Students at Garden Grove Unified School District are eligible to attend a conference on civil rights, community advocacy, social justice and other topics later this week.

The student-led Latinos Unidos Summer Conference “will provide GGUSD high school students with the opportunity to learn about the historical and cultural perspective of the Latino community. Breakout sessions will explore several topics, including Mendez v. Westminster, Chicano studies, advocacy, community service, social justice and personal leadership”, according to a news release.

“Mexican-American activist and businessman Rueben Martinez will serve as the keynote speaker and Sylvia Mendez will facilitate a breakout session. Mendez is the daughter of Gonzalo Mendez, a Mexican immigrant, and Felicitas Mendez, a Puerto Rican immigrant, who fought for equal education through the landmark court case Mendez v. Westminster,” the news release said.

The 1946 federal court Mendez v. Westminster decision challenged segregation of California schools. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled It was unconstitutional to require Hispanic students to attend separate “Mexican schools.”

According to the release, speakers will include Superintendent Gabriela Mafi, Senior Manager of Education for the Orange County United Way and Westminster City Councilman Sergio Contreras, Associate Professor and Chair of the CSUF Chicana and Chicano Studies Department Alexandro José Gradilla and motivational speaker Vincent Bello.

“Free transportation is available for high school students within the district. To register for the event or for more information, email Dr. Eimi Garcia at”

The event is sponsored by the school district and Orange County United Way.

It will be held at Mihaylo hall at Cal State Fullerton on Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. More details available here.

You can reach Nick Gerda at, and follow him on Twitter: @nicholasgerda.

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