On what would have been Gloria Molina’s 75th birthday, Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez joined, by the late politician’s daughter, Valentina Martinez and other family members, unveiled the “Gloria Molina Legacy Pathway.”
“I have to say this is probably by far the best present anyone could have given her; the fact that the crosswalk is going to be colored purple … I don’t think she would have ever imagined it in her wildest dreams, and I think that is such a beautiful gift for her and her legacy and something she would have just loved. She would have really, really loved it,” said Valentina Martinez. “This is such a wonderful way to honor my mother on her 75th birthday … it is just so beautiful.”
Other members of Molina’s family also attended the unveiling along with long-time former staff members and Councilman Kevin de Leon and Curran Price.
There are four crosswalk locations with ceremonial signs now in downtown Los Angeles that will be remembrances for Molina located at Grand Avenue, North Hill Street, North Broadway and North Spring Street.
Councilwoman Rodriguez, who represents the San Fernando Valley, is among other Latina politicians who give Molina much credit for paving the way for their success in running for public office.
When others attempted to discourage her from running for office, Molina persisted, known from the start as an “unspoken fighter,” she broke new political ground and made history serving in public office on the most powerful branches of government.
She was the first Latina elected as a California State Assembly member, Los Angeles City Council member and as a Los Angeles County Supervisor and LA County Transportation Authority. She changed the gender and color of those who held political seats that had been white and male dominated.
“Gloria Molina was a fierce advocate for government to do better for and by our communities. She was a powerful Chicana that spoke truth to power, unapologetically taking on powerful interests for the good of the people,” said Monica Rodriguez. “She was a trailblazer whose ‘her-story-making’ work and legacy will be celebrated daily by those that walk the path through Grand Park from the Halls of County Government to the City.”
While Molina is best known for her work first as a community activist and later for her life’s work in public service that championed justice for those who didn’t have representation and were the most vulnerable.
But what isn’t well known, Molina was also instrumental in the creation of public spaces and supporting the arts. It was her vision to construct a major park in downtown Los Angeles and she fought hard for the completion of Grand Park. Since her passing on May 14, the park has been renamed as Gloria Molina Grand Park. She also had the vision to create La Plaza de Cultura y Artes across from LA’s Olvera Street that now serves as a museum, cultural center and a popular venue for community events. She also established the East Side Arts initiative that provides grants to support artists.
Molina passed away after a three-year fight with cancer. With the news that the disease was terminal and aggressive, she released a public statement to convey that she wasn’t sad and had a “long, fulfilling and beautiful life.” She wrote that she felt fortunate that she had an “amazing caring family, wonderful friends and worked with committed colleagues and a loyal team.”
A celebration of life for Gloria Molina will be held at La Plaza de Cultura y Artes on Saturday, July 15, at 5 p.m. It will be open to the public.