Through the example of Luisa Moreno and others, how did Mexicans & Mexican-Americans create the idea of civil rights (Explain how and why)?

Learning Goal: I’m working on a ethnic studies question and need an explanation and answer to help me learn.

-Students must interact with 2 classmates by posting one paragraph per entry (5 to 8 sentences in each question)

-Remember to offer substance and thoughtful dialogue along with comments to classmates.

Classmate 1

Question 1

Through the example of Luisa Moreno and others, how did Mexicans & Mexican-Americans create the idea of civil rights (Explain how and why)?

Many Mexicans and Mexican-Americans participated in strikes at the garment factory under Moreno’s leadership. After initiating the move to devote more attention to fighting for immigrant workers worldwide, Moreno joined the American Federation of Labor in 1935 as an organizer. Del Castillo (2021) states that there was the formation of a crucial platform for Mexican-American voices, which effectively lobbied for protective laws and changes to the housing and education systems through the group. Moreno was a crucial element in the fight for Hispanic civil rights. This cause would have given Mexicans and Mexican-Americans, who had previously faced prejudice because of their ethnicity, full and equal citizenship. As a result, individuals would have access to administrative services, a fair hearing, and an education.

Question 2

Briefly talk about 4 factors that shaped the life of Luisa Moreno as an activist.

Since women were not then allowed to enroll in Guatemalan colleges, Moreno could not finish her study in the natal country. She started an organization to encourage female students to take an interest in social concerns, which is how she got started as an activist. In New York, Moreno worked in the garment business, characterized by difficult working conditions, systemic racism, and low pay. Consequently, a group of Latino labor organizers was formed, and they took part in multiple strikes. Unjustified detention and incarceration of Mexican-Americans also influenced Moreno’s advocacy. Additionally, the execution in Sleepy Lagoon sparked more action, and her activism led to the formation of a defense group to advance civil rights and a fair trial.

Question 3

According to historian Vicky Ruíz, what was the type of opposition that Mexicans/Mexican-Americans had to face during the period of the Depression years?

Vicki Ruiz states that Mexicans/Mexican-Americans in the 20th century, immigrants from Mexicana and their daughters, faced ethnic prejudice in employment, schooling, and leisure activities, exacerbated by the hardship of deep despair. They relied on the assistance of friends, neighbors, and coworkers (Sowards, 2021). The groups further encountered significant pushback throughout the Depression due to the blending of gender roles, assembly line working conditions, household, and peer indoctrination. Women were not allowed to freely express their aspirations or participate in Hollywood chatter that may cut over racial boundaries. The opposition period further discredited cannery agents, which could raise awareness of a wider variety of places that may promote the development of revolutionary spirit and group action.

Question 4

Take 5 minutes now to learn 3 things you can do to make a lasting difference in your community, considering some of the labor issues discussed in the readings. Think about how you can make a difference, for instance, in your workplace.

Giving policies to create jobs priority is the first move to make an enduring difference in my workplace. Forming alliances to increase investments in fair employment is another move to consider. Implementing global policies with the combined power of international organizations, administrations, corporations, and employees may make a difference (Jiang et al., 2019). Another idea is to use policies related to abilities and the job market to target specific human weaknesses. This is a positive step toward enhancing the community’s inclusion in the labor sector through focused initiatives, such as job search support, professional experience programs, and coaching for the labor force.

Classmate 2

1) Luisa Moreno devoted herself to trade union and civil rights work. She helped create the idea of civil rights through organizing several labor unionizations. The unionizations she helped create included: the black and latina tobacco cigar company in Florida, cane workers in Louisiana, packing houses in California and a Latino tuna packing workers in San Diego. Her approach was to first find out the problems from the workers. The next step was to start by solving the small problems first, followed by tackling the bigger problems. Luisa believed that “One person can’t do anything; it’s only with others that things are accomplished.” Civil rights are important because they abolish segregation, discrimination and disenfranchisement. This creates more equality among the people in the community.

2) The 4 factors that shaped the life of Luis Moreno as an activist were: the Labor Movement, the Great Depression, World War II and her personal life. She became more involved in labor union activism because she was the breadwinner for her family during the Great Depression. Luisa worked in a garment factory in Spanish Harlem which opened her eyes to the terrible working conditions. The death of a work friends infant, due to rat bites was a defining moment in her life that propelled her to fight for change. Luisa’s personal life was difficult because her daughter, Mytyl was raised in a boarding school in her younger years. She chose her work over raising her kid, which tainted their relationship. She also had to deal with divorce. Another pivotal time was when she changed her original name from Blanca Rosa Lopez Rodriguez to Luisa and chose the alias Moreno which appeared to be a direct opposite from her former name.

3) According to Vicky Ruiz the type of opposition that Mexicans/Mexican-Americans had to face during the depression years were unemployment, deportation, discrimination, food shortages, racial violence and unable to access higher education. Many believed that education was the key to a better life. The everyday struggles made it difficult for Mexicans to achieve any sort of balanced life. They seemed to live in constant fear from all the issues during the depression. Many had to be really resourceful and do more with a lot less. Character reveals itself during challenging times. I cannot imagine how much resilience/mental fortitude some situations must have taken to get through. Despite everything that was happening, it strengthened a lot of family and community bonds.

4) I think you can make a lasting difference in your community by getting to know the community itself. Once you are aware of the culture of the community you can help create change. Like Luisa Moreno, you can start with the small problems and then move on to solving the bigger problems. It is only when you bring awareness to problems that affect the community, that change can begin. One person can spark the change, but it takes everyone in the community to make a difference. For instance, if there is unfair treatment in the workplace, people should speak up. Sometimes it can be hard to say anything because you can possibly jeopardize your job/income. However, by speaking up it could improve the overall conditions of the workplace. Change lies in being bold.

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