Comisión Femenil Mexicana Nacional, Inc.

Guide to the Comisión Femenil Mexicana Nacional Archives

CFMN President Gloria Moreno-Wycoff with President Jimmy CarterThe Comisión Femenil Mexicana Nacional is an organization of women who enhance and promote the image of Chicana/Latina women in all levels of society. The Comisión supports the Chicana/Latina and promotes her issues from birth to her future careers and aging. Today there are local chapters that are active, but the national organization is defunct.

The Comisión Femenil Mexicana Nacional was founded in October of 1970, when a group of women, who were present at the annual National Chicano Issues Conference, raised certain issues relating to women and families that should be priorities to deal with at that time. Other delegates at the conference felt that although the women's concerns were important, they were not as much of a priority as other problems regarding such issues as immigration and unemployment. Women from the conference began caucusing, and together concluded that the prominent reason why these issues were not a priority was because they were concerning women rather than men. Dissatisfied with the lack of leadership opportunities for women at the Conference, they decided to create an organization themselves where they could deal specifically with Chicana issues without having to combat the male sexism in the Chicano Movement or the racial discrimination in the Women's Movement.

In an effort to meet the special needs of Chicanas, the Comisión in 1972 developed the Chicana Service Action Center, an employment and manpower training program. In 1973, the Comisión called for a conference in Goleta, California. It was this conference that formally established the Comisión Femenil Mexicana Nacional and it was here that the organization drafted it's first constitution. About 800 women attended this conference, and together they decided:The Comisión Femenil Mexicana Nacional is an organization of women who enhance and promote the image of Chicana/Latina women in all levels of society. The Comisión supports the Chicana/Latina and promotes her issues from birth to her future careers and aging. Today there are local chapters that are active, but the national organization is defunct.

The Comisión Femenil Mexicana Nacional was founded in October of 1970, when a group of women, who were present at the annual National Chicano Issues Conference, raised certain issues relating to women and families that should be priorities to deal with at that time. Other delegates at the conference felt that although the women's concerns were important, they were not as much of a priority as other problems regarding such issues as immigration and unemployment. Women from the conference began caucusing, and together concluded that the prominent reason why these issues were not a priority was because they were concerning women rather than men. Dissatisfied with the lack of leadership opportunities for women at the Conference, they decided to create an organization themselves where they could deal specifically with Chicana issues without having to combat the male sexism in the Chicano Movement or the racial discrimination in the Women's Movement.

In an effort to meet the special needs of Chicanas, the Comisión in 1972 developed the Chicana Service Action Center, an employment and manpower training program. In 1973, the Comisión called for a conference in Goleta, California. It was this conference that formally established the Comisión Femenil Mexicana Nacional and it was here that the organization drafted it's first constitution. About 800 women attended this conference, and together they decided:

  • To direct their efforts to organizing women to assume leadership positions within the Chicano movement and in community life.
  • To disseminate news and information regarding the work & achievement of Mexican & Chicana women.
  • To concern themselves in promoting programs which specifically lend themselves to help, assist and promote solutions to female issues.
  • To spell out issues to support, and explore ways to establish relationships with other women's organizations and movements.

This well-publicized conference focused on topics such as education, child care, sex education and family planning. Actress Carmen Zapata and Assemblyman Richard Alatorre delivered keynote addresses, moving the women to rededicate themselves into implementing grassroots level action. They formed the first of their many organizations and programs, allied with other groups such as the Coalition of National Hispanic Women's Organizations, which demonstrated the arrival of Latina organizations as a significant political force. Later that same year, the Comisión created two bilingual and bicultural child development centers called Centro de Niños. The Centro offered child care and child development services to the working poor and to those mothers who were in school or in training.

In 1975 the Comisión participated in a class action lawsuit opposing the involuntary sterilization of Chicanas. Thought the lawsuit was unsuccessful, the Madrigal V. Quilligan case resulted in a public outcry over the sterilization of women. The publicity over the case helped to bring about the adoption of bilingual consent forms, as well as in greater enforcement of the 72-hour waiting period prior to performing the operation. These involvements are reflective of Comisión's strong beliefs in freedom of choice for all women.

For the next few years, the Comisión devoted its energy into building its membership and creating political awareness, thus strengthening the organization. In November of 1977, Comisión women attended the National Women's Conference in Houston, Texas. The Comision took special pride in the fact that its membership was at the forefront of developing a plank for Hispanic women throughout the country. Such concern for women's rights was again displayed in Washington D.C. where the Comisión members participated in the National ERA March and in lobbying efforts for the Equal Right Amendment, and advocated Chicana participation in decision making processes. Members were involved in demonstrations and women's conferences nationwide, expressing the importance for the Chicana to make herself independent socially, economically, culturally and politically before she would be able to achieve total liberation from racism, exploitation and oppression.

