I didn’t speak all these years

Because I felt like even

My voice took up too much space

My Body of sound

Withering away

on the softly moving wind


I prepare my tongue for speech


when that soft breeze carries away


Supermarket bags

And I become beautiful enough for you

To learn to love me.


My teeth seemed to have fused shut

We have our tea

So i can wash down that concrete glue

That chokes me

And I’m scaring myself

We sit across the table from each other

With you,

trying desperately to communicate

with me.

You go over your same routes

With Sometimes different words but

They all are possessed by that feeling

I’m lonely lonely lonely lonely

half-wits; that we both are

And when I open my mouth


tell you

Why i have been running all these years

They start to fill with tears

And suddenly I have Put my heart in a pail.

In order to live forever;

my warmth must be contained

Even as cold as i am


Your lips are drawn into frowns.

Mother, you always told me

That my father doesn’t love you

Because you don’t do what he wants you to

And you never saw what was wrong

With that

You never left or fought back

Stop telling me you love me

And reverse all those times

Where disappointment

Was no stranger in the room


It is only human to wish to hide

Cover up our beauty with our dark vice

Flora and Sin;

Fauna and Trust Issues

What a drag it is to think and divulge

Disassembling for easier travel


my fatal wasting disease

Getting a Midnight Snack

The sounds press into my ears like feet into sand

The wailing shudder of the trees

The moan of the protesting stairs

I creep up.




My feet licking the ground

Quietly. Carefully

Eyes straining-

Stomach complaining-

The clutter of the unkempt kitchen is my companion on this secret journey

The eternity of ledges go on for miles

My legs move swiftly racing the second hand

careful not to wake the slumbering inhabitants of the house.

Photo credit: Clare McCullough

“A Time and a Place

My brother told me he

Only wears white


It reflects

The sun

Like snow.

I told him that

Reflection isn’t the same as


But what do I know?

When I lean forward

My heart just falls out

Landing onto the rain-wet


“I See” animated by Marci Klugiewitz


Cullah’s new music video has me delightful. It’s not secret that his Cullahsus album was a banger and is in the running to be my favorite album of the year. 2018 was a fantastic year for music. Marci Klugiewiez’s interpretation of Cullah’s new song “I See” added new layers of emotional value through narration and inventive interactions with the song. This music video makes you want a relationship with the music instead of a one-night stand.

When I watched this video for the first time, I could feel a grin spreading from ear to ear as I leaned forward with giddiness. My chair creaked below me. I felt the hair raise on my arms and on the back of my neck. Then I repeated the song. The banjo grabbed me, and the stop-motion family of bears kept me there. Marci has been going to MIAD, an art school in downtown Milwaukee and used a combination of heavy paper, markers, and colored pencils improved with a smattering of photoshop for the eyes.

This north woods vocalist didn’t take a minute to grab my attention. Synth and the banjo work together to explore the periphery of sound. “I See” became more than a fantastic song, it became a dynamic odyssey into the turbulence of uncertainty. In a year dominated by great sound, “I See” stop motion video stood out.

Mujeres de La Raza: Milwaukee Latinas’ Community Engagement and Activism Following Roe v. Wade

Yazmin Gomez

Capturing the attention of a nation, Roe v. Wade was a landmark decision that has shaped judicial power and personal rights since its 1973 ruling. The 7-2 Supreme Court decision found that a woman’s right to privacy extended to their ability to seek an abortion. Such a decision was then determined to be one that should be made between a woman and her physician. In 2014, an estimated 650,000 abortions were performed and understanding the reasons and ramifications of seeking an abortion is important to a larger discussion of reproductive rights and autonomy.[1] A controversial subject, abortion is a nuanced issue that intersects law, religion, ethics, health, and more with the individual. The ruling was crucial in defining modern feminism as it established the one of the movement’s goals. Though reproductive rights and abortion were central issues for early second wave feminists, this was not always the case for all women activists.

To gage the full scope of abortion opinions, it is important to feature the voices of all individuals including often marginalized women. Such an emphasis may further complicate the issue but it is essential to advancing discourse as well as helping dispel assumptions that all women hold the same opinions. In focusing on Milwaukee Latinas post-Roe, a specific location and population is considered to understand individual’s attitudes. Throughout the 20th century, Milwaukee Latinas navigated multiple worlds and roles as they aimed to satisfy the needs of others and themselves. That said, the personal often remained private and Latinas focused their activist efforts in areas beyond issues of reproduction. Despite the goals of the larger women’s movement, Milwaukee Latinas forged their own activism aimed at the specific needs of their community given local events, circumstances, and cultural expectations.

