American community organizer, activist, author, and educator
Elizabeth Martínez (born December 12, 1925) is an Chicana feminist and a community organizer, activist, author, and educator.
- … I had my own personal experiences with prejudice. I was the only child of color in primary school, junior high and high school. I went through all those years feeling like a freak in one all-white school after the other. The family next door wouldn't let their daughter play with me because I was Mexican. I got on a bus once in D.C. with my father, who was very dark, and they told us to go to the back of the bus, where black people had to sit in those years. All this created in me a feeling of empathy and solidarity with people of color and formed the roots of my commitment to fighting for social justice and against racism.
- On becoming a political activist in "Unite and Overcome!" in Teaching Tolerance (Spring 1997)
- … I don't use "Hispanic" because it is Eurocentric and denies the fact that the people being labeled are not just of Spanish origin. Nor do they all speak Spanish. "Hispanic" denies our indigenous or Indian roots. It also denies our African roots, from the thousands of slaves that were brought to Latin America. "Hispanics" are a unique people made up of at least three different populations. For many of us the term "Latino/Latina" is better than "Hispanic." It has a connection with Latin America, not with Spain. But "Latino" is by no means ideal because it has a European connotation, also. The term comes from "Latin," which was, of course, a European language.
- On what she prefers to be called ethnically in "Unite and Overcome!" in Teaching Tolerance (Spring 1997)
- Thinking about racism in terms of just black and white is a further "invisibilization." We have to recognize the commonality of experience of racism among people of color. Sometimes racism is based on skin color or other physical features; it can have added components of culture, language and legal status -- as in the case of people of Mexican descent.…
- On racism in "Unite and Overcome!" in Teaching Tolerance (Spring 1997)
- …it’s just another front in the battle against racism. And that’s what it was, because New Mexico was much more colonial than any other area, but it was all the same damn racism. And so I never felt like I was breaking any life pattern; I was just shifting to another front.…
- On how she joined the Chicano Movement in “ELIZABETH (BETITA) MARTINEZ” (Voices of Feminism Oral History Project; 2006)