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Authors, contributors to “Chicana Movidas” to talk civil rights history during Festiba

February 28, 2019

For every iconic moment that defines a social movement, there are many more small moments that make them possible.

Those smaller movements are the subject of the anthology “Chicana Movidas: New Narratives of Activism and Feminism in the Movement Era,” which will be the subject of two book talks this week during the Festival of International Books & Arts at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley campuses.

Five editors and contributors to the book, which captures oral histories from women activists of color, will be at the Edinburg campus Thursday evening and at the Brownsville campus Friday morning.

Noreen Rivera, assistant professor in the Department of Literatures and Cultural Studies, said the history of Chicanas in the fight for civil rights has been erased from archives. They struggled against racism in the Women’s Movement, which was largely white and middle class, and against sexism in the Chicano Movement, she added.

“That movement is lost,” Rivera said, but “Chicana Movidas” recovers that history.

One entry that highlights Chicanas’ contribution to the push for equality, Rivera said, is an entry by Martha Cotera about two large women’s meetings — one in Houston and the other in Mexico City — during 1977. Think of them as TED Talks that focus on civil rights, she said.

“These Chicana women got into a dialogue with their white sisters and fought off microaggressions of racism to have a stake in this action plan that was coming out of the women’s conference in Houston,” Rivera said.

She called Cotera a “founding madre” of the Chicana movement who was on Rivera’s dissertation committee. Rivera reached out to her, and the women agreed to make a 24-hour trip to discuss their book at Festiba before continuing their book tour in Austin.

Cotera will be joined by editors Dionne Espinoza, María Cotera and Maylei Blackwell and contributor Brenda Sendejo. The anthology contains interviews with women, scholars and their male allies.

The Thursday book talk will take place 7-8 p.m. on the Edinburg campus in the International Room of the International Trade and Technology Building. The Friday book talk will take place 10-11 a.m. on the Brownsville campus in Room 1.224 of the Main Building. Both will be followed by a 30-minute Q&A and book signing.

nadia@brownsvilleherald.com