MTA board to name East L.A. rail station for Molina

Wave Wire Services

LOS ANGELES — Following the county Board of Supervisors and City Hall actions to rename Grand Park in honor of her legacy, the Board of Directors of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority voted unanimously March 23 to dedicate the East Los Angeles Civic Center subway station in honor of Latina political pioneer Gloria Molina, who announced earlier this month that she is battling terminal cancer.

“Earlier this week, the Board of Supervisors took the historic step to unanimously approve a motion that I, along with my colleagues, put forward to rename Grand Park after Gloria Molina in honor of her vision and her tenacity to create that park some decades ago,” said county Supervisor Hilda Solis, who sits on the MTA board.

“I would like to celebrate and honor her service and her legacy for her time that she spent, here, as an MTA board member,” Solis added. 

The 74-year-old Molina, who served on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors for more than two decades following terms in the state Assembly and on the L.A. City Council — and was the first Latina elected to each, announced her cancer diagnosis in a recent Facebook post.

Molina wrote that she has been receiving treatment for three years, but that, “at this point, it is very aggressive.”

“I’ve lived a long, fulfilling and beautiful life,” Molina said in the post, which was addressed to “dearest friends and beloved community.”

“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.”

Molina, who grew up in Pico Rivera, was active in the early days of the Chicano movement, becoming an advocate for women’s health issues — which she continued into her elected offices. At one point, she founded a nurse mentoring program through local community colleges to address a nurse shortage.

Solis recounted anecdotes about Molina’s time on the MTA board, but one that stood out was Molina’s grit and dedication for the Gold Line East Side Extension, which broke ground in 2004 and opened in 2009.

“She fought so hard to provide services to those families that were often left behind, especially those representing East Los Angeles, Boyle Heights and many surrounding communities,” Solis said. “She fought hard to provide quality transit service, and for many of those efforts, we are now the ones that are reaping those benefits.”

Supervisor Kathryn Barger described Molina as a “masterful policymaker” who had to navigate at a time when it was difficult to be a woman taking on the establishment.

“I would argue that she is the heart of the county Los Angeles, and has been for decades,” Barger said. “I cannot think of a better way than dedicating the station in her honor.”