During the fall of 1983 two professors and three staff members from Laredo State University and Laredo Junior College came together to plan a conference for women modeled on one held previously at the community college. They formed the organization Las Mujeres and became active in a host of events, including voter registration and the celebration of Women in Texas week, in which they recognized twelve women who had contributed significantly to the community. They continued to host this event for more than fifteen years. The annual Primavera Conference, which addresses Mexican-American women's issues, has been held every year on the Saturday closest to International Women's Day. The founding idea of Las Mujeres was to reestablish the tradition of women's activism by educating the organization's membership and the community at large about women's issues and by recognizing women's contributions. The charter members, María de la Luz Cardenas, Norma Cantú, Carolyn Otero, Laura Rendon, and Margarita Moncivais, added another ten members from the community. Among these were Evangelina Aradillas, head of the residents' association for Colonia Guadalupe, Josefina Luera, at that time a caseworker with the Texas Department of Human Services, and Rose Treviño, an amateur archeologist and well-known community activist. Las Mujeres's original affiliation with Laredo State University and Laredo Junior College was tenuous at best and remained so. Las Mujeres eventually became part of a network with other women's organizations, such as the American Association of University Women, the Nuevo Laredo Chapter of University Women, the Hispanic Women's Network of Texas, and others. Las Mujeres organized as a collective, and no officers were elected. The only requirement for membership was (and remained) a willingness to work for women's issues and to uphold the group's commitment to education. As members came and went, the core group remained basically the same. Though attendance at the Primavera Conference and Brindis a la Mujer grew from about fifty participants initially to nearly 300 by the early 1990s, the core membership of Las Mujeres remained at around twenty. The organization's activities and meetings remained sporadic and often responded to particular needs of women in the community. For example, after a period of numerous violent events, Las Mujeres organized an interdenominational vigil at a local church. Members of Las Mujeres were instrumental in organizing the local chapter of the Hispanic Women's Network of Texas and in hosting the network's statewide conference in 1989. In the early 1990s Las Mujeres continued to fulfill its mission by recognizing outstanding women, by educating its members and the community about women's issues, and by fostering interchange between women from Mexico and the United States.
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Activism and Social Reform
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Norma E. Cantú,
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed July 05, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
November 1, 1995
Most Recent Revision Date:
January 6, 2022
This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: