hispanic activist

Jovita Idár (1885-1946) was an important figure in the struggle to advance the rights of Mexican-Americans in the United States. Working for the newspaper La Crónica, she exposed the poor living conditions and subpar treatment of Mexican workers and supported the 1910 Mexican Revolution.

She was the first president of the League of Mexican Women, founded in 1911 with the purpose of offering free education to Mexican children. The organization grew into a charity that provided food and clothing to countless disadvantaged people around Texas.

Nydia Margarita Velázquez (born March 28, 1953) is an American politician who has served in the United States House of Representatives since 1993. Velázquez, a Democrat from New York, is the first Puerto Rican woman to be elected to Congress, and she was the chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus until January 3, 2011. Her district, located in New York City, was numbered the 12th district from 1993 to 2013 and has been numbered the 7th district since 2013.

Velázquez, whose father worked the sugar cane fields, was one of nine siblings born in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico. During her upbringing, political dinner conversations were commonplace. Her father was a local political activist and she would accompany him to political rallies, starting at a young age. Her father focused on the rights of sugar cane workers and denounced the abuses of wealthy farmers.[1]

After skipping a grade, she entered high school when she was 13. While a student, she organized a protest to draw attention to the school’s dangerous and unsanitary conditions. The protest resulted in the school temporarily closing down so that the necessary renovations could be made.

At age 16, Velázquez enrolled in the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras. In 1974, she graduated magna cum laude and became the first member of her family to receive a college degree. She then went to New York City to attend New York University, where she received a scholarship to study political science. In 1976, she received her Master’s degree.

Velázquez was a professor, first at the University of Puerto Rico at Humacao from 1976 to 1981, and then at New York’s Hunter College from 1981 until 1983.

More Information on Nydia Velázquez


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