We Are Alive When We Speak for Justice

Book reading at Cal State LA highlights personal stories inspired by Mendez landmark case

By LatinoLA Contributor
Published on LatinoLA: November 9, 2015

We Are Alive When We Speak for Justice

Cal State LA recently hosted a group of Mendez High School student authors for a special book reading of "We Are Alive When We Speak for Justice" in the University-Student Union Theatre.

The Mendez High School students featured on the panel included Madison Ramirez, Azucena Robledo, Kimberly Espinoza, Daniela Elizondo and Kenny Coronel.

The book is a collection of stories written by seniors from Mendez High School in Boyle Heights after learning about Mendez v. Westminster, the landmark court case that led to the desegregation of schools in California.

The young girl at the center of Mendez v. Westminster, Sylvia Mendez, went on to graduate from Cal State LA and to become a registered nurse. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States' highest civilian honor, on February 15, 2011.

"We Are Alive When We Speak for Justice" was published last spring as part of 826LA's Young Authors Book Project. Cal State LA students assisted the Mendez High School writers and created lesson plans to prepare them for the project. As a whole, the stories provide a combination of historical reflection and autobiographical testimony.

The event is co-sponsored by the Cal State LA Charter College of Education, Department of History, Urban Learning Students Association, and the University's Center for Engagement, Service, and the Public Good.

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