East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice info@eycej.org 323.263.2113

Madeline Gardea Scholarship

The loved ones of passed Madeline Gardea, community leader and original EYCEJ member, have established a new scholarship fund through East Yard. Please read the beautiful tribute below by Jason Gardea Stinnett (community leader and Madeline’s son) and click the link to learn more about the scholarship and donate to the fund.

#WeAreJustTryingToBreathe

“Madeline Gardea had a lifelong commitment to social and environmental justice and was always at the ready to fight on behalf of the vulnerable and those in need.

With her passing on January 2, 2017, our family felt this would be a fitting tribute to carry on her memory and the work that mattered most to her.

A high school dropout, Madeline graduated from beauty school in the 60’s to become a State board certified Cosmetologist. She eventually went back to get her high school diploma after which she attended community college to further her career.
Ultimately, she became a teacher for the Los Angeles Unified School District’s cosmetology program, which started at Roosevelt High School and eventually was moved to the East Los Angeles Occupational Center.

Madeline was also a strong supporter of organized labor. A former member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers when she worked at Gould Electronics in Downey, California, when she began teaching, she became a dedicated member of the teacher’s union, the United Teachers of Los Angeles. As a shop steward for many years, she fought to ensure an appropriate learning environment, not only for her fellow teachers, but for the students they served, many of whom experienced the socioeconomic challenges so familiar to the East Side.

She was a warrior outside of work as well. An original member of East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice, an organization she served for well over a decade, she was a tireless advocate for the people of Commerce and Southeast Los Angeles.
While living on Astor Avenue in the City of Commerce just four houses down from Bandini Park, she was a one woman army constantly at war with the railroads to lessen the impact of polluting, idling trains, which negatively impacted her health and contributed to the respiratory illness that took her and many others from us far too soon.

Her commitment to the advancement of social causes went back even farther. Starting in the 60’s and in the decades that followed, she often marched with Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers to advance the plight of exploited immigrant workers. Her children and grandchildren vividly recall the “Uvas No!” boycott bumper sticker on her car and the absence of grapes in her kitchen.

A fighter always, her courage was matched only by her compassion. In this her lesson was to understand that amidst laws, policies and prejudice, it was crucial to always remember the people and how these social constructs affected their lives. She believed the world could be better and that we could be better.
It is our hope that this scholarship will help achieve that dream.
We would deeply appreciate your tax deductible contribution.