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Board Member Mónica García and Los Angeles Unified Board of Education Name Miramar Campus in Honor of Social Justice Warrior Mike Garcia and Former President of SEIU Local 1877 and USWW (11-15-22)

For Immediate Release          

Contact: Jennifer Valdivia 
(213) 414-4812,

Board Member Mónica García and Los Angeles Unified Board of Education Name Miramar Campus in Honor of Social Justice Warrior Mike Garcia and Former President of SEIU Local 1877 and USWW

(Los Angeles, CA, Nov. 15, 2022) — Board Member Mónica García and the Los Angeles Unified Board of Education named the Miramar school site in honor of social justice warrior and labor leader, Mike Garcia. Mike Garcia was born in 1951 in East Los Angeles to Mexican American parents. He began his career in labor in 1980, building strong voices for worker rights, immigrant rights and social justice in California. Between 1988 and 2014, Mike Garcia served as the President of SEIU-1877 that became the statewide 40,000-member strong SEIU USWW. He led a three-week strike of janitors in Los Angeles demanding greater gains and higher wages. He was recognized for creating and advocating for educational opportunities for his members and their children, founding the Building Skills Partnership in 2007. The Mike Garcia Learning Center celebrates and commemorates the historical achievements of his life and transformational leadership for Los Angeles and its families. His life work and legacy have, and will continue to inspire, activism and leadership. In recognition of the support of his wife and family, the library at this school was named “Primera Dama de la Union! Gloria Garcia Library”.

“Mike Garcia modeled leadership that was unapologetic about creating social, educational and economic change for the working families he represented and their communities,” Board Member Mónica García said. “Mike Garcia urged me to do all I could as a member of the Board of Education to provide his members with high quality academic opportunity and support to interrupt poverty and honor the civil rights of his members and their children, many attending Los Angeles Unified schools. We are grateful to his wife and La Primera Dama de la Union, Gloria Garcia, and his entire family for their sacrifice and support over the years.”

“A tenacious advocate for workers across California, Mike Garcia led a life with a demonstrated history of empowering our most marginalized communities and a voice for meaningful change,” Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho said. “Mr. Garcia’s impactful work created opportunities for individuals to overcome social, economic and political barriers. His work continues to reverberate in our communities today. We honor his life and legacy with the dedication of the Mike Garcia Learning Center.”

“Mike Garcia was a fearless advocate with an unwavering commitment to the dignity of all workers, especially immigrants,” Board President Kelly Gonez said. “We are honored to share his legacy, resilience and inspiration with the students of Los Angeles.”

“Mike García was a powerful figure and a true social justice warrior who spent his life advocating for working families—something that wouldn’t have been possible without the support of his own family throughout his career,” Board Vice President Nick Melvoin said. “We are proud to honor the legacy of both Mike and his wife Gloria with today’s dedications.”

"I am glad that Los Angeles Unified will honor Mike Garcia by renaming a school after him. He was a visionary leader whose work empowered so many workers to change their conditions and their families’ both in Los Angeles and across California and in so doing, he helped revitalize the labor movement," Board Member Scott M. Schmerelson said. 

“The most powerful movements have come from the heart, from personal experience, and with the community,” said Board Member Tanya Ortiz Franklin. “I am proud to support today’s decision of honoring and naming the Learning Center at Miramar Street after Mike Garcia, who gifted the world a legacy of conviction rooted in social justice, inspiring generations of students, families, employees and community members.”

“Mike Garcia was a labor leader who helped several thousands of property service workers in a movement that helped workers achieve a more just way of living and working,” Executive Director of Building Skills Partnership Luis Sandoval said. “Today, his legacy continues through Building Skills Partnership (BSP); an organization with programs for workers throughout LA and the state of California that improves the lives of property service workers in low-wage industries and their families. It is incredible that this notable Los Angeles Unified school now carries Mike Garcia’s name, continuing his legacy and honor for working people and their children, and will continue to inspire thousands of people in Los Angeles. Thank you, Los Angeles Unified, for making his name known to the next generation of leaders that will continue to create a more just society.”

“I’ve had the privilege of serving side by side with Mike Garcia, my mentor, friend and leader for over 14 years,” President of California SEIU State Council David Huerta said. “The naming of an educational center after Mike Garcia is important for our members and the communities they live in to build better futures for their families. He worked to remove barriers, giving access to more educational opportunities. Mike Garcia guided SEIU through years of dramatic growth and as a lifelong champion for people of color, and at a time when our nation needs healing, the learning center is a token of justice to the legacy of Mike Garcia.” 

“Mike Garcia was a visionary leader who understood that access to quality education was the primary pathway out of poverty,” Lilia García-Brower, who worked with Mike Garcia to improve industry standards, said. “Given the market challenges in the industry, he prioritized incorporating an education program that provided immigrant janitors with a vehicle to achieve upward mobility through education.” 

“I met Mike Garcia in 1996 as an intern and have had the privilege of working under his leadership for 20 years,” Aida Cardenas, the previous Internal Organizing Director at SEIU USWW and worked under Mike Garcia, said. “He wanted his legacy to be about the kids. It has always been about the kids for him and even founded a scholarship for those who needed a vote of confidence that somebody believed in them. Thank you for this consideration. Que viva Mike Garcia y los niños!”