Luisa Moreno

Guatemalan activist

Luisa Moreno (August 30, 1907 – November 4, 1992) was a leader in the United States labor movement and a social activist. She unionized workers, led strikes, wrote pamphlets in English and Spanish, and convened the 1939 Congreso de Pueblos de Habla Española, the "first national Latino civil rights assembly", before being deported to Guatemala in 1950.

Quotes edit

"Address to California CIO" (1949) edit

  • Strange things are happening in this land, and only when the truth is widely known, can we put a stop to them.
  • I resigned in March 1947, thinking erroneously that I had the right to become a housewife and enjoy the privilege of being a grandmother. But that was a passing fantasy, for out of the blue sky, one early morning I received a summons to appear before Jack Tenney’s very un-American Committee. regardless of the Tenney Committee’s threats on my then pending citizenship, I refused to answer their $64 question on constitutional grounds. My answer was that the Constitution of the United States was more important to me than citizenship.
  • Strange things are happening in this land. These threatened exiles of long time resident are conveniently cloaked with certain legalities. But it’s a rather thin coat, made out of some plastic fabric — the brand is the Smith Act of 1940. This was an omnibus bill, that if allowed to stand will eventually completely abolish the Bill of Rights and make drastic constitutional changes — changes, not amendments.
  • Foreign intrigue plays too big a part in the affairs of Latin America. In most cases the people do not have a chance.
  • From New York to Florida, from Florida to Texas and California, in several states in many cities and towns I became a part of the struggle to strengthen old AFL locals, to build and extend CIO locals — for better working conditions, for more pay, for improvements in the deplorable conditions of women workers, Negro workers, Mexican workers. Many times we tried and failed partially; but most of the time we were successful. Sometimes the struggle was mean. We fought in the midst of KKK terror. We were jailed for daring to strike. We fought desperately for the right to organize!
  • How poor is the memory of those right wing leaders that are blind to reason — who refuse to see that the interests of labor and the people are one
  • They fail to see that the attacks against some of us will later be extended to them and their unions. They have forgotten the story of Germany, the story of Spain, the story of France. They have forgotten that united we stand — that all the bona fide union in other civilized countries were crushed, and the labor leaders of the right and left shook hands in concentration camps!
  • the new Bridges case is a warning signal for all West Coast labor – that it symbolizes a desperate effort to tear down union conditions built in 15 years of struggle.
  • Fear that slowly brews into terror as the Smith Act blankets the land, covering under its legal cloak, persecutions unheard of in America.
  • the golden carrot that dangles, from the hands of reaction, covers a vicious rattlesnake; for no scab, stoolpigeon or renegade has ever been known to serve the interests of the people.
  • The words of the great American socialist, Debs, comes to my mind: “THE COURT OF FINAL RESORT IS THE PEOPLE, AND THAT COURT WILL BE HEARD FROM IN DUE TIME . . .”

Quotes about Luisa Moreno edit

  • Luisa Moreno spent her storied career advocating for Latino workers' rights, organizing thousands of Louisiana sugarcane workers, Texas pecan shellers, Colorado sugarbeet workers, and a multiethnic union of thirteen thousand cigar makers in Florida.

Vicki L. Ruiz, From Out of the Shadows: Mexican Women in Twentieth-Century America edit

  • As the union's official representative, Moreno organized the strikers into a united, disciplined force that employers could no longer ignore.
  • Public political leadership among Spanish-speaking women was not limited to an aspiring middle class or an elite gentry. Organized by Luisa Moreno, El Congreso de Pueblos de Hablan Española (the Spanish-speaking Peoples Congress) represented the hopes and dreams of many working-class Latinos. By the late 1930s, Moreno was cognizant of both the strength of local institutions and the distance between immigrants and citizens as she endeavored to bring together community networks under the umbrella of a national civil rights congress. El Congreso de Pueblos de Hablan Española was the first national civil rights assembly for Latinos in the United States…El Congreso brought together two dynamic women-Luisa Moreno and Josefina Fierro de Bright-whose life-long friendship was forged in the fire of community organizing.
  • While Luisa Moreno took the lead in organizing the 1939 national meeting of El Congreso, Josefina Fierro de Bright proved instrumental in buoying the day-to-day operations of the fragile southern California chapters…Moreno and Fierro de Bright believed in the dignity of the common person and the importance of grass-roots networks, reciprocity, and self-help...The two women also shared an awareness of the positionality of women in U.S. Latino communities. El Congreso created a woman's committee and a woman's platform, a platform that expressly recognized the "double discrimination" facing Mexican women.

External links edit

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