"Mujerista": Essay

· Who desire a society and a world where there is no oppression.
· Who struggle for a society in which differences and diversity are valued.
· Who know that our world has limits and that we have to live simply so others can simply live.
· Who understand that material richness is not a limitless right but it carries a "social mortgage" that we have to pay to the poor of the world.
· Who savor the struggle for justice, which, after all, is one of the main reasons for living.
· Who try no matter what to know, maintain, and promote our Latina culture.
· Who know that a "glorified" self-abnegation is many times the source of our oppression.
· Who know women are made in the image of God and, as such, value ourselves.
· Who know we are called to birth new women and men, a strong Latino people.
· Who recognize that we have to be source of hope and of a reconciling love.
· Who love ourselves so we can love God and our neighbor.
MUJERISTAS are those of us who struggle for justice for our mothers, grandmothers, aunts, godmothers, comadres, daughters, granddaughters, nieces, goddaughter, friends, women-partners, and for ourselves.



The name given to an enterprise, a social movement, a way of understanding reality, is very important. A name not only identifies but it influences how one thinks about and conceptualizes that to which it refers. This is why a group of Latinas who work in the field of religion and in the churches invented the word MUJERISTA and, together with other Latinas, we have been using it for the last ten years instead of using "Latina feminists." Why?
First, in our work with Latinas all around this country we have met with great resistance to the word "feminist." Even if this is mainly due to unjust propaganda, the fact is that many Latinas see the feminist movement as being anti-male, anti-family, and licentious. Second, many of the Latinas who have participated in the feminist movement have not found in it an analysis of reality that takes into account the ethnic/racial prejudice we suffer in the USA. Repeatedly we have tried to make American feminist understand that we do not suffer sexism apart from ethnic/racial prejudice but that these two types of prejudice reinforce each other to make societal attitudes and practices all the more oppressive for us Latinas. Third, no matter how much we have tried to influence the feminist movement they have not taken our Latina perspective seriously. This is why we have been little more than an appendage that is consider not valuable.

Tired of being, as Latina feminists, an unimportant adjective we said, ENOUGH! And decided to give ourselves a name that expresses our values, our strategies, and the goals for which we struggle. So, with a multitude of madrinas that have stood with us and encouraged us we decided to baptized ourselves MUJERISTAS.
Who is a MUJERISTA? MUJERISTAS are all those Latinas (and Latinos who so wish it) who make an option to struggle against the oppression we suffer in our Latino culture and in the society in which we live precisely because we are women. MUJERISTAS are those of us