Magazine article Colorlines Magazine

Gloria Evangelina Anzaldua 1942-2004

Magazine article Colorlines Magazine

Gloria Evangelina Anzaldua 1942-2004

Article excerpt

Internationally acclaimed cultural theorist, creative writer and independent scholar Gloria Evangelina Anzaldua passed away on May 15, 2004, from diabetes-related complications. One of the boldest feminist thinkers and social justice activists of our time, Anzaldua played a major role in redefining Chicana/o, queer and female identities, and in developing inclusive movements for social justice. Her writings give courage and inspiration to many.

It is difficult finding words to adequately convey the multifaceted nature of Gloria and her work. Born on September 26, 1942, Anzaldua was the oldest child of sixth-generation Mexicanos from the Rio Grande Valley of south Texas. She participated in many social movements and groups, including the Farm Workers' Movement and the Brown Berets. Yet she refused to be contained within any single perspective or agenda. As she asserts in "La Prieta," published in 1980 in This Bridge Called My Back:

"I am a wind-swayed bridge, a crossroads inhabited by whirl-winds. Gloria, the facilitator, Gloria the mediator ... Your allegiance is to La Raza, the Chicano movement,' say the members of my race. 'Your allegiance is to the Third World,' say my Black and Asian friends. 'Your allegiance is to your gender, to women,' say the feminists. Then there's my allegiance to the Gay movement, to the socialist revolution, to the New Age, to magic and the occult. And there's my affinity to literature, to the world of the artist. What am I? A third world lesbian feminist with Marxist and mystic leanings. They would chop me up into little fragments and tag each piece with a label."

Although each group tried to control membership by imposing its own demands, Gloria refused their rules without rejecting the people themselves. Instead, she exposed the flaws in this group-thinking and called for broader communities. In recent writings such as this bridge we call home, Anzaldua took this call even further: "Many of us identify with groups and social positions not limited to our ethnic, racial, religious, class, gender, or national classifications. Though most people self-define by what they exclude, we define who we are by what we include--what I call the 'new tribalism'."

A versatile, award-winning author, Anzaldua is best known for Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza, a hybrid collection of poetry and prose, which was named one of the 100 Best Books of the Century by both Hungry Mind Review and Utne Reader. …

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