Since 1987, March has been designated Women’s History Month in the United States. The celebration has roots in the socialist and labor movements, starting with February 28, 1909 – a year after garment workers strikes took place in New York – which marked the first Women’s Day. By the 1970s, feminist activists lobbied for a week-long celebration, in part because history books overlooked the contributions of women. But it wasn’t until 1987 that March became Women’s History Month, thanks to the Women’s National History Project.
As we continue to celebrate the holiday, Latinas – much like other women of color – continue being disregarded. That’s why there’s no better way to celebrate the month than by reading about women who have changed their worlds, created art, and lived intensely. Below are seven memoirs, book of essays, and poetry books that tell the stories of incredible Latinas in their own words.
1. Sonia Sotomayor’s My Beloved World
You may know Sotomayor as the first Latina on the United States Supreme court, but My Beloved World shows you a Sonia growing up Boricua in the Bronx. Sotomayor writes about her tough relationship with her parents, and early health problems: a diabetes diagnosis at a young age that makes her work all the harder. There’s also a delight in seeing her push her way through other challenges: She responds to hard classes by taking harder ones, she gets over heartbreak by learning to salsa, designing her own course of study at Princeton to catch up to more privileged classmates. Sotomayor offers readers a vulnerable self-portrait of a woman she describes as “ordinary,” but is really anything but.
2. Diane Guerrero’s In the Country We Love
When Diane Guerrero’s In the Country We Love was published in early 2016, it predated the threats to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program, Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) ramping up its activities, and the injustices of deportation being on the news daily. Guerrero’s memoir shows more deeply and personally the scars that deportation leaves on families – the story centers around her parents deportation when she was only 14, and the struggles that ensued. You may also be able to watch this memoir soon; Guerrero, best known for her work in Orange is the New Black and Jane the Virgin,was recently cast as the lead in a project based on her book.
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