Westbrooks & Vidal Family

Wedding of Manuel and Mary Vidal, 1961

A lifelong Chandler resident, Phillip Westbrooks was raised by one of the first Mexican pioneer families who had migrated from Hermosillo, Mexico and Chihuahua (Guadalupe), Mexico in 1917.  His grandparents Miguel and Carmen Vidal settled in Chandler as migrant farm workers and they struggled in poverty to raise their nine children.  Their original residence was on 401 S. Washington Street.

As a student at Chandler area schools, Phillip remembers walking from home to school through downtown Chandler.  He earned money by shining shoes to purchase his first bicycle and later in life worked in the cotton fields during the summer months along side his siblings to earn money for school clothes.  His grandfather helped him start his business by building a shoeshine box and he made approximately $1 per day.  Phillip attributes his strong work ethic and educational goals to his grandfather Miguel who labored 12 to 16 hours a day, 6 days a week to support his large family.

Manuel and Mary Vidal

Miguel Vidal’s sister, Esperanza (Vidal) Moncivaiz, was a founding member of the Free Methodist Church and had graduated from the Los Angeles Protestant Missionary School in 1935.  She and her husband established the first Spanish-speaking Free Methodist Church in downtown Chandler for the Mexican community. Miguel and family members built the original adobe-brick church site at Arizona Avenue and Saragosa Street.

Phillip remembers how his Great aunt and uncle played several instruments such as the trombone and violin at Mexican weddings as a source of income for the family.  He enjoyed Louisiana “Souza” music and traveled on the road with a marching band during the 1930s. 

On February 17, 1961, Phillip was the firstborn son to Esther Vidal and Jadie Westbrooks of Chandler.  He has four siblings and several cousins who all reside in Chandler.  His cousins, aunts, and uncles and neighborhood kids were his closest friends throughout his childhood and they remain involved in his life to support his career and accomplishments as a Chandler City Councilmember.

After graduating from Chandler High School, Phillip attended Arizona State University earning an undergraduate degree in Political Science, and a post-graduate degree in Public Administration.  Presently, he is earning his doctorate degree from Nova Southeastern University.  His participation and involvement in providing quality services and community programs as a Councilmember is unprecedented.  Councilmember Westbrooks initiated the proposal to formally recognize Cesar Chavez Day in Chandler through a proclamation and community improvement project.  His greatest influences in his life are his grandparents Carmen and Miguel Vidal, and the values from generations of Vidal family members who experienced economic hardship as they contributed to the growth of Chandler’s diverse working-class community.

Biography & Images Submitted by Phillip Westbrooks