By 1985, the Comisión had organized 23 chapters across the nation and founded Casa Victoria, a residential treatment program for adolescent girls who had been involved in the juvenile justice system. The program provided bilingual counseling, family therapy, educational and vocational training, and positive role models as well as positive alternatives to incarceration. The Comisión developed a quarterly newsletter, La Mujer, and had used all forms of public media to inform others of their work.

After strengthening their professional image and achieving important goals for Chicanas of all ages and statures, the Comisión stopped holding national conferences in 1985 but held annual business meetings into the 90's.

Today, chapters of the Comisión continue action by raising scholarship funds for Latina students. Centro de Niños continues to expand across Southern California, and the achievements and effects of the Comisión continue to show through the rising number of professional Chicanas/Latinas in the workplace, and those holding elected positions in our government.

The Comisión Femenil Mexicana Nacional archives were established in CEMA in January 2000. Consisting of 28 linear feet, these archives are the official records of the national organization.

Resolution To Establish Comisión Femenil Mexicana Nacional, Inc.
(Adopted 10/17/70 at the National Issues Conference in Sacramento, CA)

The effort and work of Chicana/Mexican women in the Chicano movement is generally obscured because women are not accepted as community leaders, either by the Chicano movement or by the Anglo establishment.

The existing myopic attitude does not prove that women re not capable or willing to participate. It does not prove that women are not active, indispensable (representing over 50% of the population), experienced and knowledgeable in organizing tactics and strategy of a people's movement.

THEREFORE, in order to terminate exclusion of female leadership on the Chicano/Mexican movement and in the community, be it RESOLVED that a Chicana/Mexican Women's Commission be established at this conference which will represent women, in all areas Mexicans prevail, and;

That this commission be known as the Comisión Femenil Mexicana, and;

That the Comisión direct its efforts to organizing women to assume leadership positions within the Chicano movement and in community life, and;

That the Comisión disseminate news and information regarding the work and achievement of Mexican/Chicana women, and;

That the Comisión concern itself in promoting programs which specifically lend themselves to help, assist and promote solutions to female type problems and problems concerning the Mexican family, and;

That the Comisión spell out issues to support, and explore ways to establish relationships with other women's organizations and movements.

VIVA LA CAUSA!

CFMN proudly pays tribute to our Founding Members-the courageous Chicanas whose vision and dedication have made possible the celebration of a decade of commitment to the advancement of La Mujer Chicana.

Founding Members of Comisión Femenil Mexicana Nacional, Inc. 1970-1973

Lilia Aceves
Josephine Valdez Banda
Evelyn Velarde Benson
Margarita S. Berumen
Simmie Romero Boehm
Frances Bojorquez
Amelia Camacho
Anita Duarte
Francisca Flores
Dee Garcia
Lucy Hernandez
Jackie Jaramillo
Ana Maria Jones
Hope Lopez
Josephine Mena
Irene Mendez
Gloria Molina
Connie Munoz
Vi Munoz
Yolanda Nava
Ana Maria Pena
Gracia Molina Pick
Anita Ramos
Bernice Rincon
Cecilia Rios
Yolanda Ronquillo
Amelia Lorenzo Wilson

Chronology of Presidents of the Comisión Femenil Mexicana Nacional

1970-1971
1971-1972
1972-1973
1973-1974
1974-1975
1975-1976
1976-1977
1977-1978
1978-1979
1979-1980
1980-1981
1981-1982
1982-1983
1983-1984
1984-1985
1985-1986
1986-1987
1987-1988
1988-1989
1989-1990
1990-1991
1991-1992
1992-1993
1993-1994
1994-1995
1995-1996
1996-1997
1997-1998
1998-1999
1999-2000

Francisca Flores
Francisca Flores
Josephine Valdez Banda
Anita Ramos
Yolanda Nava
Gloria Molina
Gloria Molina
Sandra Serrano Sewell
Sandra Serrano Sewell
Christine Fuentes
Gloria Moreno-Wycoff
Leticia Quezada
Angie Cisneros
Beatriz Olvera-Stotzer
Beatriz Olvera-Stotzer
Carmen Cantu
Carmen Cantu
Carmen E. Luna
Carmen E. Luna
Magdalena Cervantes
Magdalena Cervantes
Desiree Portillo-Rabinov
Desiree Portillo-Rabinov
Desiree Portillo-Rabinov
Nina Sorkin
Nina Sorkin
Julia Vera-Andrews
Julia Vera-Andrews
Julia Vera-Andrews
Julia Vera-Andrews