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SCC to Host Traveling Exhibit: A Class Action - The Grassroots Struggle for School Desegregation in California



For Immediate Release:

(September 24, 2022) – Orange, CA - - In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month and as an opportunity to pay the ultimate tribute to Santiago Canyon College's (SCC) library namesake, Lorenzo A. Ramirez, the college is privileged to serve as the host location for the traveling exhibit, A Class Action - - The Grassroots Struggle for School Desegregation in California. A ribbon cutting ceremony and reception will kick-off the exhibit's opening set for Tuesday, September 27, 6 p.m., on the first floor of SCC's Lorenzo A. Ramirez Library, located at 8045 E. Chapman Ave., in Orange, CA 92869.

Jointly sponsored by the Museum of Teaching and Learning (MOTAL) and the Orange Unified School District (OUSD), the exhibit will remain on display through the 9th of December.  SCC student docents will be available to provide guided tours to the general public, as well as OUSD students.

In March 1945, five Mexican-American families sued four school districts in Orange County, CA (El Modena, Santa Ana, Garden Grove and Westminster) on behalf of an entire community whose children were required to attend segregated “Mexican schools."  Their class action lawsuit became known as Mendez et al.v. Westminster School District  After two years of fighting, the families won their case and ended segregation in public schools across the State of California. Moreover, the court's decision in this case created a powerful impact on the 1954 United States Supreme Court ruling in Brown vs. Board of Education that “separate education facilities are inherently unequal" and the subsequent desegregation of schools across the country.

“During the 1940s, most Mexican Americans in Orange County confronted segregation every day.  In restaurants, movie theaters, and even when they went to school, they were kept apart from others," noted Greta Nagel, Ph.D., founder and director of MOTAL. “Fortunately, they had the right- and the responsibility- to try to make things better. They talked to teachers, principals, and lawyers about their rights, and eventually, they asked a judge to consider their case."

Lorenzo A. Ramirez was one of the local residents who courageously fought for his children's education along with Thomas Estrada, William Guzman, Frank Palomillo and Gonzalo Mendez.

MOTAL created this traveling exhibit as an opportunity to educate more about our local history and spotlight the positive impact that one's legacy can leave on our community. While exploring the exhibit, visitors and students will learn more about these five families, what they were fighting for, how they fought, and what happened after they won.

 “For Santiago Canyon College, planning for our future clearly begins by reflecting back upon our community's past," noted Interim President, Enrique Perez. “SCC is a proud public institution that's open to everyone who wants to learn. It's difficult to imagine what these parents were going through as they struggled to give their children and future descendants the right to receive an equal education as their peers."

 SCC's Lorenzo A. Ramirez Library is open to the public, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.  OUSD students will begin visiting the exhibit every Thursday and Friday, from 9:45 a.m. to 12:45 pm., starting October 6 through December 9.

For more information about A Class Action - - The Grassroots Struggle for School Desegregation in California traveling exhibit hosted by SCC, contact Public Information Officer, Lilia Rodriguez, at 714.628.5936 or via email at:

What Happens Here Matters​

About Santiago Canyon College -
Santiago Canyon College (SCC) is one of two colleges in the Rancho Santiago Community College District. Accredited in 2000, this dynamic and award-winning institution is located in Southern California, in the city of Orange, and provides an array of educational opportunities to the over 195,000 residents comprising the eclectic community. SC​C offers 221 degree and certificate programs (including 28 transferable associate degrees). Ranked among the “50 Best Community Colleges" in the U.S. by College Choice, SCC was recognized multiple times by the Chronicle of Higher Education as one of “The Great Colleges to Work for," received Gold-level status as a Military Friendly School® and boasts dedicated faculty, high-quality and student-centered education, with excellent university transfer rates supported by transfer-guarantee programs. For more info, visit:


Lilia Rodriguez
Public Information Officer
Santiago Canyon College
Office: 714.628.5936