MAKERS Moment with Cherríe Moraga, Chicana feminist

Chicana feminist Cherríe Moraga and I at the MAKERS: Women Who Make America premiere in New York (photo credit, Ileana Jiménez).

Chicana feminist Cherríe Moraga and I at the MAKERS: Women Who Make America premiere in New York (photo credit, Ileana Jiménez).

In the spring of 1994 during my first year in college, Cherríe Moraga changed my life forever. Her essay “A Long Line of Vendidas” from Loving in the War Years gave me the language I would forever use to understand my brownness, my queer identity, and my feminism.

“To be a woman fully necessitated my claiming the race of my mother. My brother’s sex was white. Mine, brown.”

I recently met Moraga at the red carpet premiere of the MAKERS documentary Women Who Make America in New York. As I watched the first hour of the film during the premiere, I was excited to see a shot of the now classic 1980 photo of Moraga with Audre Lorde and Barbara Smith wearing their Kitchen Table: Woman of Color Press t-shirts. Kitchen Table was the first woman of color independent press that became well-known for publishing the groundbreaking collection This Bridge Called My Back.

Edited by Gloria Anzaldúa and Moraga in 1983, the pieces in Bridge paved the way for how we breathe, speak, and love feminism today. We only need mention these women’s names and we all immediately recognize the bridge they built for our collective feminist consciousness.

Anzaldúa, Lorde, Moraga, and Barbara Smith (who is also featured in MAKERS) were the women who revolutionized feminism. They were the ones who brought an analysis of race, class, and ethnicity to our critical discussions of gender and sexuality. They were the ones who taught us how to bring this intersectional lens to issues of education, immigration, labor, reproductive rights, and much more.

Indeed, they created the feminism we so revere and rally around today. Continue reading

Summer of Feminista: Finding My Latina Feminism

Want to know the story of how I became a feminist?

Fellow feminist Latina blogger at Viva La Feminista, Veronica Arreola, is hosting an amazing series of guest posts this summer by Latinas and their relationship to feminism.  I answered Veronica’s call for submissions as an opportunity to share the story that changed my entire life.  Here’s an excerpt from my guest post titled Finding My Latina Feminism:

If it weren’t for some Irish white guy, I never would have become a feminist.

When I read James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man my senior year in high school, it changed my entire life.  Never before had I read a novel that spoke to me with such intensity.

The main character, Stephen Dedalus, was repeatedly teased and picked on the playground.  I was teased and picked on the playground with names like spic and nigger.

Here was a boy who wrote poetry hidden underneath the covers. I wrote poetry with big words that no one in my family understood.

Here was a boy who questioned the Catholic Church and went off to college to proclaim non serviam, or “I will not serve” the church, and instead became an artist, a writer, and a thinker. At 18, I also questioned the Catholic Church and went off to Smith to proclaim my own destiny as a queer feminist writer and thinker.

But while I read Joyce, I kept asking: Why isn’t this character a Puerto Rican girl living on Long Island via the Bronx in 1993? And why haven’t I ever read a book with a Latina protagonist who shares my story?

Read the rest of my post here and if you’re a fellow Latina feminist, consider participating!