Robert García | August 4, 1952 – April 6, 2020

Robert García, August 4, 1952 – April 6, 2020

Robert García was a civil rights attorney who devoted his life to advocating for equal access to public resources. He was the Founding Director and Counsel of The City Project, a non-profit legal and policy advocacy team based in Los Angeles, which he led for the past 15 years.

Robert García | Civil Rights Attorney

Robert worked with a diverse group of allies to advance environmental and climate justice; healthy green land use and community planning; quality education, including physical education; and economic vitality for all communities.

Robert García was a civil rights attorney who devoted his life to advocating for equal access to public resources. He was the Founding Director and Counsel of The City Project, a non-profit legal and policy advocacy team based in Los Angeles, which he led for the past 15 years. Robert worked with a diverse group of allies to advance environmental and climate justice; healthy green land use and community planning; quality education, including physical education; and economic vitality for all communities.

Robert was born in Guatemala and came to the U.S. at age four. He graduated from Stanford University and Stanford Law School, where he served on the Board of Editors of the Stanford Law Review. Robert started his law practice at Donovan and Leisure and served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York. In 1987, Robert moved to Los Angeles, where he taught law at UCLA Law School. When he left teaching, Robert devoted his energy and passion to non-profit work. He worked for several years as an attorney with the NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund. After founding The City Project in 2000, he was instrumental in creating or preserving more than 1,000 acres of park space in Los Angeles County, including the Los Angeles State Historic Park at the Cornfield and Baldwin Hills Park.

Robert served as Chairman of the Los Angeles Citizens’ School Bond Oversight Committee for five years, helping raise over $27 billion to build and modernize public schools as centers of their communities. He also served on the Development Team for the National Park Service Healthy Parks, Healthy People Community Engagement Guide.

Stanford Law School called Robert a “civil rights giant.” Among his many awards, Robert received the President’s Award from the American Public Health Association, and PODER Magazine named him one of the Top 100 Latino Green Leaders. Hispanic Business Magazine recognized him as one of the 100 most influential Latinos in the United States.

Robert died of cancer on April 6 at his home in Los Angeles. He was 67. He is survived by his wife, Susan Allison; his three sons, Nicolas, Tomas, and Samuel; his sister, Lucrecia; and his mother, Ana Maria.

Published in the Los Angeles Times from Apr. 9 to Apr. 10, 2020.

The mission of The City Project is to achieve equal justice, democracy, and livability for all.

Robert García shaking hands with President Obama in 2014 Photo: President Obama discussing green justice with The City Project’s Robert García at the dedication of the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument 2014

The City Project believes that all people should have access to healthy, livable communities. Our multicultural, Latino-led team works with diverse allies to ensure equal access to:

Healthy green land use through planning by and for the community

Climate justice

Physical education and schools of hope as centers of their communities

Health equity and wellness

Economic vitality for all, including jobs and avoiding displacement as communities become greener and more desirable.

“The City Project [is] working to broaden access to parks and open space for inner-city residents and . . . to fight childhood obesity by guaranteeing that . . . students get enough physical education.”

The New York Times