(in alphabetical order)
Founder of Del Rio's El Comite Cultural del Pueblo. El Comite was "developed from a Texas Rural Legal Aid Clients' Council meeting in Del Rio in 1980 when parents expressed dissatisfaction with the treatment of their children, inadequate educational programs and the lack of extracurricular activities in the local school district. . . .El Comite is now a strong, independent community arts organization that provides a much-needed ser-vice to the community."
Director of PODER, People Organized in Defense of Earth and Her Resources, an East Austin environmental and social justice organization.
JUANA NAVARRO ALSBURY
A Tejana who was among the survivors of the battle of the Alamo.
Born to sharecropper/field-worker parents in South Texas' Rio Grande Valley, Anzaldúa is now a watershed voice in feminist studies and Borderlands theory. "Anzaldúa has won numerous awards for her works, such as the Lambda Lesbian Small Book Press Award for Haciendo Cara, an NEA Fiction Award, the Before Columbus Foundation American Book Award for This Bridge Called My Back, and the Sappho Award of Distinction. In addition, her text Borderlands`/La frontera` was selected by the Literary Journal as one of the 38 Best Books of 1987."
"Santa Contreras Barraza (born): Santa Barraza is a Mexican-American artist and teacher. She was raised in Kingsville, Texas where her family has lived for several generations. Her personal experiences and identification with the landscapes of South Texas have played a pivotal role in shaping her artistic expressions. Barraza's paintings incorporate memories of family life, holy communions, healing ceremonies, landscapes, and neighborhoods. Her works are a blend of the Mexican-American experience and interpretations of ancient Mayan elements."
"Mavis Belisle is an environmental and peace activist. From 1979 to 1991, she was involved with the Armadillo Coalition of Texas and the Comanche Peak Life Force in legal research, organizing and nonviolent civil disobedience in opposition to construction and operation of the Comanche Peak nuclear utility plant near Glen Rose, Texas. Since 1991, she has served as executive director of the Peace Farm, a non-profit organization located in Panhandle, Texas, northeast of Amarillo. The Peace Farm is a permanent facility dedicated to raising awareness of the nuclear weapons role and hazardous waste contamination impacts of the Panhandle-based Pantex plant."
MARIA ANTONIETTA BERRIOZABAL (5 nominations)
(from a respondent)
"María Antonietta Berriozabal was the first Chicana elected to the City Council of San Antonio. She served as Councilwoman of District 1 from 1980 to 1990. Stood as the lone voice in the city council in opposition to municipal policies that were adverse to her district and the larger San Antonio community in debates and struggles over water and the Edwards Aquifer, development, economic and political policies. She mobilized massive grassroots support fro her campaigns and her work in the City Council, she engaged people in civic work-women and men long marginalized in the political debates in this city, including residents of Victoria Courts and Alazan Apache Courts, in political action and activity, including registering people to vote. Among elected officials in this city, she was the beacon of social justice and peace while she was a Councilwoman, and has remained so since she left office. An advocate for all disenfranchised peoples, especially Latinas, women of color, and economically disenfranchised women, she founded two major women's organizations in San Antonio-Mexican American Business and Professional Women's Association and Hispanas Unidas-the Hispanic Women's Leadership Network in Washington, D.C., and attended the 5th Global Women's Gathering in Beijing in 1995. `Berriozabal` continues to work for and with economically poor, marginalized, and disenfranchised people in local, regional, and national organizations."
Or, as another respondent stated: "She hasn't held office for a long time, but she is very much seen as the people's mayor."
"Ramona Casas is the Vice President of Proyecto Arise which is a colonia based organization. Proyecto Arise works to strengthen colonia families. Some of their projects include parental capacity building, educational programs, and the mentoring of women. Proyecto Arise serves approximately 350 families throughout the valley. Ramona is known for her energy and her ability to motivate. She has worked with Proyecto Arise since its inception 13 years ago. She began as an Organizer, then became a Mentor, then the Director and now serves as the Vice President."
