Gloria Molina, Pioneering Latina Politician, Dies at 74

Author: Yuvi May 21, 2023 Gloria Molina, Pioneering Latina Politician, Dies at 74

Ms. Molina, who served on the board until term limits ended her tenure in 2014, was right that her victory was no token; today, all five supervisors are women.

Roz Wyman, a groundbreaker herself — in 1953, at 22, she became the youngest person ever elected to the Los Angeles City Council — once reflected on Ms. Molina’s “firsts.”

“We had a saying in those days: ‘Can a woman break the glass ceiling?'” she said. “Not only did she break it, she busted it in every way that you could possibly bust a glass ceiling.”

Gloria Molina was born on May 31, 1948, in Montebello, a Los Angeles suburb. Her father, Leonardo, was a construction worker who was born in Los Angeles but raised in Casas Grandes, Mexico, and her mother, Concepción, was a homemaker from Mexico. The couple immigrated in the 1940s, and Gloria was the oldest of 10 children.

“She was almost like a second mom in the family,” Ms. Molina’s daughter, Valentina Martinez, said in a video about her mother made in 2020 for the Mexican-American Cultural Education Foundation. “She did everything. She would tell me that she would come home from school every day and make tortillas for her brothers and sisters. She didn’t get to have fun or go to after-school programs. She was always kind of doing the hard work, making sure everyone was taken care of, changing diapers, cooking, doing all of that. So she was a tough lady from the very beginning.”

She was, Ms. Molina said, “brought up in a very traditionally Chicano family.”

“The expectations were that you were going to get married and have children,” she said in an oral history recorded in 1990 for the Online Archive of California. “You weren’t going to go on to be anything other than maybe what your mom was.”

But she told her mother that she didn’t want to get married young; she wanted to travel and work and get her own place.

Author: Yuvi

My name is Yuvi, I work as Sub Editor at

21 May, 2023, 10:31 pm

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