Josefina Ramirez, Matriarch of the Ramirez Clan of Mendez, et al v. Westminster Fame, Passes Away

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for lorenzoramirez.jpg
Courtesy of the Ramirez family
Josefina, at right, with her husband Lorenzo and their two children
Sad news to report out of Riverside County: Josefina Ramirez, the matriarch of the Ramirez clan that was involved in the historic Mendez, et al. vs. Westminster case, passed away Oct. 28 at age 99, just two weeks before her 100th birthday.

Ramirez was the wife of Lorenzo Ramirez, the El Modena resident who was one of the lead plaintiffs in the historic desegregation case that helped to influence legal thinking in the more-famous Brown vs. Board of Education. But as I wrote in a 2009 cover story, the stories of Ramirez and three other families were largely forgotten, as the advocates for the Mendez clan placed that family above all others, forever saddening said families--but especially the Ramirezes. Most infamously, when Chapman University held a dedication ceremony for a reading room dedicated in the case's honor, the Ramirezes weren't invited.

Josefina was still upset about the lack of recognition when I spoke to her three years ago. "Since [the advocates of the case] started, it was just with them [the Mendezes]," she said then. "I don't want my husband to be in the front, but I don't want him forgotten, either."

Thanks to the efforts of the Ramirez family and people who believe in total history, Josefina's wishes have started to become true. Last year, El Modena High School named their library in Lorenzo's honor, and more recognition will surely come to the family.

Josefina's passing marks the second death involving the case; earlier this year, God called Arthur Palomino, son of another plaintiff, Frank Palomino. As with the Palomino family, our thoughts and prayers are with Josefina's children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and all her family and friends, and our eternal gratitude goes out to this amazing woman for her family's contribution to make Orange County a better place for all.

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3 comments
Mitchell_Young
Mitchell_Young

James Kilpatrick's "Sovereign States" makes an eloquent case *for* segregation -- as does the fact that some members of  'minorities' actually self-segregate now (Urban Prep Academy, Semillas del Pueblo, both government funded charter schools). But whatever the justice or injustice of segregation (and let's face it, Brown was BS legally), I can't help but feeling their is a straight line from Mendez et al. to  this description of California's NAEP scores for 2011.

 

" California ranked between 46th and 49th among the states this year in reading and math. And Los Angeles Unified’s scores are in the bottom third to half of the urban districts."

 

 

 

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