Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient talks to UIS students

A civil rights activist and "Presidential Medal of Freedom" recipient was in Springfield Monday, to speak with University of Illinois Springfield students.

Silvia Mendez is a school desegregation pioneer, stopping through town as one of her many trips to colleges this month for Hispanic Heritage month.

When Mendez was eight years old, her parents organized a federal lawsuit against orange county schools with a few other families.

This was one of the first steps to the famous supreme court case: Brown vs. Board of Education. That led to the desegregation of schools, several years later.

Now she travels the country advocating unity and sharing her family’s story.

"Our students in all these universities are our future leaders and we tell them at graduation don't we? ” said Mendez. “So they're the ones that have to find a way to join us, and unite us."

Hundreds of UIS students made it out to see Mendez and hear what she had to say.

Sylvia Mendez also talked about DACA Monday. saying the president's announcement to end it was heartbreaking, but that she still has hopes the program will continue.

This story aired on Fox Illinois on September 18, 2017.

Watch the story online.