Though local Latinas did not place an explicit focus on abortion rights, polling has recorded the abortion attitudes of Latinas and the nation at large. While public opinion is often classified as either ‘pro-life’ or ‘pro-choice’, the reality is much more nuanced. National polls in the years following Roe v. Wade have found that most Americans support some form of abortion. However, these opinions are often situational and more people are accepting of abortion in cases of rape, incest, and when pregnancy endangers a mother life. Elective abortions on demand have often had the least amount of support throughout widespread public polls.[2] However, there can be a variety of reasons for an individual’s stance on abortion. Within the Latinx community, attitudes have varied depending on nationality with Mexicans being the least willing to approve of abortions. That said, overall approval post-Roe was somewhat lower compared to non-Hispanic Whites but higher than African-Americans. However, Latinas have a higher rate of abortion with some suggesting this is due to a reliance on less effective contraception and more frequent pregnancies.[3]

Within the state of Wisconsin, abortion was not legal until 1971, but this did not prevent women from seeking the procedure. Prior to legalization, women would often travel to states with legalized abortion to ensure a safe procedure. Networks were established to facilitate a women’s trip to New York or other states.[4] However, the procedure and travel fees could often exceed several hundred dollars, making a safe, legal abortion difficult or impossible for working class women to acquire. Faced with the reality of the price and extent of travel, some women elected for risky, illegal but close to home and often cheaper abortions. Exhausting these options, others carried their pregnancy to term.[5]

That said, organizations such as Planned Parenthood were present in the Latinx community to assist in other ways. Planned Parenthood established itself in Milwaukee in the 1960s with most early clients being married, middle-class White women. It later established traveling clinics to service several communities as they began noting the needs of low-income areas for quality health care and family planning assistance to alleviate poverty. However, since abortion was not yet legal, the organization only provided contraception and family planning counseling to married couples.

The proposal to establish such clinics created a public dialogue chronicled in letters to Wisconsin Secretary of State Vel Phillips. Archived in her files on these clinics and later abortion bills is various letters from community members, theologians, and organization leaders. These letters reflect Milwaukee’s need for such services and their benefits for the city and individuals. Acknowledging the limited access to downtown clinics, county hospitals, as well as the effects of family size on those in poverty, these correspondences signify a complex grasp of the topic at hand and it ramifications.[6] Yet, there appear to be none from those who identified themselves as Latina. Some allude to this lack of voices from within the affected communities as they state their privileged positions as advocates. Though Latinas may not have been advocating to politicians directly, they were still involved with other Latinos.

According the 1970 census, a low estimate of the Milwaukee Latinx population was about four thousand, with actual demographics believed to be over ten thousand. Mexicans made up sixty-five percent of the area with most of them coming from Texas and identifying as Chicanos. The rest of the area was majority Puerto Rican with a smaller Caribbean, South, and Central American population. In addition to national ties, the Latinx community is one also defined by location. Much of the population resided in and around the south side Walker’s Point neighbor located between Florida St. and Lapham St. and 1st and 16th St, with some extending these boundaries to 37th St. and Oklahoma Ave.

In comparison to the rest of Milwaukee, the Latinx community differed from the rest of the area in several ways. Milwaukee historian John Gurda’s research indicated that South Side residents, on average, were majority working class, bilingual and had less education completed and larger households. There was also a distinct generation gap between older immigrants and their younger, American-born children. This latter group soon became those most active in social movements and local groups. Gurda stated that almost twenty percent of the area lived below the poverty line. As a result, issues such as jobs, education, and child care became central to the community.

Gurda also mentions a growing leniency towards religious observation. Perhaps influenced by American Catholics, religiosity seemed to begin to wane around this time among Latinos. However, it was still seen as the responsibility of women to uphold religious traditions.[7] This may include ensuring regular church attendance, organizing church-related functions, and continuing other established traditions within the home. This indicates not only the influence of Latinas within the domestic sphere but also the significance placed on maintaining cultural norms.

