Luisa Moreno (2019)

Melanie Cervantes
12″ x 18″
10 color screen print, 140#/300 gsm Canson watercolor paper, Printed in my kitchen, San Leandro, April 2019
Edition of 50

“Originally from Guatemala Luisa Moreno devoted herself to workers in the U.S. and their struggles for a decent life. In 1928 she began organizing exploitedĀ workers in a Harlem sweatshop. There she came to know Puerto Rican socialists, and joined the Communist Party. She went on to organize Black and Latina workers in Florida and helped build a cigar workers union that had been terrorized by the Ku Klux Klan.

She organized cane workers in New Orleans and then tuna packing workers in San Diego, becoming chief organizer of their union The United Cannery, Agricultural, Packing, and Allied Workers of America in 1938. That same year she helped organize the Congreso de Pueblos de Habla EspaƱola with Josefina Fierro de Bright, and they became life long friends. She was elected the first Latina member of California CIO Council.

Luisa was attacked in the “Red Scare” and threatened with deportation is she did not testify against another labor organizer. She refused and was deported in 1950. After a stay in Mexico, she went to Cuba where she participated in the Revolution’s early years. ” from “500 Years of Chicana Women’s History” by Betita Martinez

She also organized the Sleepy Lagoon Defense Committee, after the service men riots(so-called Zoot Suit Riots), to exonerate the indicted Pachuco youth.

Suggested Reading:

Guatemalan Immigrant Luisa Moreno Was Expelled From the U.S. for Her Groundbreaking Labor Activism

The literary Luisa Moreno