Sylvia's Story: Mendez v. Westminster
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Sylvia's Story: Mendez v. Westminster

1 hr. CLE

When: Friday, October 11, 2019
2:00 - 3:00 pm
Where: Birch Bayh Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse
46 E Ohio Street
William E. Steckler Ceremonial (Courtroom 202)
Indianapolis, Indiana  46204
United States
Contact: Kristin Owens

Online registration is closed.
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Sylvia's Story: Mendez v. Westminster 


Sponsored by the ISBA Latino Affairs Committee 

and  the United States District Court, Southern District of Indiana


1 hr. CLE


2:00 - 3:00 pm

Sylvia's Story: Mendez v. Westminster

Sylvia Mendez


In September 1943, a nine-year-old girl and her brothers attempted to enroll at the 17th Street School in Westminster, California. School officials told the family that, because of their Hispanic heritage and appearance, the children could not attend the local school and would instead have to enroll at the so-called “Mexican” school ten blocks away. The children’s parents, along with four other families, filed a federal lawsuit known as Mendez v. Westminster. In 1947, the case made its way to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which upheld a district court’s ruling that “segregation…in school districts fosters antagonisms in the children and suggests inferiority among them where none exists,” in violation of the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause. Mendez v. Westminster led to a bill that ended school segregation in California and laid the groundwork for the United States Supreme Court’s 1954 decision in Brown v. Board of Education


Sylvia Mendez, the girl whose parents fought for her to receive an equal education, will share her recollections and reflections on the case and how her parents’ actions changed the course of her life. Having worked tirelessly to educate students across the country on the significance of Mendez v. Westminster, Ms. Mendez received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011 in recognition of her “message of tolerance and opportunity to children of all backgrounds and all walks of life.”


Joining Ms. Mendez will be Judge Jose Salinas of the Marion Superior Court. Judge Salinas will provide a legal analysis of Mendez v. Westminster. Ms. Mendez and Judge Salinas will answer questions from the audience; musical entertainment and refreshments will also be provided. 



Free for all attendees - registration is required.