"In 1971, Rosie Castro ran for the San Antonio City Council on the ticket of the Committee for Barrio Betterment. In 1972, Ms. Castro attended the La Raza Unida (The United People) convention in El Paso, Texas." Rosie Castro is the mother of San Antonio city councilman Julián Castro and Texas House of Representatives Member Joaquín Castro.
SANDRA CISNEROS (2)
Sandra Cisneros is by and large the most widely read Mexican American woman author to date. Originally born in Chicago, Cisneros has made Texas and San Antonio, in particular, her home. Her acclaimed books include: The House on Mango Street (1983) winner of the Before Columbus American Book Award in 1985, My Wicked Wicked Ways (1987), Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories (1991), Loose Woman: Poems (1994), and the newly published Caramelo (2002). Known in San Antonio for both her infamous purple house and obstreperous personality, Texas Monthly desired to put Cisneros on their "30 Greatest" list, but Cisneros declined the listing due to the magazine's lack of Latino writers and coverage of Mexican Americans in general.
Raza Unida Party activist Ines Hernández Tovar credits Marta Cotera as one of the founders of Mujeres Por La Raza, the women's caucus within the Raza Unida Party. "Women had belonged to the Raza Unida Party from its beginning at the county level with Ciudadanos Unidos in Zavala County in 1969. . . .Nevertheless, sexism permeated the organization, and most of the Raza Unida Party's leaders and candidates were male. Even while women fought for inclusion in the party leadership, some men in Raza Unida considered women "groupies" or hangers-on. However, women in the Raza Unida Party believed that since local organizing efforts were carried out by women, they should assume leadership roles. Consequently, in 1973 women decided to form the Mujeres Por La Raza caucus to obtain leadership positions for women in the Raza Unida Party and to elect Chicanas to office."
DAHTESTE, or Tah-des-tehua
(from a respondent)
Chicauhua (Apache) messenger and warrior in Geronimo's band. "From the Apachean group of the southern Athapaskan speaking people who claimed and occupied an area the espanoles called la 'Gran Apacheria.' The area included all of New México and parts of Tejas, Colorado, Kansas, Arizona and Northern México. `Dahteste` lived and fought in the late 19th century wars the Apaches fought against both México and the United States."
ANGELA DE HOYOS
"Winner of international poetry awards from Argentina, India, Italy, Germany, and the United States, Angela de Hoyos writes poems about male-female relations and their political reverberations."
"Rosita Fernandez, a long time San Antonian and pioneer of Tejano music, gained international fame as a recording artist and movie star. Born in Monterrey, Mexico in 1919, Rosita was one of sixteen children and daughter of a military officer. She was educated in Laredo, Texas and moved to San Antonio with her family when she was nine. . . .In over sixty years of entertaining, Rosita performed Mexican ballads for foreign and U.S. dignitaries including Pope John Paul II, Prince Charles, and five U.S. presidents. Rosita performed at President Carter's inauguration, and often sang for guests of President and Ladybird Johnson. It was Ladybird Johnson who bestowed upon Rosita the title 'San Antonio's First Lady of Song' in 1968 at a special performance for 40 ambassadors at the Arneson River Theatre. It was also in 1968 that Rosita was named an international ambassador for HemisFair, the world's fair held in the city that year. She recorded the song 'San Antonio:cuidad de encantos' for the event."
JULIET GARCIA President of The University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College. She is the first Mexican American woman in the U.S. to become president of a college or university.
(from a respondent)
"She was responsible for developing programs that included Mexican cultural insights for providing services to raza in Tejas, and, in particular, helped to develop a program that generated barrio professors from the Westside `of San Antonio`."
