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Gloria Molina’s Living Legacy. And Other News.

Gloria Molina, a Latina woman with black hair with a streak of grey on one side, smiles at the camera. She is wearing a pearl necklace and a top with a print of red flowers and green leaves.
Gloria Molina.
(David Livingston
Getty Images)
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Before Gloria Molina got her start as the first Latina to be elected to the California State Assembly in 1982, she was a student activist at East Los Angeles College, fighting for the rights of Mexican Americans over a decade earlier in the National Chicano Moratorium Against the Vietnam War.

She said that experience opened up a whole “new world” for her.

The many firsts throughout Molina's life

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She went on to work in the Carter administration and in the Department of Health and Human Services.

After coming back home to L.A., she broke more barriers by becoming the first Latina elected to the Los Angeles City Council. Then she became the first Latina elected to the L.A. County Board of Supervisors, where she served for 23 years

But now, she’s entering a new season in her life.

“I’ve lived a long, fulfilling and beautiful life,” Molina said in a statement posted on Facebook Tuesday. The 74-year-old trailblazer announced she’s been fighting terminal cancer for three years.

Throughout her political career, Molina has been a champion for East L.A. communities, helping stop a prison from being built there and fighting other environmental justice battles. She even helped save the Tamale Building from the wrecking ball.

We’re here to help curious Angelenos connect with others, discover the new, navigate the confusing, and even drive some change along the way.

More news

(After you stop hitting snooze)

  • L.A. schools staff say they will stage a three-day strike starting on March 21. That means all L.A. Unified District schools will close as teachers stand in solidarity with workers. Many workers in LAUSD, including some custodians and those who serve up lunch in the cafeterias, are demanding a wage increase and other benefits. They say a new, better contract would help relieve financial stress they’ve experienced for years. 
  • Mayor Karen Bass said Wednesday that her administration has been successful in moving unhoused people off the streets and into temporary shelter, like hotel rooms. The harder part is getting them into permanent housing. My colleague David Wagner recaps what she says is being done to address the issue.
  • Following record rain that has boosted reservoir levels, water restrictions have been lifted for almost 7 million people around Southern California who rely on the State Water Project. The State Water Resources Board decided to lift the conservation measure Tuesday but urged people to still limit water use. (Los Angeles Times
  • Without federal subsidies, eight of 10 tenants in Los Angeles would pay rents that are unaffordable by government standards. With them, that number is cut in half. But as reporter Ted Rohrlich reports, the heavy dependence on additional subsidies raises a public policy question: Is it fair to shower a relatively small segment of those in need with multiple subsidies while leaving the majority of those in need with none?
  • Former L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti was confirmed as Ambassador to India. The Senate backed the nomination Wednesday 52-42. 
  • Several homes in San Clemente are at risk of sliding down a seaside cliff after recent rains eroded the hillside. A local state of emergency was declared in Orange County on Tuesday by the county's Board of Supervisors.
  • It’s been pouring but people keep flocking to Anaheim. Whether it's to visit Disneyland or go to the Convention Center there, officials say the number of tourists has not dipped this winter.
  • University of California Regents once again did not take up the issue of employment for undocumented students at its most recent meeting. A multi-campus coalition has been urging UC to loosen restrictions and provide them with work permits.
  • *At LAist we will always bring you the news freely, but occasionally we do include links to other publications that may be behind a paywall. Thank you for understanding! 

Wait... One More Thing

How Persian restaurants in LA are feeding a revolution

A brick-looking building with a terracotta facade has the sign "taste of Tehran" in front, with another sign saying "westwood court" in blue on the side, above a faded American flag
Taste of Tehran in Westwood is one of many Iranian restaurants in the neighborhood that are amplifying the voices of protestors and supporting the movement in a variety of ways.
(Samanta Helou Hernandez
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The Persian New Year Nowruz is Monday but celebrations may be dampened as the unrest in Iran continues. Decades-long tensions between the government there and its citizens exploded after a 22-year-old Kurdish-Iranian woman died in police custody last fall. In L.A., which has the largest community of Iranians outside of Tehran, large protests and vigils have taken place to honor her life and bring attention to the issue.

As Ayda Safaei wrote in her latest article for the LAist, some Persian restaurant owners in Southern California have been serving more than just food. They’ve become safe havens for women and girls’ rights advocates to start a dialogue about what’s actually happening.

Saghar Fanisalek, the chef and owner of Taste of Tehran, is one of them. Her restaurant has been a place where people learn about what’s happening in Iran. Food brings the conversation. But Fanisalek is actually doing more than just cooking popular Iranian dishes at her restaurant: she’s organizing and attending protests.

Read more about Fanisalek’s efforts and what other restaurant owners are doing to provide for the Iranian community here.

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