Below is a collection of Latina women who inspire me with their words. I plan to continue adding quotes from kick ass Latina women that make me proud! So keep checking for updates.
Julia de Burgos (February 17, 1914 – July 6, 1953) was a Puerto Rican poet. She was a tireless advocate for the independence of Puerto Rico, women’s rights, and African/Afro-Caribbean writers.
“Don’t let the hand you hold, hold you down.”
Frida Kahlo de Rivera (July 6, 1907 – July 13, 1954) was a Mexican painter. She is known for her self-portraits and being a fierce advocate for female sexuality and women’s empowerment.
“I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me, too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it’s true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you.”
Celia Cruz (October 21, 1925 – July 16, 2003) was a Cuban Salsa singer and performer. She is called the Queen of Salsa and is known for her vivacious personality, zeal for life and her trademark shout “¡Azúcar!” (“Sugar!” in Spanish.)
“When people hear me sing, I want them to be happy, happy, happy. I don’t want them thinking about when there’s not any money, or when there’s fighting at home. My message is always felicidad – happiness.”
Sonia Sotomayor (born June 25, 1954) is a Puerto Rican Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, serving since August 2009. Sotomayor is the first Hispanic justice, and its third female justice.
“I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”
Zoë Saldaña (born June 19, 1979) is a half-Dominican, half-Puerto Rican actress. She is known for her roles in Pirates of the Caribbean and Avatar. As an Afro-Latina, she proudly represents our heritage and makes room for women like us in Hollywood.
“I’ve witnessed racism all my life. And of course there’s racism and discrimination in Hollywood. You go for a part and they say, ‘Oh, we really liked her, she’s amazing, but we wanted to go with something more traditional’. As if I’m not a traditional American!”
Salma Hayek (born September 2, 1966) is a Mexican actress, producer, director and activist. Salma works on projects that draw on Latino themes or feature Latino talent for ABC Studios. She is also a spokesperson for UNICEF, Avon Foundation’s Speak Out Against Domestic Violence program, and Bono’s One campaign.
“You can be a thousand different women. It’s your choice which one you want to be. It’s about freedom and sovereignty. You celebrate who you are. You say, ‘This is my kingdom.'”
Sandra Cisneros (born December 20, 1964) is a Chicana writer and feminist. She is also the founder of two foundations that serve writers and the organizer of the Latino McArthur Fellows. Her books deal with femininity and female sexuality within a patriarchal society.
“My feminism is humanism, with the weakest being those who I represent, and that includes many beings and life forms, including some men.”
Julia Alvarez (born March 27, 1950) is a Dominican poet, novelist, and essayist. Her writings often deal with assimilation and identity and are heavily influenced by her Dominican-American heritage. Her works examine cultural expectations of women in the Dominican Republic and the United States, and for rigorous investigations of cultural stereotypes.
“Men often say that women change their minds too much. I say they sometimes don’t change them enough. I mean changing their state of mind, their attitudes, their outlook, their expectations, their consciousness – most of all, about themselves and what is possible in their lives.”
Gloria Evangelina Anzaldúa (September 26, 1942 – May 15, 2004) was a scholar of Chicano cultural theory, feminist theory, and Queer theory. Her most well-known book is Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza, which speaks of social and cultural marginalization.
“Until I am free to write bilingually and to switch codes without having always to translate, while I still have to speak English or Spanish when I would rather speak Spanglish, and as long as I have to accommodate the English speakers rather than having them accommodate me, my tongue will be illegitimate. I will no longer be made to feel ashamed of existing. I will have my voice: Indian, Spanish, white. I will have my serpent’s tongue – my woman’s voice, my sexual voice, my poet’s voice. I will overcome the tradition of silence.”
Aurora Levins Morales (born January 24, 1954) is a Puerto Rican Jewish writer and poet. She is best known for her collection of essays Medicine Stories: History, Culture, and the Politics of Integrity. She is a tireless advocate for women’s rights and is considered the voice of Feminism in Latin America.
“Solidarity is not a matter of altruism. Solidarity comes from the inability to tolerate the affront to our own integrity of passive or active collaboration in the oppression of others, and from the deep recognition that, like it or not, our liberation is bound up with that of every other being on the planet, and that politically, spiritually, in our heart of hearts we know anything else is unaffordable.”
Ellen Ochoa (born May 10, 1958) is a former astronaut and current Deputy Director of the Johnson Space Center of Mexican-American descent. She was the first Hispanic female astronaut, paving the way for women in the science fields.
“Usually, girls weren’t encouraged to go to college and major in math and science. My high school calculus teacher, Ms. Paz Jensen, made math appealing and motivated me to continue studying it in college.”
Comandante Ramona (died January 6, 2006) was the nom de guerre of an officer of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), a revolutionary indigenous autonomist organization based in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas. As a member of the Zapatista leading council, the CCRI (Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee), she served as a symbol of equality and dignity for indigenous and impoverished women.
“Our hope is that one day our situation will change, that we women will be treated with respect, justice, and democracy.”
Isabel Allende (born August 2, 1942) is a Chilean writer. Allende’s works are noteworthy due to their elements of “magical realism” tradition that often represents Latin American literature. She is most famous for her novel The House of the Spirits.
“Giving women education, work, the ability to control their own income, inherit and own property, benefits the society. If a woman is empowered, her children and her family will be better off. If families prosper, the village prospers, and eventually so does the whole country.”