MARY HERNANDEZ and SYLVIA HERRERA
"`In 1992` PODER `People Organized In Defense of Earth and Her Resources and the East Austin Strategy Team` and EAST `East Austin Strategy Team` broke the news that hundreds of residents near East Austin's gasoline storage tank farm were suffering from a variety of illnesses, many of them very serious. They organized the neighbors to fight in their own behalf. State and local agencies were brought in, but results were slow in coming. There were meetings almost every night. The groups persevered and now three of the six oil companies have announced they will move their facilities, and more progress is in the works. Those deserving mention are many, but. . .Mary Hernandez. . and Sylvia Herrera. . .are among the notables."
"Ileana Hinojosa, the Health Education and Rural Outreach (HERO) Specialist is a South Texas native with over 9 years of experience providing health education and outreach to rural residents of the Rio Grande Valley. She has trained promotoras, volunteers, and health professionals throughout South Texas on various health topics including how to conduct outreach and engaging the Hispanic community in health dialogue. . . .She is an advocate of community oriented and community based programming with a focus on client centered services. Ileana understands that the most valuable asset a community has are it's people. . . .Ileana was also the first Chairperson of the South Texas Promotora Association and was instrumental in the development of this group that serves to advocate for the continuing education and development of volunteers and promotoras."
(from a respondent)
"Margarita Huantes from San Antonio who died about 5 or so years ago in her 80s, was the founder of the San Antonio Literacy Council. A social worker by profession, she came across a woman whose child died because she did not know how to read, so Mrs. Huantes started to do something about it. She taught people to read and write English and she set up an organization that helped people with this and with getting their citizenship."
"Political Columnist . Molly Ivins, best-selling author and widely syndicated political columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. . . .the author of the best-selling book, Molly Ivins Can't Say That Can She?, is the former co-editor of the liberal monthly Texas Observer and former Rocky Mountain bureau chief for the New York Times. She has also worked for the Houston Chronicle, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune and the Dallas Times Herald. Ivins' freelance work has appeared in Esquire, Atlantic, The Nation, Harper's, the Progressive, Mother Jones, TV Guide and numerous other publications. She is a frequent guest on network radio and television shows. . . She has been a Pulitzer Prize finalist three times, and has won numerous journalism awards."
(also listed in the TM's "30 Greatest" list)
Singular singer/songwriter from Port Arthur, TX.
PAULA LOSOYA TAYLOR (DE RIVERS)
"Paula Losoya Taylor, who helped found and develop San Felipe Del Rio (which became Del Rio), was born in Guerrero, Tamaulipas. She probably moved to the area from San Antonio between 1860 and 1862 with her husband, James H. Taylor, and her sister, Refugia Losoya. By the time of her arrival in the region, Mexicans had already settled there, and the area was known as Las Zapas (sometimes Las Sapas)-named for the underground shelters in which these early settlers lived. Paula Taylor and her sister immediately put their land, which was located along what is now Highway 277 close to the Quemado valley and about half a mile from where San Felipe Creek empties into the Rio Grande, under cultivation. She hired Las Zapas residents to work for her, thus drawing more settlers from Texas and Mexico and increasing the population of her new hacienda."
CARMEN LOMAS GARZA
"Carmen Lomas Garza was born in Kingsville, Texas, in 1948. At the age of thirteen she made a commitment to pursue a career in art and taught herself elements of drawing. Her narrative works of art depict childhood memories of family and friends in a wide range of activities from making tamales to dancing in a patio to Tejano music." Ms. Garza has shown one-person exhibitions in several prestigious locations including: Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden/Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City, the Smith College Museum in Northampton, Massachusetts, and The Mexican Museum in San Francisco.
DR. ARCADIA LOPEZ
(from a respondent)
"Dr. Lopez lives in San Antonio and is 93 years old. It is amazing and credit to her talents and persistence to have gotten her Ph.d. She has written children's books, a story about herself `Barrio Teacher`, and has been a teacher and very involved in bilingual education."
