FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 6. 2023
Francisco Aviles Pino
UCLA Latino Groups Honor Cindy Montañez
LOS ANGELES – On August 31st, Cindy Montañez, a dedicated public servant and advocate, shared the news of her advanced-stage cancer diagnosis. Starting her remarkable journey as the youngest member ever elected to the San Fernando Council at age 25, Montañez’s commitment led her to serve on the California State Assembly. Later, she continued her environmental advocacy as the assistant general manager of the L.A. Department of Water and Power. A board member of the UCLA Institute on the Environment and Sustainability, Montañez, most recently, advocated for stronger data to fix environmental issues and has been instrumental in ensuring the San Fernando Valley is resourced with tools to combat climate change and environmental injustice.
Statement from the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center, the UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Institute, the Cesar E. Chavez Department of Chicana/o & Central American Studies, and Latina Futures, 2050 Lab:
“Over the years, Cindy Montañez’s tireless public service has touched the lives of countless generations of Latinas. Her work traces back to her days as a student at UCLA, where she, alongside her sister Norma Montañez took part in the historic 1993 Hunger Strikes. These pivotal actions helped create the renowned UCLA César E. Chávez Department of Chicana/o and Central American Studies, a testament to an unwavering determination to promote the study, education, and advancement of the Latinx community.
“Montañez’s legacy at UCLA inspired other vital Latinx research and advocacy groups at the university. It led to the creation of the Chicano Studies Research Center, the UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Institute, and Latina Futures, 2050 Lab – a groundbreaking initiative to support policy research, leadership programs, and civic engagement with a Latina lens.
“Cindy Montañez’s legacy transcends boundaries, resonating with the progress she has ignited and the thousands of empowered Latinas she has inspired. As a courageous female role-model, her journey is a testament to the indomitable spirit of a true advocate and changemaker.”
Department Professor Dr. Raul Hinjosa-Ojeda, the Founding Director of the North American Integration and Development Center added: “I first met Cindy during the hunger strike, becoming one of my star students and then community allies always innovating on the forefront for Climate Justice . My dearest Cindy, know that we will carry your butterflies to millions of places and ask “what would Cindy Montanez do”? Know this, inspirational compañera en lucha, estamos presentes contigo y siempre!”