 total clinics in Board District 2. The Sylvia Mendez Wellness Center is a vision come true for the Boyle Heights Community and part of the district’s goal to fulfill the promises made to underserved students in 1968, including access to equitable facilities and resources to families. The Wellness Center is expected to open by this fall. Dignitaries included Sylvia Mendez, a distinguished recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom and namesake for the Wellness Center.

¡Muchísimas gracias!” Sylvia Mendez said. “This year is the 75th anniversary of Mendez v. Westminster, a time in my life that I will never forget. I am so grateful and honored, and would like to thank everyone that was involved. It took so long to get here, but here we are! You did it! We now have a wellness center to serve our families and students of this community; muchísimas gracias!”

“On the 75th anniversary of the landmark case Mendez v. Westminster School District, we honor the bold civil rights and school integration activist Sylvia Mendez,” Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho said. “We dedicate the wellness center at Felicitas and Gonzalo Mendez High School to a woman who, along with her family, paved the way for health and welfare for all in our school communities.”  

“Congratulations to the Mendez community as we dedicate the Sylvia Mendez Wellness Center,” Board Member Mónica García said. “Your fierce and relentless advocacy inspires a culture and climate that celebrates the love and strength of the Mendez family. We are grateful to the extraordinary Sylvia Mendez, who has dedicated her life to being an ambassador for healing and a better world.”

“It is an incredible honor for our school to be named after Felicitas and Gonzalo Mendez, Civil Rights trailblazers who challenged segregation in public schools in the 1940s,” Mauro Bautista, Principal at Felicitas and Gonzalo Mendez High School said. “Now our new Wellness Center will be named after Sylvia Mendez, the daughter of Felicitas and Gonzalo Mendez, who was in the middle of the Mendez v. Westminster court case of 1947 that declared that segregation in public schools was unconstitutional in the State of California. Sylvia Mendez and the Mendez family are intimately involved with Mendez High School. Sylvia and her family often visit the school, join us in big celebrations, and generously donate to the school. We are proud to be connected to the Mendez family in every way, and we are proud to be home to the Sylvia Mendez Wellness Center.”

“The opening of the Sylvia Mendez Wellness Center will mark a historic milestone for the Boyle Heights community,” Maria Brenes, Executive Director for InnerCity Struggle said. “After many years of organizing and advocacy by students, families, school leadership and community residents, the Wellness Center will be a reality that will serve as a much-needed health resource for our community. I am so grateful to all those that made this possible. The Mendez Family legacy always inspired us to keep moving forward and today we celebrate a momentous community victory!”

“Ensuring that students and families have a convenient, welcoming space to visit for critical wellness services represents a vital step toward equity and justice for our community,” Joan Sullivan, Chief Executive Officer for the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools said. “It is an honor to celebrate the new wellness center, named after Sylvia Mendez, who has never stopped fighting for the equity and justice we seek. The Partnership commends the dedicated advocacy of past and present Mendez students, the entire school team, our community partners, and LA Unified for bringing this invaluable resource to our beloved campus. I cherish the idea that the center will be accessible to our families in Boyle Heights for generations to come.”

"It is an honor to celebrate the naming of the Sylvia Mendez Wellness Center. Much like her advocacy and perseverance, this center exemplifies the tireless efforts of a whole community,” Azucena Hernandez, Co-Director of Community Transformation for Promesa Boyle Heights said. “It's thanks to community residents, community-based organizations, school leaders and Board Member Mónica García’s office that today we are one step closer to having more accessible health services to all. Promesa looks forward to ensuring this wellness center lives up to its name, which represents resiliency, justice and triumph."

“This is a tribute of the power of partnership,” Jim Mangia, Chief Executive Officer for St. John’s Community Health said. “We have been partnering on fighting for this health center for 10 years with Promesa Boyle Heights, InnerCity Struggle, Principal Bautista and Board Member Mónica García. We are so honored to be the provider of healthcare. We promise you, Sylvia Mendez, that this wellness center will provide the most beautiful, highest quality care with love in respect for what you and your family have done for our country.”

Jorge Parrales, owner of Casual Living Murals and East L.A. native, unveiled a beautiful mural in dedication of Sylvia Mendez. Parrales has completed murals at: Santee Educational Complex, Commonwealth Avenue Elementary, Euclid Avenue Elementary, and others.