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Lucinda Garcia

Lucinda Garcia was not recognized in her lifetime for her fight against segregation in Monrovia, but her contributions to civil rights were honored decades after her death when Olive Avenue Park was renamed in her honor. A committee formed to identify historical figures of Latino heritage chose Lucinda to pay tribute to the city's rich Latino heritage. She was chosen as the historical figure in town most deserving of recognition. The committee quickly zeroed in on Garcia, who was born in 1880 and fought institutionalized racism in Monrovia throughout the 1950s.

"At that time Monrovia, like most of this country, had very clear unwritten boundaries that separated communities," former City Manager Scott Ochoa said. "The Hispanic community was very much an enclave unto itself. I think what really makes her standout ... was that she was a pioneer in the area of civil rights." Garcia's most notable battle came against the priest at a local church, which at the time was dominated by the Irish and Italian families. Garcia demanded equal treatment for Latinos, who were kept from participating in many church ceremonies at the time. They were also restricted to sitting in the back of the church. A Hispanic female taking on a priest was a bold step, perhaps even fearless. Garcia was an advocate for what would amount to equal status in institutions as sacrosanct, at least at that time, as the Roman Catholic Church. A descendant of the legendary Palomares family, which owned property throughout the region, Garcia was known as a Doña, or family matriarch. She held a lot of sway in the local Latino community, and helped to organize neighborhoods to fight against racial injustice both at the church and in local government. She died in 1958 at the age of 78. The Garcia family continues to flourish in Monrovia and many of Garcia's descendants still live in the city. The City of Monrovia was proud to honor Lucinda Garcia’s legacy with the re-naming of the park and pleased to acknowledge her heritage that was largely ignored in the city’s long history.

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