(from a respondent)
"Warm Springs Apache warrior woman and medicine woman with Victorio's band, who joined Geronimo when Victorio is killed. Lozen is especially interesting because she was the only unmarried Apache woman to ride as a warrior, an unusual occurrence among the Apache. "From the Apachean group of the southern Athapaskan speaking people who claimed and occupied an area the espanoles called la "Gran Apacheria." The area included all of New México and parts of Tejas, Colorado, Kansas, Arizona and Northern México. `Lozen` lived and fought in the late 19th century wars the Apaches fought against both México and the United States."
LYDIA MENDOZA (4 nominations)
"`Singer/composer` Lydia Mendoza was born in Houston in 1916. In 1927, Leonora and Francisco `Mendoza` organized their family into a touring musical group called La Familia Mendoza. They started out playing in restaurants and barbershops in the Rio Grande Valley for low pay and tips. Because these performances did not pay well, the family also worked as migrant laborers. In 1928, the Mendozas saw an advertisement seeking musicians to record in San Antonio. Changing their name to Cuarteto Carta Blanca, the family recorded 20 pieces for the Okeh record label. The recordings were inspired by the folk and cultural movement in the music industry. The Mendozas made a little money from these recordings and moved to Detroit for two years before returning to Texas. In 1934, the family was again invited to the recording studio. This time, Lydia Mendoza had the chance to record solo while also playing on guitar. She recorded six songs, one of which, 'Mal Hombre,' became an instant hit. In the early 1930s, Mendoza and her mother recorded several duets as well. Mendoza's popularity quickly rose, and she recorded nearly 200 songs for the Bluebird label. During family tours, Mendoza became the headline act. The family toured all over the southern part of the country and even to Chicago before World War II halted tours due to gasoline and tire rationing. After the war, the family began touring again and continued until the death of Leonora in 1952. Mendoza continued recording solo for labels including Falcon, Ideal, and Victor. She acquired many nicknames, including 'La Londra de la Frontera,' or 'The Lark of the Border.' Lydia Mendoza has received many awards and much recognition for her contribution to music. She won the National Heritage Award from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1982 and was selected for the Texas Women's Hall of Fame in 1985. She also became the first Tejana admitted to the Conjunto Hall of Fame in 1991."
From a contributor: "Dr. Yolanda Broyles-Gonzales is her biographer. Ms. Mendoza lives in San Antonio and is in her 80s. She started singing as a very young girl. She would sing in migrant camps and barrios all over Texas. She sang corridos and rancheras. She believed in sharing her talent with the masses and did not pay much attention to establishment oriented ways to promote a singing career. I recall her voice as a very, very young child."
Immortalized in the song "The Yellow Rose of Texas," Emily Morgan was a young mulatto slave who belonged to Col. James Morgan. "Morgan, to circumvent the Mexican law, had nominally 'freed' his slaves, signing them instead to a ninety-nine year term as indentured servants. He was away with his command on Galveston Island, so the story goes, when the Mexican army appeared near Harrisburg. Morgan's servants, including Emily, were loading a flatboat. Santa Anna saw her and admired the tall, long-haired, 'very comely Latin looking' woman of about twenty. The president ordered her assigned as a servant in his marquee, or presidential tent. An inveterate womanizer, Santa Anna had staged a fake wedding in San Antonio to convince the mother of one young girl that his intentions were honorable. He saw no need of such formalities with Emily, who had no choice in the matter. William Bollaert was an English ethnologist who talked with James Morgan during a visit to Texas in 1838. In 'The Day of San Jacinto,' Frank X. Tolbert quoted Bollaert as saying Emily was in Santa Anna's presidential quarters at 4:30 p.m., when the alarm of the Texian attack was given. According to Bollaert, it was probably due to Emily's influence that the Texians won the battle. 'She detained Santanna so long,' he said, 'that order could not be restored readily again.' Some historians believe the story of Emily Morgan and her part in the revolution is an interesting piece of fiction, a ribald tale that Texans like to tell because it shows Santa Anna 'caught with his pants down.'"
"Award-winning El Paso journalist and expert on the Juarez murders."