However, the decline in religiosity is notable as the Latinx community at large tends to be associated with strong religious ties to Catholicism. Though still a component of cultural identity, religion carried less weight than once assumed. In addition, individuals appeared to distance their religiosity from their public opinions. For example, in Vel Phillips correspondences, there are several religious leaders who make sure to note that their views are not necessarily that of the church. In identifying as private citizens, these individual’s separate portions of their identity to explain their stance.[8] In fact, several studies have found that religious individuals are willing to defy church doctrine for personal or situational reasons. Take for instance the widespread use of contraception amongst Catholics despite it being condemned by the church.[9]

Distinctions between an institution and the individual are common and Latinas are no exception. One California Chicana, Alisia documented her religious upbringing and reproductive choices in Sumi Hoshiko’s Our Choices: Women’s Personal Decisions About Abortion. Elaborating on her childhood, she notes the significance of family, the Catholic church, and a good value system enforced by her mother. In regards to the church, she credits it with instilling within her a respect of kin and elders. In fact, she viewed her familia [family] as the focus of her personal life and professional work. She also attended Catholic schools for several years and states that its teachings were not something she could disregard with ease. This prefaces her explanation for seeking two abortions during her life. While she had grown to view her spirituality as more informal and personal, she still felt a sense of religious guilt stating that, “Oh my god, me castiga Dios [God is punishing me] you know?” Considering herself a good mother, Alisia refers to this role in explaining her decisions. Having already had four children, Alisia felt she could not support another child at the time. By limiting her family size, she could continue to support her children and lessen her fear of being unable to provide.[10]

Within the local Latinx community, the power of family is present and it served as a powerful influencer to all, including activists. It appears that Latinx activism was rooted in interpersonal relationships and coalition building within the community. Movements which were most associated with family and community wellbeing took precedent over the area. For example, education was a major topic of discussion for local leaders. Advocacy for quality schools, bilingual education, and access to higher education was based on it benefits to one and their family. A good education meant better jobs and a better quality of life.

This activism is best exemplified at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where student demonstrations in response to discrimination, little university support, and a general lack of representation shaped local Latinx thinking. The movement made headlines and resulted in the development of various programs and service centers for underrepresented students. With only twelve Latinx students enrolled at the university in 1970, efforts to increase enrollment and student support systems were established by the School of Education. However, this initiative was more appropriate for top university administrators to implement. Through sit-ins, walkouts, and petitions, activists led by Roberto Hernandez helped found the Spanish Speaker Outreach Institute in 1970.[11]

During the same time, the university’s Feminist Center had made reproductive rights a central issue and structured their activism around women’s issues. As previous research has indicated, the more educated one is, the more accepting one may be of a contentious issue such as abortion.[12] There is little evidence of Latinas being involved with the group’s community outreach. It is however possible that Latina students were involved and interested in the work done by the center but felt that there was a choice to be made between supporting women’s rights or Latinx rights. Later student groups on health, pro-choice, and pro-life ideologies were established but appeared to still lack Latina participation. While university students have some of the most relaxed abortion attitudes, events such as those UW-Milwaukee may have pushed these discussions to the backburner for Latinas. Also, due to the already low enrollment of Latinx students in general, there may have been few Latinas at the institution. However, this conflict of identities and support has been present in other social movements as women have dealt with supporting all the aspects of their identity.

The participation of Latinas within activist circles is a complicated one with women often doing valuable work while not receiving the proper respect or accolades. Also, many did not receive formal training or even identify as activists. However, through their actions to help others and mobilize a community, one could consider these women activists.[13] Latina political participation has been found to be based on more informal, social coalition building as opposed to a traditional focus on voting. This may be due to cultural influences that limit formal political participation and enforce gender roles. Also, emphasizing voting ignores the potential power of undocumented and disenfranchised individuals. Latinas approach to activism tends to be based on equality and community compared to Latino men. Thus, Latinas are less concerned with nationality as they focus on broader Latinx connections.[14]

Latinas were involved in almost all sectors of activism and many founded organizations aimed and increasing educational opportunities and improving community health. In promoting health initiatives and local centers, family planning was only a small portion of the services Latinas helped support. In addition to Planned Parenthood, other organizations functioned to address reproductive health, preventative care, and child care.[15] Furthermore, with a sizable portion of the population living below the poverty line, access to jobs and fair wages was another focus for activists. In addition to participating in labor movements, several Latinas founded professional development and skill building groups.

