Adelante Mujer: Latina Activism, Feminism, and Empowerment

  • Denise A. Segura
  • Elisa Facio

Across geographic borders and historical space, Latinas have engaged in diverse forms of activism and leadership in their communities and families. This chapter examines Latina agency both in traditional organizational settings as well as in the informal or everyday spaces in their communities. Latina activism in these domains challenges “notions of leadership [that] are generally grounded on assumptions about a universal and male understanding of power and authority” (Mendez-Negrete, 1999, p. 27). Our exploration of Latinas’ political work organizing workers and in secular and faith-based organizations that build strong transnational relationships and networks reveals continuity across historical space. Ultimately we argue that Latina ways of being and knowing create global and pan-ethnic connections critical for social change. Given the length of time Chicanas/Mexican American women and Puerto Rican women have been in the United States, we draw on their experiences in our discussion of the historical antecedents of women’s activism. However, the reinvigoration of Latina/o communities by intensive immigration from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua since the 1970s gives us an opportunity to incorporate more diverse Latina voices. We argue that the growing diversification among Latinas in the United States is broadening the development of activism, leadership, and political consciousness that is both oppositional and visionary in present-day progressive politics. Increasingly, Latinas are reaching across borders to broaden coalition-building in the tradition of Luisa Moreno, who, according to historian Vicki Ruiz (2004), “remains the only transcontinental Latina union organizer” (p. 1). Latina activism today, however, goes beyond union activism and reflects agendas anchored in an intersectional analysis framed in women’s everyday lives and needs.


Domestic Violence Immigrant Woman Latina Woman Mexican Woman Puerto Rican Woman 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Denise A. Segura
    • 1
  • Elisa Facio
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of CaliforniaSanta BarbaraUSA
  2. 2.Department of Ethnic StudiesUniversity of ColoradoBoulderUSA

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