LA CHATA NOLOESCA AKA BEATRIZ ESCALONA PÉREZ
"La Chata Noluesca was a Mexican comedian who worked in the 'Carpas' in the west side of downtown when it was just like a Little Mejico. The Carpas were literally tents that went up so these performers could perform. La Chata was really funny. I got to hear her as a child. She had brought her talent from Mexico and along with other women and men entertained our community when our only source of culture was what we did on our own. It was a world of Spanish speaking singers, actors and other performers who had big audiences who needed to be spoken in their own language." Pérez "developed the popular comic figure she maintained throughout the remainder of her career. She called the character 'La Chata,' an affectionate nickname that meant 'button-nosed.' She modeled the character on Mexican and Mexican-American maids. Trademarks of La Chata were a brightly printed, flounced cotton dress, perky little pigtails tied with big bows, and chunky men's shoes with boldly striped socks. Through her costume, gestures, and verbal wit Beatriz invented a character that was simultaneously innocent and savvy, sweet and strong-willed."
(also listed in the TM's "30 Greatest" list)
Acclaimed painter influenced deeply by Texas landscapes.
(from a respondent)
"Since the early 1940s owner/operator, with spouse and children, of Pérez Street Bakery and Grocery store in San Antonio. She was a pecan sheller in the 1930s, supported the Pecan Sellers' Strike of 1938, opened and ran her local business (which is still operating), raised 9 children, sent most of them to college; and has been a pivotal mainstay of her community for 60 plus years-she has served as banker, lender, social service agency, tanslator, cashier, advocate of people in need. With her business rooted in the community, sha has used her business acumen, entrepreneurial knowledge, and skills to help give back to the community, to ensure its well-being. She has provided economic, social, political, immigration, cultural, and spiritual advocacy throughout her long life in the deep Westside of San Antonio."
Representative IRMA RANGEL (4 nominations)
"Irma Rangel was the first Mexican American woman elected to the Texas House of Representatives and the first woman to serve as chair of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus."
Teacher and Chairperson of the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center Board of Directors.
"Chipita Rodriguez was Tejano, born on Texas soil. During the Texas Revolution, her father was killed in an encounter with some soldiers from Mexico. Alone, Chipita took up with a cowboy and bore a son, but the man kidnapped their infant and deserted her. One hot August day over 25 years later, two travelers arrived at Chipita's hut on the banks of the Aransas River. As she studied one of the men, she became certain that he was her son. The next morning, he was gone, and his companion was dead-killed with her ax-outside her cabin. Chipita thought her long-lost child had committed the crime. To protect him, she wrapped the body in burlap, and a neighbor helped her carry it to the river and toss it in. When the body washed ashore downstream from Chipita's home, many began to talk of a lynching. The two were saved from that rash action, but a court quickly found them guilty, ordered Chipita executed, and sentenced the neighbor to five years. Chipita Rodriguez, possibly the only woman ever hanged after a legal trial in Texas, may as well have been lynched by a mob. It is said that her ghost haunts the banks of the Nueces River where she was hanged from a mesquite tree and buried in an unmarked grave."
Austin activist/organizer Erin Rogers was the woman "who powered the campaign that saved a tiny West Texas town from the nuclear waste industry" as the Executive Director of the Sierra Blanca Legal Defense Fund.
GRACIELA SANCHEZ, (4 nominations)
(from a respondent)
"Born and raised in San Antonio's Westside, returns home upon completing her BA at Yale University, to found the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center `San Antonio, TX` with other young women and men, who, like her, see that the cultural expression of large segments of our community, including women of color, poor people, lesbians and gays, remain excluded from the city's cultural institutions. In the 1980s Sanchez and the Esperanza fortify the link between art and social justice as they challenge the city's homophobic, sexist, racist, and classist politics and policies. Under Sanchez's leadership, the Esperanza, has consistently employ art and cultural expression to sustain a clear oppositional stance against city policies that are destructive of the environment, oppressive of any group, destructive of the history of the people of this city, and/or unconstitutional. . . .Esperanza set historical and legal precedent in her suit, which she won, against the city for violations of 4th Amendment rights, and for its homophobic politics" (from historian Antonia Castañeda). Sanchez remains the Executive Director of the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center.
