SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WRSP) — A civil rights activist and "Presidential Medal of Freedom" recipient was in Springfield Monday, to speak with UIS 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 here what she had to say.
"She's very welcoming and nice,” said one student Crystal Terrazas who also made it to a luncheon with Mendez. “And doesn't judge, and you want to keep talking to her, she's just very humble."
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.