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Latinas who've changed the world

OUR HISTORY MATTERS: Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month

By Federico Martínez, Special to La Prensa

1) Julia de Burgos (February 17, 1914 – July 6, 1953) was a Puerto Rican poet. She was “a tireless advocate for the independence of Puerto Rico, women’s rights, and African/Afro-Caribbean writers.”

2) Sonia Sotomayor (born June 25, 1954) is a Puerto Rican Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, serving since August 2009. Sotomayor is the first Latina justice, and its third female justice. “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”

3) Gloria Evangelina Anzaldúa (September 26, 1942 – May 15, 2004) was a scholar of “Chicano cultural theory, feminist theory, and queer theory. Her most well-known book is Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza, which speaks of social and cultural marginalization.”

“Until I am free to write bilingually and to switch codes without having always to translate, while I still have to speak English or Spanish when I would rather speak Spanglish, and as long as I have to accommodate the English speakers rather than having them accommodate me, my tongue will be illegitimate. I will no longer be made to feel ashamed of existing. I will have my voice: Indian, Spanish, white. I will have my serpent's tongue - my woman's voice, my sexual voice, my poet's voice. I will overcome the tradition of silence.”

4) Aurora Levins Morales (born January 24, 1954) is a Puerto Rican Jewish writer and poet. She is best known for her collection of essays Medicine Stories: History, Culture, and the Politics of Integrity. She is a tireless advocate for women's rights and is considered the voice of Feminism in Latin America.

“Solidarity is not a matter of altruism. Solidarity comes from the inability to tolerate the affront to our own integrity of passive or active collaboration in the oppression of others, and from the deep recognition that, like it or not, our liberation is bound up with that of every other being on the planet, and that politically, spiritually, in our heart of hearts we know anything else is unaffordable.”

5) Ellen Ochoa (born May 10, 1958) is a former astronaut and current Deputy Director of the Johnson Space Center of Mexican-American descent. She was the first Latina astronaut, paving the way for women in the science fields.

6) Comandante Ramona (died January 6, 2006) was the nom de guerre of an officer of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), a revolutionary indigenous autonomist organization based in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas. As a member of the Zapatista leading council, the CCRI (Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee), she served as a symbol of equality and dignity for indigenous and impoverished women. “Our hope is that one day our situation will change, that we women will be treated with respect, justice, and democracy.”

7) Julia Alvarez (born March 27, 1950) is a Dominican poet, novelist, and essayist. Her writings often deal with assimilation and identity and are heavily influenced by her Dominican-American heritage. Her works examine cultural expectations of women in the Dominican Republic and the United States, and for rigorous investigations of cultural stereotypes.1) Julia de Burgos (February 17, 1914 – July 6, 1953) was a Puerto Rican poet. She was a tireless advocate for the independence of Puerto Rico, women's rights, and African/Afro-Caribbean writers.


Julia de Burgos

Sonia Sotomayor

Gloria Evangelina Anzaldúa

Aurora Levins Morales

Ellen Ochoa

Copyright © 1989 to 2014 by [LaPrensa Publications Inc.]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 09/30/14 19:51:02 -0700.




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