Honoring Chicana Women in San Diego
October 19, 2017
By Andrea Lopez-Villafaña
What began as a tribute wall made up of pictures of women who had influenced their community in some way, is now a 422-page book, which honors the stories and work of Chicana women in San Diego.
“Chicana Tributes: Stories for the New Generation,” is a collection of stories of 61 Chicana activists in education, arts, music, and public offices.
After working on the book for three years, co-editor Rita Sanchez said the result was something beyond their wildest dreams.
“I’m so proud to think that we did something that needed to be done,” Sanchez said. “Now more women will come forward and keep it going and do more stories like this for the younger generations, so that they can read the stories of their ancestors.”
On Wednesday, Oct. 18, a discussion and book signing with the editors, authors, and women who were honored was held at the Logan Heights Library.
Editors Sanchez and Sonia Lopez sat in front of hundreds of people who showed for the event alongside Lucia Acevedo Gonzales, senior program manager for SAY San Diego and author for the in-text story of Rachael Ortiz, and poet Zerina Zermeño, who wrote the section on Josie Talamantez.
The event was the first of a three part series that will be hosted at the library known as, “Generations; Chicana/os on the Move,” which will focus on educating younger generation on those who came before them.
“Women are so amazing and there is a tendency to give credit to the people who have worked so hard, the men have actually worked so hard to fight for our culture and our history, but I don’t think our stories were told and I was determined to do that,” Sanchez said.
She said they originally planned to honor 30 women in the book but as they started talking about the project more names were suggested so they had a total of 61 women.
“This is by no means all the women that deserve to be honored, it’s just there were more and more and we just had to stop somewhere,” Sanchez said.
The stories are written by 61 different women and Sanchez said they unexpectedly ended up with amazing stories of the authors themselves.
“We have such a beautiful history and so many loving people and so many contributors with such genius attached to them,” Sanchez said. “They do it without any compensation and they are determined to build our education process and to teach our history and culture to the younger generations, they need to be acknowledged.”
The book proceeds are going to be donated to the Women’s Museum of California, San Diego State University Archives and the Logan Heights Library.