Video Oral History

Yolanda Alaniz

MEChA de UW, Radical Women, Freedom Socialist Party

 

Yolanda Alaniz born in 1950 in Brownsville, Texas was raised in Sunnyside, Washington in the Yakima Valley where she and her family worked as farmworkers.

In 1969 Alaniz attended the University of Washington where became an influential member in Chicana/o rights organizations like MEChA, Brown Berets, and Las Chicanas. In 1975 she was one of the central figures in the student, staff and faculty strike protesting the firing of two Chicano administrators and the secretary of Chicana/o Studies. The same year she joined campus Radical Women, a socialist feminist national organization. As a UW Daily reporter she wrote articles about women and people of color issues.

After graduating with a BA in Journalism, she became active in City of Seattle politics through the Hispanic Association of City Employees, the Seattle Women’s Commission and in 1991 she made history by running for City Council as the first Chicana socialist and city employee.

She relocated to Los Angeles in 1995 continuing her political activism with RW and the Freedom Socialist Party working on women, lesbian and gay issues and for workers and immigrant rights. She has a MLIS from University of California, Los Angeles. Today she works as an archivist and writer. She co-edited with Nellie Wong an anthology, Voices of Color , writings by radicals of color and her second book, iViva la Raza!: Chicano Identity and Resistance (Red Letter Press), co-authored with Megan Cornish will be published in 2007. She serves on the Editorial Board of the Freedom Socialist newspaper coordinating the Voices of Color column.

Yolanda Alaniz discussed her activist history in an interview with Edgar Flores and Michael Schulze Oechtering Castenada. To the right are streaming-video excerpts of the interview.

Work on this interview was made possible by a grant from 4Culture/King County Lodging Tax.

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