Cherrie Moraga is featured in this week's Adventures In Feministory because she is one of the most influential and visible Latina feminists of our time. Moraga revolutionized the feminist movement in 1981 with the release of This Bridge Called My Back: Writings By Radical Women of Color, a collection she co-edited with Gloria Anzaldua. She is a writer, a lesbian, an editor a poet and an activist. She's not just those things, though, and they are not mutually exclusive. That "not just" qualification is what Moraga is most known for.
Moraga is half white and half Mexican; a lesbian and a Chicana activist; she came from a poor family but was not necessarily poor herself; her mother was illiterate where as Moraga herself went to college. It is from these many striking dualities that Moraga theorized the overlapping nature of problems that plague feminists. In her essay La Guera she says, "In this country, lesbianism is a poverty-as is being brown, as is being a woman, as is being just plain poor." Moraga explored the divisiveness these sources of oppression could bring into the feminist community: the racism in some aspects of the women's movement, the fact that some homosexuals of color sometimes had to "choose a side" to fight for. With the release of Bridge, these problems were brought to the forefront. She spoke about internalized oppression and the reality that even as liberal activists, some groups still oppressed other groups who were different. Moraga literally made herself the bridge between many this-or-that combinations that were both fighting for justice in a world full of "-isms", many that affected her personally. "I am a woman with a foot in both worlds," she said in La Guera. "And I refuse the split."
Moraga is also a playwright, artist and current artist in residence at Stanford University. The subjects of her work are vast. She started writing lesbian love poems in college, wrote a book about queer motherhood in her 40s and was most recently granted $50,000 by United States Artists. I can't wait to see what is next.