Gloria Molina, who laid the stepping stones for Latinas in local politics, died Sunday after a three-year battle with cancer.

Molina, 74, was not only the first Latina to serve on the Los Angeles City Council and board of supervisors, but was also the first Latina to serve in the California state assembly.

“It is with heavy hearts that our family announces Gloria’s passing this evening,” Molina’s daughter Valentina Martinez said in a statement Sunday. “She passed away at her home in Mt. Washington, surrounded by our family.”

Her Fingerprints were all over the city of L.A. from her activism, to her work to ensure the Latino community’s needs were heard and represented, primarily in the 1st district neighborhoods she represented in the city council.

On March 14, Molina publicly announced her battle with terminal cancer, saying she had been receiving aggressive treatment.

Molina wrote on a Facebook post:

“Dearest friends and beloved community, I’ve lived a long, fulfilling and beautiful life.

“For the last three years I have battled terminal cancer. While I’ve been getting treatment, at this point, it is very aggressive.

“You should know that I’m not sad. I enter this transition in life feeling so fortunate. I have an amazing and caring family, wonderful friends, and worked with committed colleagues and a loyal team. Throughout my life I’ve had the support of many people.

“I have a great daughter, son-in-law, a precious grandchild and another one on the way. I’m so excited!

“I’m really grateful for everyone in my life and proud of my family, career, mi gente, and the work we did on behalf of our community.

“I am very appreciative of the doctors, nurses and health care professionals at City of Hope, especially Dr. Christina Yeon and Dr. Manisha Trivedi. They have taken good care of me.

“Most of all, I am fortunate to have this time to spend with family, friends and those who are special to me.
Thank you all for your love and support.”

After Molina’s announcement, the city looked for ways to honor her, with Supervisor Hilda Solis proposing that Grand Park outside Los Angeles City Hall be renamed Gloria Molina Grand Park. The city council also approved a motion to rename the crosswalks surrounding City Hall the “Gloria Molina Legacy Pathway.”

After the family’s announcement of Molina’s passing Sunday, which fell on Mother’s Day, there were several people around the city and state who paid their respects to the trailblazer.

Supervisor Hilda Solis

“Words can’t express the loss of Gloria Molina.

“She was a beacon of hope to many — including myself. Seeing her break several glass ceilings throughout her public service career inspired me to follow in her footsteps and be of service to our community.

“I am grateful for her determination to meet the needs of our most vulnerable. It was her fuerza, her force, that residents often overlooked were able to benefit from our safety net.

“To honor her life’s work, I introduced a motion back in March to rename Grand Park to Gloria Molina Grand Park. A park for all, she fought incredibly hard to transform a once cement concrete jungle into a creative green space for Angelenos.

“I am heartbroken to lose a champion for Latinos, for mujeres, and for the Eastside. While she may no longer be physically with us, we will forever feel her impact.

“My prayers are with her loved ones during this heartbreaking time. May her soul Rest In Peace.”

Mayor of L.A. Karen Bass

Gloria Molina was a force for unapologetic good and transformational change in Los Angeles. As an organizer, a City Councilwoman, a County Supervisor and a State Assemblywoman, Supervisor Molina advocated for those who did not have a voice in government through her pioneering environmental justice work, her role as a fiscal watchdog, and her advocacy for public health.

“She shaped Los Angeles in a lasting way while paving the way for future generations of leaders.

“As the first woman Mayor of Los Angeles, I know I stand on Supervisor Molina’s shoulders.

“On behalf of an ever grateful city, I express my deepest condolences to Supervisor Molina’s family, friends and community.”

Supervisor Janice Hahn

“It takes courage to be the 1st woman in the room and Gloria was the 1st woman and 1st Latina in nearly every room she was in. She didn’t just make space for herself– she opened the door to the rest of us. Women in politics in LA County owe a debt of gratitude to Gloria Molina.”

Jaime Harrison, Chair of the Democratic National Committee

“I am saddened to hear about the passing of former DNC Vice Chair Gloria Molina. As the first Latina to serve in the California Assembly, L.A. City Council, and L.A. County Board of Supervisors, she blazed a trail for others to follow.”

California Governor Gavin Newsom

“Jennifer and I are deeply saddened by the passing of Gloria Molina, a trailblazing changemaker who improved the lives of countless Angelenos and Californians and opened doors for generations of women in politics and public service.

“Throughout over three decades in office, Molina broke ground as the first Latina California State Assemblymember and as the first Latina to serve on the Los Angeles City Council and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.

“Never losing sight of her roots in community organizing and advocacy, Molina was not afraid to clash with prominent politicos in her fight for working-class neighborhoods. Her leadership delivered lasting results advancing social justice for Eastside communities, creating parks and community centers and expanding public transit, among other accomplishments.

“Molina’s enduring legacy of service and dedication to empowering others is an inspiration to all Californians. Our thoughts are with her family, community and friends during this time of loss.”

L.A. City Council President Paul Krekorian

“Like all who knew her, I am both saddened by the passing of Supervisor Gloria Molina and also grateful for the incredible transformative contributions she made to the history of our State and our City. She was, of course, a trailblazer for Latinas and a mentor to countless leaders throughout California and the nation.

“For the people she represented, she was a fearless and relentless champion who never forgot – and never allowed anyone else to forget the needs of the neighborhoods she served. Her legacy is everywhere around us, in the things she built, in the public servants she mentored and inspired, and in the people whose lives were so dramatically improved by the fights she fought.

“Throughout her career, she used her positions to bring positive reform to government, to uplift the quality of life of those who were too often neglected, to improve public health for all, and to ensure that public funds are spent wisely and effectively. We should be grateful for the time she spent among us, and for all she did to make Los Angeles a better, more inclusive place for all of us, and for generations yet to come.”

L.A. City Attorney Hydee Feldstein Soto

“Los Angeles lost a mother to our community this Mother’s Day. We will all miss Gloria Molina terribly. She was a fierce feminist who was not only a wise, brave and intelligent political leader, but also a loyal and inspirational champion of change.”





















































Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.