Chicana Activists of Colorado features SLV Natives

SAN LUIS — Three long-time San Luis Valley natives, Jennie Sanchez of Center and Juanita Dominguez and Shirley Romero of San Luis are featured in the newly released book Chicana Activists of Colorado: Powerful Women Paper Dolls And Their Stories by Deborah Martinez Martinez, Ph.D. In the 1970s, Chicanas (Mexican American women) were fighting for social justice and civil rights in their communities.

To keep their stories from being lost, author Deborah Martinez Martinez devised a fun way of saluting these powerful women and telling their stories—by making them dolls. Twenty Colorado women are featured as paper dolls and their stories told in this new book. The publisher, Vanishing Horizons, designed the unusual book as a portfolio with each page stacked inside the cover.

Three additional Chicana activists grew up in the Valley: Dr. Priscilla Falcon of San Luis, Charlene Garcia Simms of Garcia, and Rita Martinez Melgares of Alamosa.

The Chicanas featured used their determination to speak the truth and say, “¡Ya Basta! Enough!” From the Arkansas Valley to Center, from Pueblo to Brighton, enough of second-class schools. On the farms, enough of $4 per day and no toilets. In the cities, enough of discrimination in employment, no representation in media, and throughout the state, few women in the state house or senate. They were women who fought for their place in the American system and, thereby, laid the pathway for others.

According to Martinez Martinez, “This book is a way to honor these women, their families and their communities. It’s a way to say ‘we are proud of you and we thank you!”

The women recognized are Neva Romero, Ignacio/Boulder, Guadalupe Briseño, Brighton, Shirley Romero, San Luis, Ruth Coca, Aguilar, Priscilla Falcón, Greeley, Juanita Dominguez, San Luis/Littleton, Diana Velasquez, Denver, Rita Martinez Melgares, Alamosa/ Omaha, Jennie Sanchez, Center. From Pueblo, those honored are: Charlene Garcia Simms, Deborah Espinosa, Velma Roybal, Diana Ortiz, Delfina Garcia, Mothers of Casa Verde, Rita J. Martinez, Angela Giron, Carmen Arteaga, Ann Dominguez, Judy Baca, Carla Barela.

Another 80 women are acknowledged in “More Women of Heart and Action.” “It’s more than time for Chicana women to be recognized for their role in making our communities better, and for keeping the struggle for equity and social justice alive,” said Martinez Martinez. The planned signing event was postponed until late summer but the $18 books can be ordered from Vanishing Horizons at 719-561-0993. See more at


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