However, some community members expressed frustrations with regulatory systems in place that seemed to hinder their efforts. For instance, some day cares struggled to provide necessary assistance as they faced social and political hardships. Serving low-income families, some of whom received welfare assistance, many day cares struggled to provide adequate care and maintain their facilities. Also, municipal and federal regulations determined where and for how long children could be in these centers. Meant to protect children, community members argued that lawmakers, who were majority elite males, were out of touch and incapable of comprehending the daily realities of working-class families. There is also a mention of the social stigma associated with welfare. Citing political rhetoric of “get mothers to work” and “pulling yourself up by your boot straps”, child care leaders discussed the assumptions made about those receiving public assistance. Regarding mothers and their work, activists asserted that motherhood is work and should be valued as such.[16]

In more radical circles, many of the same issues were discussed through a more revolutionary lens. These smaller pockets of activists were often inspired by similar movements around the country. For instance, elsewhere, the west coast saw Chicana feminism bloom amongst student leaders. The discourse of Chicana feminism reached Milwaukee through publications such as La Guardia and The Young Lord as well as word of mouth.[17] In this development, Chicanas and Latinas began sharing more personal topics that affected them as active women of color. In various editorials and articles, women discuss the sexism they experienced within the activist community.

A poignant and candid mention of misogyny and sexism, Latina activists elaborate on feelings of being excluded from leadership positions or demeaned by their colleagues. Writing in La Guardia, Mary Lou Espinoza discussed Latinas access to power and stated that no other oppression is as severe as that of women of color. In relegating women to a domestic sphere, she argues that not only have men devalued women but that Latinas have been brainwash by culture to remain subordinate. Espinoza suggests that women can prosper and add a much-needed perspective to the various movements. She states, “Latin women do not want to become men. They want to be able to breath, to educate ourselves, to influence our community and society at large, and to contribute it with our insight of life.” [18]

If these women did not feel supported by their own peers and supposed allies, they may have been less likely to talk about the most personal of issues in a public setting. This misogyny was part of a greater cultural issue of machismo which emphasizes manliness and power. However, some antiwar activists saw this machismo as dangerous to everyone, not just women. Some argued that with men being encouraged to enter the Vietnam war, machismo was being used to promote violence rather than education and self-betterment. Machismo could be a useful tool for community advancement but war warped masculinity to be defined by violence. To reshape this narrative, Latinas should have made themselves informed citizens who, alongside men, could redefine the power of machismo in the Latinx community.[19]

The role of men in Latina activism was distinct compared to that of Anglo feminists and their respective movement. Some groups made sure to distance themselves from standard “Women’s Lib” groups.[20] Milwaukee activist Maria Rodriguez argued that, “We [Latinas] didn’t see ourselves as the Gloria Steinem feminists; we saw our men as participants of community change.”[21] An activist since the 1970s, she has been a lifelong advocate of education, reproductive rights, and increasing cultural knowledge. Rodriguez argues that Latina feminism was more collectivist and women wanted to include one’s spouse and family. Inclusion of others was important as decisions made by Latina feminists had to consider the ramifications on the family. Local Latinas did not want to exclude those closest to them but rather include them in their narrative. This approach further demonstrates the role of community within movements. With less of an emphasis on the individual, Latinas strove to campaign for whole groups.

In addition, context helped define local Latinas immediate concerns. For instance, Rodriguez participated in and developed many organizations targeted towards issues impacting Latinas. In an oral history, she explains that while she was involved in broader, mainstream women’s groups, she and other Latinas felt there needed to be a focus placed on their community. Detailing her motivations for founding the group “Latinas En Accion”, Rodriguez stated,

“…that we were part of this community and that we needed to really focus in on some of the things that would affect women and bringing them to, well dealing with social justice issues and making sure that women were advancing.”[22]

In addition to community organizing, Rodriguez worked at Planned Parenthood where she aimed to increase girls and women’s awareness about educational programming. She mentions the conversation she had with her mother before accepting the position. Worried she would disapprove or ask her reconsider, Rodriguez’s mother, instead discussed with openness the realities of many Latinas in the past. Noting the lack of health education and family planning options available to older generations, Rodriguez’s mother supported her daughter’s attempt to change and inform her community. Surprised at her response and candor, Rodriguez reflected on her mother’s support as indicative of her larger intolerance of inequality and want to help others. She remarks that she was encouraged to use her knowledge to inform and empower those who may not always be able to advocate for themselves.

Close relationships with established trust, such as that between mother and daughter, are crucial to furthering important conversations and movements. As highlighted in Rodriguez’s interview, she discusses a hesitance to talk to her mother about the controversial Planned Parenthood. However, due to the deep respect and trust between each other, a fruitful and surprising conversation arises, one that questions cultural assumptions. Yet her initial worries also suggest that not everyone engaged in sensitive dialogues.

