Academic journal article Social Justice

A Chicana Icon on the Left

Academic journal article Social Justice

A Chicana Icon on the Left

Article excerpt

BETITA MARTINEZ HAS ESTABLISHED HERSELF AS ONE OF THE FOREMOST Chicana feminists and activists in the United States. She has amassed a remarkable record of contributions as a writer on the Left. Her writings have been trenchant critiques of Chicano patriarchy, US imperialism, and the oppression of the Mexican American working class. Her bilingual book, 500 Years of Chicano History, is a significant contribution to Chicana/o Studies and was an important reason why she received the 2000 National Association of Chicana/Chicano Studies (NACCS) Scholar of the Year award.

Betita and I go back to 1976. We met soon after she moved to the Bay Area from New Mexico, where she had cofounded and tirelessly worked on El Grito del Norte, one of the first newspapers of the Chicano Movement. I happily voted for her when she was a candidate for governor on the Peace and Freedom Party ticket in 1982.

I had the opportunity to get to know her well when she and Steve Hiatt served as Verso Press coeditors for the first edition of my book, Youth, Identity, Power: The Chicano Movement. Later, I had the pleasure of working with her on the editorial committee of CrossRoads Magazine from 1992 to 1996 and as one of her cofounders, along with Phil Hutchings, Angela Davis, and Manning Marable, of the San Francisco-based Institute for MultiRacial Justice, the first of its kind in the nation. …

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