Friday, March 1, 2019
  Community, Around Campus

By Victoria Brito

BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS – The theme of empowerment was on full display on the UTRGV Brownsville Campus Friday, March 1, as part of FESTIBA 2019 with a special book talk with the authors of “Chicana Movidas: New Narratives of Activism in the Movement Era.”

The presentation featured nationally acclaimed co-editoras Maria Cotera (University of Michigan), Dionne Espinoza (Cal State University-Los Angeles), Maylei Blackwell (UCLA), essay contributor Brenda Sendejo (Southwestern University), and influential proponent of Chicana/women’s rights, Martha Cotera, who contributed to this anthology. This is the first collection of scholarly essays and testimonies based on Chicana organizing, activism, and leadership in the movement years of the 1960s and 1970s.

The women each gave 10-minute presentations on their contributions to this book.

The term movidas (movements) often has multiple negative connotations in colloquial Spanish language. But Espinosa said that this book can repurpose that term into something positive.

“We thought this idea of movidas had a lot of potential, first of all, because Chicanas that came before us have used the term in very interesting ways,” Espinosa said. “With this book, we wanted to move from the Chicano movement or the women’s movement to open up a space to examine the small scale movimientos and movidas that Chicanas have to use because of their multiple exclusion and marginalization in the big end movement.”

The purpose of this presentation was to preserve the legacy of the Chicana movement, which is often overlooked in historical contexts.

“There was magic that happened here today,” said Dr. Noreen Rivera, UTRGV assistant professor of Literatures and Cultural Studies. “It is important because ‘herstory’ of Chicana feminism got lost in the Chicana movement and the women’s movements. So, through the efforts of activists like Martha Cotera, who were on the ground floor and founding mothers of the Chicana movement and the movidas, it is important that their stories finally be told before this information is lost.”

The book talk left senior English major, Lilian Lizette Trujillo, inspired and empowered.

“I am so happy that I came because I am learning about this topic in my women’s rhetoric class,” Trujillo said. “We are learning there are not many Chicana stories that we have studied.”

While men like Mark Twain, William Shakespeare and Edgar Allan Poe have their place in literature and history, women, especially Chicanas, are often overlooked. Trujillo, a Brownsville native, who hopes to one day become an author, believes the women on the panel, who shared their stories, can imprint their place in literary history.

“These women can change us,” she said. “They can change the world through their imagination.”

The book talk was also held on the Edinburg Campus on Thursday, February 28.


The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas. This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.

UTRGV has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island. UTRGV, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.