Conforming to traditional cultural notions of femininity proved to be a source of conflict for young Latinas at the time. Some young women state they were encouraged by previous generations to improve their lives through education. Citing the lack of opportunity for one’s mother or grandmother, young Latinas were often told of the financial and personal opportunities education provided. However, others disregard this and stated that women should help their families by seeking the roles of mother and caretaker. Due to expectations to be housewives and mothers, the willingness to become educated or enter the workforce is hindered as women grapple with pleasing both their families and themselves. For some women, working was not an option as they had to help support a family.[23]

While not exclusive to the Latinx community, these issues were exacerbated by an urgency stressed by previous generations to seek marriage and subsequent motherhood at an early age. Such a focus on the role and necessity of motherhood made it seem to be an obligation rather than a choice. Those who married but did not have children right away still felt the obligation to become an ideal wife and mother as soon as possible. Those vocal against these pressures were perceived as rebellious and were met with confusion. With much pressure coming from older individuals, generational differences further fueled tension.

BH55H0 Rings

Many young Latinas discuss an inner conflict that arises as they attempt to seek their passions while maintaining a strong cultural identity. One woman, Gloria Villanueva Jimenez, shares her experiences in an El Universal article. From childhood, she expressed an untraditional attitude towards gender roles and sought to be a leader. She explains that despite her academic accomplishments and interests, her parents questioned her interest in higher education. Over time, however, her relationship with her parents improved as they understood the validity of her choices. She explains that an adherence to tradition is not an issue and many women find fulfillment in motherhood and housewifery. In doing so, she is acknowledging that limited opportunities for women restricts them of their full potential. Restricting Latinas to one role further excludes them from a larger narrative. A mother herself, Jimenez concludes by noting that Latinas unhappy in their roles should ‘break out’ and pursue other routes in life.[24]

Milwaukee may serve as a small reflection of larger national opinions. Issues that the nation faced manifested themselves on a microscale in varying degrees in Milwaukee. However, location specific events had the power to stress the urgency of some issues over others thus making the perspectives of Milwaukee and its residents unique. An initial focus on Roe v. Wade does not encompass the full spectrum of motivations of the Milwaukee Latinx community. While a watershed moment for all women, it was a distinct landmark for Anglo women’s movements during the second wave of modern feminism. Within the Latinx community, as with the larger population, there are a variety of abortion opinions dependent on a several factors. However, due to a host of personal and cultural reasons as well as community events, Milwaukee Latinas did not outright address abortion, let alone the Supreme Court case of Roe v. Wade. For instance, local issues such as student demonstrations, unemployment, and access to a quality education held precedent over national issues. Though an important issue, reproductive rights were not always at the forefront for these community activists.

Expanding the voices of women included in a conversation further informs a greater narrative of the complexities of gender issues. A consideration of one’s cultural and geographical location, among other factors, acknowledges the varying circumstances in which individuals experience the world. The analysis of Milwaukee Latina’s activism and their related roles within the community demonstrates the role of context in fueling movements. As presented, the Milwaukee Latinx community established various networks to rectify their most immediate concerns. The power of Latinas has been ever present but they have long been ignored by others. Amplifying these women is crucial to chronicling their legacies as activists and individuals. As organizers, leaders, and mothers, Milwaukee Latinas found empowerment and fulfillment by addressing the specific needs of the community closest to them in their own ways.

















Arenas, Andrea-Teresa, and Eloisa Gomez. 2018. Somos Latinas: Voices of Wisconsin Latina    Activists. Madison: Wisconsin Historical Society Press.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention. 2018. Reproductive Health: Data and Statistics.     February 16. Accessed 2018.   

Chavez, Jennie V. 2016. “Women of the Mexican American Movement, 1972.” In Women’s     America: Refocusing the Past, by Linda K. Kerber, Jane Sherron De Hart, Cornelia         Hughes Dayton and Judy Tzu-Chun Wu, 733-735. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Eschenburg, Beverly, May 9, 1971. “Abortion Legal!” Kaleidoscope.

Erickson, Pamela I., and Celia P. Kaplan. 1998. “Latinas and Abortion.” In The New Civil War:           The Psychology, Culture, and Politics of Abortion, by Linda J. Beckman and S. Marie            Harvey, 133-155. Washington D.C.: American Psychological Association.

