Today on Extraordinary Women Radio, I’m excited to bring you this extraordinary woman – Guadalupe Briseno, a Latina Leader in Colorado’s Labor Movement in the 60s and 70s, and a 2020 Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame Inductee.
In this Episode:
- Listen in on how Guadalupe led a labor strike in the Kitayama plant in the 60s that is foundational to today’s social justice movements
- The importance of respect and non-use of bad language with subordinates and co-workers
- The human rights violations that Guadalupe witnessed at the Kitayama plant
- How Guadalupe proposed talking to the management and how Mr. Kitayama just berated them
- How the women courageously took a stand together against the injustices
- How Guadalupe took the retrenchment, took it to court, and got the support of a lot of people
- Why it is important for women to raise their voices in these situations
- How women are stronger these days and have learned to speak up
- The opportunities for women of this generation
- What Guadalupe will tell her 30-year old self
As the organizer of the Kitayama Carnation Strike, Lupe Briseño demonstrated the strength and power of Latina leadership in Colorado’s Labor Movement and set the stage for the Colorado Chicano Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and 70s. Her story is an essential chapter in the history of Colorado, the evolution of Latina feminist leadership, and the struggle for Chicano civil rights.
The Kitayama Carnation Strike was one of the seminal events in 1969 that laid the foundation for the Chicano Movement in Colorado. The impact of the women-led social movement reverberated throughout the state within the Chicano Civil Rights Movement.
But most importantly, Briseño and the Kitayama Carnation Strike demanded that women, as well as all laborers, be treated with the respect and dignity that they deserved. Fundamental human rights were at the heart of their demands – the same rights that are the foundation of many of the social justice movements today: equal-pay-for-equal work, immigration rights, anti-human trafficking, and the “Me Too” movement.
Lupe Briseño, her companions and their role in the Kitayama Carnation strike empowered Latinas in the civil rights, labor, feminist, education, and social justice movements of the 1960s and 70s. Her actions and leadership are the shoulders upon which current Latina leaders stand.
“The women were very strong. You’ll be surprised when the women make a stand.” – Guadalupe Briseno
Let’s meet Guadalupe Briseno!
The Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame mission is to inspire by celebrating and sharing the enduring contributions of Colorado’s distinctive women. To achieve this, the Hall educates the people of Colorado about the stories of the women who shaped our state and the nation’s history with courage, leadership, intelligence, compassion, and creativity. Their talents, skills, struggles, and contributions form a legacy that the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame is dedicated to protecting. I invite you to join us at the March 18, 2020, Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame 2020 Inductee Gala by purchasing your ticket here.
Watch for five additional interviews in the coming months of the 2020 Inductee Hall of Famers:
- Katherine Archuleta – LISTEN TO HER INTERVIEW Archuleta was appointed as the first Latina to lead the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in in 2013 by President Barack Obama, overseeing a budget of roughly $250 million and managing human resources for the federal government’s 2 million employees. Archuleta also served as chief of staff for U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis and Secretary of Transportation Federico Peña, where she strived toward justice and equality through her direct influence on policy at the state and national level.
- Rosalind “Bee” Harris – LISTEN TO HER INTERVIEW Harris shifted the Colorado media landscape when she founded the Denver Urban Spectrum in 1987 — a monthly publication built to elevate the stories of communities of color and highlight the voices that were not otherwise reflected in mainstream media. Harris also went on to found the Urban Spectrum Youth Foundation in 2000 as a journalism mentoring program for 11- to 17-year-olds.
- Velveta Howell – LISTEN TO HER INTERVIEW Howell was the eighth African American female to graduate from the University of Colorado Law School and went on to become the first woman of color appointed as Colorado’s Deputy District Attorney. Howell was also later appointed to the Colorado Health Care Reform Executive Steering Committee and helped establish the Colorado Office of Health Disparities—only the second in the nation.
- Marianne Neifert, MD, MTS – LISTEN TO HER INTERVIEW In the late 1970s, Neifert was the first U.S. physician to promote the routine use of modern breastfeeding technologies and helped establish the then-burgeoning field of breastfeeding medicine. In 1984, she co-founded the Mothers’ Milk Bank—the nation’s largest nonprofit human milk bank. In 1990, she co-founded the Colorado Breastfeeding Task Force (which later became the Colorado Breastfeeding Coalition) with a mission to educate and advocate for the practice and later co-founded the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine in 1994.
- Gale Norton – LISTEN TO HER INTERVIEW Gale become the first woman elected Attorney General of Colorado – at a time when only two women had previously held the office of state Attorney General anywhere in the country. She achieved another first when she was appointed Secretary of the US Department of the Interior – the first female leader in the Department’s 150-year history. In that role, Norton was responsible for managing over 20% of the land area of the United States, a Fortune-500-sized budget, and a workforce of 70,000 employees. Norton led efforts that resolved 70-year-old interstate disputes on the Colorado River and instituted a west-wide water conservation program. She championed the President’s Healthy Forest Initiative and Cooperative Conservation.