NAOMI SHIHAB NYE
"In her writing, she draws on the voices of the Mexican-Americans that live near her, as well as the perspectives of Arab-Americans like herself and the ideas and practices of the different local subcultures of America. Nye has gained a reputation for poetry that shows ordinary events, people and objects from a new perspective. . . .She has earned numerous awards for her writing, including four Pushcart Prizes, the Jane Addams Children's Book award, the Paterson Poetry Prize, and many notable book and best book citations from the American Library Association." Her works include: The Flag of Childhood: Poems from the Middle East (2002), 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East (2002), Habibi (1996), Never in a Hurry (1996), Hugging the Jukebox (1982).
MANUELA SOLIS SAGER
"Manuela Solis Sager helped to organize garment and agricultural workers in Laredo, Texas, during the early 1930s. She became one of the first official organizers of the South Texas Agricultural Workers' Union (STAWU) and worked in the Rio Grande Valley, considered to be one of the most difficult places to organize. Manuela and her husband James played key roles in a labor dispute involving Mexican pecan shellers, most of whom were women. Manuela Solis Sager channeled her conviction for human rights into many activisms. Throughout her life, she involved herself with the Chicano Movement, the women's movement, immigrant rights, and opposition to U.S. interventionist foreign policy."
(also listed in the TM's "30 Greatest" list)
Seminal Tejana singer murdered at the age of 24 in Corpus Christi, TX.
"She was born, Susan Lee Campbell, on December 30, 1941 in Houston, Texas and grew up near Rice University. . . .In the sixties she was active in the civil rights movement and in anti-Vietnam war efforts. In the seventies she worked as a feminist educator, designing an art-based curriculum for the Women's Educational Equity Act to reduce gender stereotyping, worked teaching creative process in the prisons and was a founder of InterArtWorks, a large public art project in Austin. Susan lived in Dallas in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and was Director of the Dallas Peace Center. . . .In 1994 she traveled to Guatemala to serve as body guard. . .for Jennifer Harbury, who conducted a hunger strike in front of the Politénica in Guatemala City to obtain information about her husband Everado. In 1998 Susan Lee was a write-in candidate for Governor of Texas for the Green Party, changing her name to Susan Lee Solar to become an emblem of our need for sustainable sources of energy."
Sr. Yolanda Tarango CCVI
EMMA TENAYUCA (2 nominations)
(also listed in the TM's "30 Greatest" list)
"Emma was an ardent labor activist who worked tirelessly for workers' rights `most notably those of pecan shellers`."
"Kathy Vargas is an internationally praised artist/photographer whose numerous exhibitions include one-person shows at Sala Uno in Rome and the Galeria San Mart'n in Mexico City. A major retrospective of Vargas' photography was mounted in 2000 by the McNay Museum in San Antonio, Texas. Her work was featured in "Hospice: A Photographic Inquiry" for the Corcoran gallery and "Chicano Art: Resistance and Affirmation (CARA)." Photographs by Vargas hang in the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, and the Southwestern Bell Collection. She was the director of the visual arts program at the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center for many years. She currently is the Chair of the Art and Music Department at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas, her hometown."
"Sarah Weddington is a nationally-known attorney and spokesperson on leadership and public issues. She is particularly well known for her work on issues affecting women through her many roles as attorney, legislator, presidential advisor, professor, and expert called upon by the national media. . . .In 1973, at age 26, she argued the winning side of the landmark case Roe v. Wade, to make abortion legal, before the United States Supreme Court. She is thought to be the youngest woman ever to win a case in the Supreme Court. . . .In 1972, she was the first woman from Austin elected to the Texas House of Representatives." •