Espinoza, Mary Lou. 1970. “Latin Leaders Leave Wives at Home.” La Guardia. June. 8.

Gibbons, Jim. 1958. “Abortion & the Law.” Kaleidoscope, March-April 29-11: 5.

Gurda, John. 1976. The Latin Community on Milwaukee’s Near South Side. Milwaukee:        Milwaukee Urban Observatory.

Hoshiko, Sumi. 1993. “Alisia.” In Our Choices: Women’s Personal Decisions About Abortion,     by Sumi Hoshiko, 85-90. Binghamton: Haworth Press.

La Causa Day Care. n.d. “las madres abren daycare center.” La Guardia.

La Guardia Staff. n.d. “cumunal clinicas de salud del sur.” La Guardia.

Longoria, Thomas. 1998. “Gender and Political Participation in the Latino Community.” El          Universal, 5,8.

Moore, Joan. 1998. “The potential for Female Leadership.” El Universal, Winter: 9.

Rodriguez, Maria, interview by Casey Resendez. 2015. Interview with Maria Rodriguez, Fall             2015 Wisconsin Historical Society, (Fall).

Sanchez, Corinne. n.d. “exploitation of machismo.” La Guardia.

Statement of Emily Louis Before the Social Development Commission in Support of Planned             Parenthood Proposal, 16 December 1964, Box 62, Folder 1, Vel Phillips Papers, 1946- 2009, Wisconsin Historical Society, Division of Library Archive and Museum   Collections, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries’ Archives Department.

Statement Presented by Lucius Walker Before the Social Development Commission in Support          of Planned Parenthood Proposal, Box 62, Folder 1, Vel Phillips Papers, 1946-2009,      Wisconsin Historical Society, Division of Library Archive and Museum Collections,             University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries’ Archives Department.

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. n.d. UWM Latino Activism.   collections/latino-activism/.

Unknown. n.d. “Mujeres de La Raza.” La Guardia. 3,10.

—. 1971. “Las Chicanas.” The Young Lord, 1.

Villanueva Jimenez, Gloria. 1998. “A Latina Baby Boomer Speaks Out.” El Universal, Winter: 1, 9.

[1] “Reproductive Health: Data and Statistics,” Center for Disease Control and Prevention,                                   February 16. Accessed 2018.


[2] R. Sauer, “Attitudes to Abortion in America, 1800-1973.” Population Studies (1974): 65-66.

[3] Pamela I. Erickson and Celia P. Kaplan, “Latinas and Abortion.” In The New Civil War: The                Psychology, Culture, and Politics of Abortion, by Linda J. Beckman and S. Marie                        Harvey, (Washington D.C.: American Psychological Association, 1998), 136-137.

Abortion rates: 47% of Latinos, 51% of Whites, 42% of African-Americans.

[4] Beverly Eschenburg, “Abortion Legal!” Kaleidoscope, May 9, 1971.

[5] Jim Gibbons, “Abortion & the Law,” Kaleidoscope, Apr. 11, 1968.

[6] Emily Louis, “Statement of Emily Louis Before the Social Development Commission in                         Support of Planned Parenthood Proposal,” (Vel Phillips Papers, 1946-2009), December                        16, 1964.

[7] John Gurda, “The Latin Community on Milwaukee’s Near South Side,” (Milwaukee:                           Milwaukee Urban Observatory, 1976), 11-16.

[8] Lucius Walker, “Statement Presented by Lucius Walker Before the Social Development                           Commission in Support of Planned Parenthood Proposal” (Vel Phillips Papers, 1946      -2009).

[9] Pamela I. Erickson and Celia P. Kaplan, “Latinas and Abortion,” 147.

[10] Sumi Hoshiko, “Alisia.” in Our Choices: Women’s Personal Decisions About Abortion, by                 Sumi Hoshiko, (Binghamton: Haworth Press, 1993), 85-90.

[11] “UWM Latino Activism,” University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee,                -collections/latino-activism/.

[12] Pamela I. Erickson and Celia P. Kaplan, “Latinas and Abortion,” 143.

[13] Andrea-Teresa Arenas and Eloisa Gomez, Somos Latinas: Voices of Wisconsin Latina                                Activists (Madison: Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 2018), 5.

[14] Thomas Longoria, “Gender and Political Participation in the Latino Community.” El Universal                 (Milwaukee, WI), Winter 1998.

