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Evie's Desk: In Memory of Two Great Leaders of Our Nation

October 31, 2005
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In the same week, America has lost two great leaders with the passing of civil rights activist Rosa Parks and a personal friend and mentor, the Honorable Edward Roybal. Both were true champions of the underserved in our nation.

Congressman Roybal used his position as a member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee in the 1960s and '70s to secure congressional funding for key programs, such as the first federal bilingual education law, which established English classes for migrant children and others.

He was a trailblazer his entire life, the first Latino from California elected to Congress in the 20th Century and a voice for social justice and equality. He was a symbol of Latino hopes and dreams, someone who nurtured emerging leaders such as First 5 LA Chair Gloria Molina and of course, his daughter, U.S. Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, who followed in her father's footsteps.

I feel privileged to have known this American icon, a man who never stopped working to make life better for all families in our community. He was an inspiration to me and to many others—and his legacy will live on in the work we do here at First 5 LA to ensure that that LA county's children receive the best possible start in life.

Evelyn V. Martinez
Executive Director
First 5 LA


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