Antonio Villaraigosa

Class of 1977

Architect of a multicultural metropolis.

As the first Latino mayor of Los Angeles in more than 130 years, Antonio Villaraigosa represented the new face of a city transformed by ethnic diversity. He inherited a metropolis with more millionaires than any other but also the nation's largest number of working poor. A son of East Los Angeles, Villaraigosa began at an early age to stand up for the underserved. At UCLA he led demonstrations in support of farmworkers, ethnic studies and increased admission of women and minorities. After graduation he became a labor organizer, served as president of the ACLU of Southern California and then won a seat in the state assembly, eventually becoming speaker. While he was mayor, Los Angeles became safer and greener; rapid transit grew and public schools became more competitive.

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