Just like Oprah Winfrey says: “It doesn’t matter who you are, or where you came from. The ability to triumph begins with you, always.” That’s the case for 3 women who came from different backgrounds and made huge changes in history. Manuela Solis Sager, Emma Tenayuca, and Luisa Moreno Manuela are activists who joined thousands of workers to speak up and fight for their rights.
Manuela Solis Sager, Emma Tenayuca and Luisa Moreno led Mexican workers’ movements in Texas during the 1930’s. Each of these women had a key role in one of the most famous conflicts of Texas labor history: “The 1930 strike at the Southern Pecan Shelling Company.” In the course of the strike, thousands of workers in more than 130 plants opposed to a wage reduction, which was one cent per pound of shelled pecans. Sager, Tenayuca, and Moreno led the way for many who were hopeless and who had been mistreated by tyrants in farming, agriculture and in big factories. The women went out of their way, without caring about the risks involved, to pursue freedom and fair rights for men and women.
Manuela Solis Sager
Manuela Solis Sager was a Texas activist who married a man who helped to organize garment and agricultural workers in Laredo, TX. She became one of the first official organizers of the South Texas Agricultural Workers’ Union (STAWU) and worked in the Rio Grande Valley, which is considered to be one of the most challenging places to run. Manuela and her husband, James, played very important roles in a labor dispute involving the Mexican pecan shellers — the majority happened to be women. Manuela Solis Sager routed her conviction for human rights into activism. During her life, she was involved with the Chicano Movement, a women’s movement, immigrant rights, and opposition to U.S. interventionist foreign policy.
Emma Tenayuca, a Mexican-American, was known for being a labor leader, an union organizer and an educator. Tenayuca was brought up in a large family of eleven and lived with her grandparents at an early age to ease the economic hardship of her family. Emma was born into a Tejana family who were victims of the independence and the U.S.-Mexico War. Unfortunately, Emma and her family were affected by the Depression, but this became an eye opener for Emma Tenayuca to see the struggle of the low-class workers.
Luisa Moreno belonged to a wealthy family in Guatemala City, Guatemala. As a teen she assembled “La Sociedad Gabriela Mistral,” where she successfully performed as a leader. Moreno turned down her elite lifestyle and decided to pursue a career in journalism in Mexico City. She brought workers together in unions, directed strikes, wrote pamphlets in English and Spanish, and gathered the 1939 Congreso de Pueblos de Habla Española, which become the first national Latino civil rights assembly.
Like these women, don’t be afraid of dreaming big. Instead use fear to empower you to defeat challenges in your life and to reach your desires and goals.