Do you know the story of Sylvia Mendez and her family’s fight for desegregation?
Author and Illustrator Duncan Tonatiuh @abramsbooks articulately tells her family’s story- our country’s story.
In 1944 Sylvia was a smart, hard working, English speaking Mexican American girl who moved with her family from Santa Ana California to a farm in Westminster California. Her family -American Citizens- were surprised when her lighter skinned cousins with the last name of Vidaurri, were handed enrollment forms for school but she and her brothers were told they needed to attend the “Mexican School.”
Why? “Because rules are rules.”
So began the battle to prove that their family did in fact have the right to attend the same school as other children. That they did have the right to go to a school with clean spacious classrooms and a playground. That it was NOT constitutional to send them to the “Mexican school” housed in a small shack with an electric fence that shocked the children and had no playground.
Mr. Mendez and other proactive parents researched facts, found a lawyer and went to court. It took the U.S. Supreme Court to over-rule the prejudiced lower court’s California ruling, that Mexican children were inferior to white children. Similar suits followed in Arizona and Texas…to ripple further until the Mendez v. Westminster School Board victory paved the way for the 1954 Brown v Board of education victory that finally desegregated schools for the entire country!
I am grateful for the inspired constitution of the United States of America that provides the foundation for us today to continue to raise our voices and set our sights on creating a country whose actions and laws do in fact match it’s words #walkthetalk
This book and others in this #socialjustice4kidscollab are in hopes of enabling our Countries Motto to become a reality “E Pluribus Unum” – “out of many, one”.
That is My hope and the hopes of @keepabookout @franimalcookies who created this collaboration of instagrammers who care about our country and about the people of great value- of all colors- living within it. You DO belong here! All voices matter!