Warriors for Social Justice

Maria Jimenez of Houston and Mexican American Activists

978-1-57441-912-2 Cloth
6 x 9 x 0 in
352 pp. 16 b&w illus. Notes.
Pub Date: 07/15/2024
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  • Cloth $39.95 s
Warriors for Social Justice examines the contributions of Mexican American activists to the nation’s democratic values by concentrating on the activism of Maria Jiménez (1950–2020) in Houston, Texas. Linda J. Quintanilla tells the life story of this admired immigrant and human rights activist who not only fought racist discriminations such as segregation but also typified other Mexican American activists. Quintanilla documents how Jiménez and other activists advanced social justice by promoting our nation’s best virtues, especially equality.
      In 1971, when only 20, Jiménez already had a definition of what it meant for her to be an activist: “when I see a problem which I feel needs a solution, then I go out to solve it.” Quintanilla describes her lifelong battle against injustice, be it racist, sexist, or anti-immigrant animus. The Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride in 2003, only one of her many impressive achievements, delighted her the most. The experience introduced its participants, undocumented immigrants, to historic places and African American activists and descendants from the Civil Rights Movement. The Freedom Ride, Jiménez believed, not only was educational but also inspired the immigrants in their long and difficult fight to gain legal status—a true victory for social justice.
      Quintanilla uses Critical Race Theory (CRT), which examines the relationship between race, racism, and power, as the framework for studying Jiménez and Mexican American activism. She describes the racial discrimination that the Mexican-origin community experienced in Texas, with a focus on Houston, dating from the state’s earliest years and continuing into the twenty-first century. The commonplace belief in the inferiority of the Mexican-origin minority contributed, for example, to segregation, substandard public schools, and denial of the vote and jury duty. Quintanilla also addresses the violence this community suffered from authorities and examines immigration laws in depth in order to provide a historical context to the current national debate on immigration.

Al Filo: Mexican American Studies Series

Published by University of North Texas Press