Josefina Fierro de Bright

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Josefina Fierro (1914, Calexico, California - March 1998 [1]), later Josefina Fierro de Bright, was a Mexican American leader who helped organize resistance against discrimination in the American Southwest during the Great Depression. She was the daughter of migrants who had fled revolution in Mexico to settle in California. She grew up in Los Angeles and the San Joaquin Valley.

Her mother emphasized the importance of education and urged Josefina to "Rely on yourself, be independent." In 1938 when Fierro was 18 years old, she entered the University of California, Los Angeles. She planned to study medicine, but activism on behalf of the Mexican American community took up most of her time and effort. Josefina gave up her studies at UCLA to become an organizer, and her style was described by veteran longshoremen's leader Bert Corona as "gutsy, flamboyant, and tough". [2]

Aided by her husband John Bright, a Hollywood screenwriter and an activist himself, she began to lead boycotts of companies that did business in Mexican American communities but did not hire Mexican American workers. These activities brought her attention from a Mexican American group called El Congreso del Pueblo de Habla Espanola (Spanish-speaking congress), which was formed in 1938. El congreso was organizing Hispanic migrants to stand up for their rights. In 1939 El Congreso leaders asked Josefina to help them to establish a branch in Los Angeles which represented a major effort by the Mexican American generation of the time, to form a working class movement that was aimed at securing basic rights for all Mexican and Spanish speaking people in the United States.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Mario T. García (2004) "FIERRO, Josefina" in Notable American Women: A Biographical Dictionary Completing the Twentieth Century (pg. 205-206) Susan Ware, Stacy Lorraine Braukman, editors. ISBN 0-674-01488-X
  2. ^ - Chicanas.com article - URL last accessed 2006-07-25

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