Spotlight: Latina Artist, Author, and Poets

Art is a lifestyle of hard work, dedication, and creativity. These outstanding mujeres make it look so easy.

Rosa Guerrero, founder and artistic director of the International Folklorico Dance Group, is an inspiring folklorico dancer. As an artist, educator, dance historian, and humanitarian, teaching, she has an extensive background and involvement with the El Paso, Texas community.  She is the first Latina in El Paso to have a school named after her: Rosa Guerrero Elementary. Winner of several awards including, but not limited to, the Outstanding Woman in the Arts from Woman’s Political Caucus, LULAC Arts and Humanities award, Arts Alliance Individual Dance Award and Outstanding Hispanic of El Paso.

Helena Maria Viramontes is an iconic Chicana writer whose literary masterpieces reflect her childhood upbringing in East Los Angeles. Her first novel, Under the Feet of Jesus, jumpstarted her career as a renowned author. She is currently the Director of Creative Writing at Cornell University, and is a community organizer and former coordinator of the Los Angeles Latino Writers Association.

Bessy Reina, a highly accomplished poet, was born in Cuba and raised in Panama. Her poetry has been published in both English and Spanish, and in 2001, she was named Latina Citizen of the Year by the State of Connecticut Latino and Puerto Rican Affairs Commission. Later, in 2012, she was named as one out of ten women honored by the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame.  Vivian Shipley, another highly accomplished poet, describes Bessy’s poetry as a “…. a channel, a way to bridge east and  west by reconciling the warring needs of the body, the mind and the heart. Whether Reyna is dancing with a stalk  of sugar cane in Hartford, Connecticut, or in her birthplace of Cuba, poem after poem is as lively as a salsa. Like chewing sugar cane, her poems ultimately reward with their hard-won sweetness, with the taste that leaves us wanting more.” She is currently a writer for the Hispanic newspaper Identidad Latina and for www.CTLatinoNews.com.

Julia de Burgos
A renowned Puerto Rican poet, she is best known for her feminist written contributions for African/Afro-Caribbean writers. As a civil rights activist and teacher, she has, and continues to, inspire many women writers. Her poetry on the struggle of feeling oppressed has touched so many hearts, including the one of the famous Pablo Neruda. Her final poem foreshadowed her death in 1953, and, in 1986, she posthumously received a doctorate in Humans Arts and Letters from the Spanish Department of the University of Puerto Rico.

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