In the bustling city of Los Angeles, there lived a remarkable woman who shattered glass ceilings and left an indelible mark on her community. Gloria Molina, a name that resonates with strength and fearlessness, passed away recently, leaving behind a legacy that will forever be remembered.
I had the privilege of meeting Gloria Molina during the midst of a scandal that rocked Los Angeles City Hall. Despite her busy schedule, she graciously granted me an interview, where she passionately spoke about the scandal and the need for true leadership. Her candid nature and unwavering commitment to her constituents earned her the trust and admiration of many.
Gloria Molina’s journey of breaking barriers began long before that interview. She made history as the first Latina elected to the state assembly, the LA City Council, and the all-male LA County Board of Supervisors. These achievements were not easily won. Molina faced opposition from the Anglo establishment and even some of her male Latino counterparts, who believed she should wait her turn. But she persisted, driven by her desire to fight for the rights of her working-class minority constituents.
During our conversation, Molina’s vibrant purple-streaked hair served as a reminder of her audacity and the boldness with which she lived her life. Her determination was evident in every aspect of her career, from advocating for her community to ensuring that her voice was heard in rooms dominated by men.
Molina’s impact extended beyond politics. She was instrumental in the creation of the Plaza de Cultura y Artes, a museum dedicated to the Mexican-American story. Her love for quilting, a cherished hobby, inspired the community to create a quilt adorned with colorful squares bearing messages of support. This heartfelt gesture will be presented to Molina’s family as a symbol of appreciation and remembrance.
The fight against a proposed prison in East LA showcased Molina’s unwavering resolve. Collaborating with Father John Moretta, she tirelessly rallied against political heavyweights and spearheaded the movement to keep the prison out of the community. Her efforts paid off, and the victory became a legendary chapter in Eastside lore—a testament to Molina’s tenacity and the power of collective action.
On a personal level, I, like many others, will deeply miss Gloria Molina’s extraordinary life force. As a fellow Latina and journalist, she served as an inspiration and role model. Her encouraging words and presence at community events were a source of motivation for aspiring Latinas navigating uncharted territories. In rooms where she often stood alone as the only woman and Latina, she paved the way for others to follow, offering guidance and hope.
Gloria Molina’s legacy is one of courage, resilience, and unwavering determination. She led us to unexplored paths and showed us what it means to break barriers. Her impact on LA County and beyond will be felt for generations to come. As we bid farewell to this remarkable trailblazer, we honor her memory and strive to continue her work, ensuring that her vision of equality and justice lives on.