From 1969 to the Present: A Brief History Outlining the Critical Role of Women of Color in the Struggle for Ethnic Studies

Ziza Delgado, UC Berkeley

In 1969, when the Third World Liberation Front (TWLF) erupted at UC Berkeley, women of color organized in multifarious ways. Women of color brought to the movement their experiences as an oppressed group in their own communities, the institution, and their previous experience organizing in other arenas such as the Civil Rights and Anti-War Movements. For many of the women who participated in the TWLF, the struggle was located not only in their contentious fights against the university, but also against male chauvinism from within their organizations. Today, I can say that as a member of multiple Ethnic Studies alliances and coalitions, women are playing key leadership roles with the fervent support of our brothers in the movement. The coalitionary politics playing out in today’s struggle to maintain and expand Ethnic Studies, is reflective of the critical spaces and knowledge production that women of color have fought to establish in the intellectual and political realms. This presentation will discuss the shift in ideology and praxis of women of color, and their male comrades, in the struggle to *create* and *sustain* Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley.