Alicia Molina is currently running for Superior Court Judge in Los Angeles County (Seat 42). She has dedicated her legal career to serving people who come from working class backgrounds like her own.
Born in Los Angeles to immigrants from Veracruz, Mexico, Alicia was raised in Montebello. Her father was a busboy who worked his way up to a cook, and sometimes he worked two to three jobs to make ends meet. With his humble income, he was able to send all five of his children to college. Today two of Alicia’s siblings are are attorneys, one is paralegal, and another works in business. Alicia’s educational journey is one of persistence and exemplifies the importance of strong Chicano mentors who help to open doors.
When Alicia was in third grade at Fremont Elementary School in Montebello, she had the good fortune of being a student of Mr. Pete Villescas in the third and fourth grade. Mr. Villescas was a Chicano teacher who saw potential in Alicia and told her parents that they needed to work to get her into college after she graduated from high school. Because her parents did not attend school in the U.S., they didn’t know about the college prep track or even how to pay for college. When Alicia’s father thought that he would have to mortgage his home to send Alicia to college, Mr. Villescas explained to her parents that there was financial aid. But the idea had been planted that Alicia was going to college.
“Mr. Villescas was key in putting me on that college track, and he would continue to be influential in creating a domino effect for my siblings to follow,” Alicia said.
Mr. Villescas helped guide Alicia when another teacher tried to put her in a lower level reading class after having been successful at the more advanced levels. At one point, a teacher tried to put Alicia in a lower level course, and she had to make her case as a young child, along with her mom, explaining why she should be allowed to proceed at the more advanced level. This experience of having to advocate for her own access to a challenging course helped inspire Alicia to want to represent people who didn’t have a seat at the table.
Alicia’s younger sister had a similar experience with a teacher in high school who tried to put her in a remedial English course. And her brother was also not placed in a course that matched his advanced skill level. As an advocate, Alicia stepped in to help her siblings get into the college prep track courses that they needed to be able to get into college.
After graduating from Montebello High School, Alicia went to UCLA and studied history. While at UCLA, Alicia was inspired to mentor the younger students by tutoring in English, History, and Chicano studies. She felt a duty to help the students coming up behind her so that they would succeed. From UCLA, she went to Loyola Law School where she earned her J.D.
After Alicia graduated from Loyola Law School, she ended up working at a non-profit in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles, the International Institute of Los Angeles. Alicia ended up working there for 14 years, starting as a paralegal and advancing to directing the legal department, providing representation to low income clients. At this organization, she also directed the transportation program.
Alicia has continued to practice law as a partner in the Law Offices of Molina and Molina. In addition, she volunteers to help victims of domestic violence and even takes time to mentor students at her high school, helping them navigate the college application process.
“I have dedicated my life to helping those who are underrepresented and disadvantaged. I want to make sure that everyone has fair and equal access to the legal system,” Alicia said. “I’m running for office because I have worked in the community. I have experience working in the courts, and I have compassion and empathy. You have to treat everyone with respect and dignity. I will bring this to the bench and will work so that everyone will have a fair day in court.”
For her years of service to the community as a legal advocate and dedication to the community, we honor Alicia Molina as a luchadora.
She has worked in the non-profit sector, in the K-12 system, and in higher education in various capacities. When she's not writing stories or working on media projects, Adriana trains instructors to teach online at the University of California, Irvine.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of California, Irvine and a master’s degree in public policy from Claremont Graduate University.
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