[15] La Guardia Staff, “cumunal clinicas de salud del sur.” La Guardia (Milwaukee, WI).

[16] La Causa Day Care, “las madres abren daycare center.” La Guardia (Milwaukee, WI).

[17] Jennie V. Chavez, “Women of the Mexican American Movement, 1972,” in Women’s                              America: Refocusing the Past, by Linda K. Kerber, Jane Sherron De Hart, Cornelia                 Hughes Dayton and Judy Tzu-Chun Wu, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016), 733       -735.

Unknown, “Las Chicanas,” The Young Lord (Milwaukee, WI), 1971.

[18] Mary Lou Espinoza, “Latin Leaders Leave Wives at Home,” La Guardia (Milwaukee, WI),                 Jun. 8, 1970.

[19] Corinne Sanchez, “exploitation of machismo,” La Guardia (Milwaukee, WI).

[20] Unknown, “Mujeres de La Raza,” La Guardia (Milwaukee, WI).

[21] Andrea-Teresa Arenas and Eloisa Gomez, Somos Latinas: Voices of Wisconsin Latina                                Activists, 169.

[22] Maria Rodriguez, interview by Casey Resendez, Wisconsin Historical Society, Fall 2015.


[23] Joan Moore, “The potential for Female Leadership,” El Universal (Milwaukee, WI), Winter                   1998.

[24] Gloria Villanueva Jimenez, “A Latina Baby Boomer Speaks Out,” El Universal (Milwaukee,                       WI), Winter 1998.


The Whooping Cranes’ Survival Against All Odds

Hemlock, a Floridian Female Whooping crane is often seen side by side to her new mate, Grasshopper. Grasshopper’s home is in Baraboo, WI a place known for its environmentalism. Aldo Leopold’s Shack and Farm is allegedly where Leopold spent the summers writing the Sand County Almanac. Hemlock’s new home, Grasshopper’s marsh has water in which knobby knees can reflect with tall grasses: Horicon National Wildlife Refuge. The Horicon Refuge has now contributed to a 20-year long effort to reintroduce Whooping cranes back into the marshes of the Midwest.

For the Whooping crane, population size has been a difficult thing to reckon with. As of February 2018, the crane’s total population broke it’s 700 ceiling. Due to habitat loss and human poaching, in 1941 the number used to be just 21 wild and two captive whooping cranes. According to Operation Migration, it was always a rare bird numbering at 1,400 in 1860 but is still endangered. North America’s tallest crane can be just under five feet tall.

The wetlands on which Whooping cranes spend their lives are found at the intersection of land and water. A bird on the edge, it’s current habitat rests between the United States and Canada. These countries’ governments and non-profits have coordinated a sustained effort for conservation of the species. In Wisconsin’s case, Horicon Marsh’s wildlife biologist is Hillary Thompson. In her interview with UWUM, Thompson stated that using a jet to transport a whole family of the cranes, who have wingspans up to 7 feet, is a temporary set-back to migration patterns that will bring long-term benefits. Other than the captive birds, there are four different flocks that biologists have recorded.

The main wild population breeds in Wood Buffalo National Park in northwestern Canada and have been spotted in wetlands of Texas’s coasts and around Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. Although not all Whooping crane flocks migrate, the Wood Buffalo/Aranas flock’s mass movement is most often seen in assemblies of 2-5 birds. There are two non-migratory flocks, one in Florida, where biologists had stopped reintroducing birds in 2008 due to survival and reproduction issues and one in Louisiana.

A notable aspect of this species is that there is a human-raised flock. That flock spends its summers in Wisconsin to its winter-grounds Florida. Currently of the 600 birds 100 make this flock their home. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FFWCC), “Each winder since 2001, whooping cranes have been led by ultra-light aircraft from Wisconsin to Florida.” Operation Migration’s attempts to guide the crane’s migration ended after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2015 cited due to concerns that the strategy was “too artificial” Despite this, the ultimate goal for the flock was to make the it more self-reliant. Operation Migration and other organizations like Horicon’s Refuge have successfully reintroduced whooping cranes who avoid humans. Now, the ulta-light aircraft is a symbol of conservation.

All in all, there is only one wild self-sustaining flock left in North America. Whooping cranes, have only just met the 700 mark and illegal shootings continue to be a significant obstacle, especially for the Louisiana population. The now-dissolved non-profit Operation Migration had played a fundamental 15-year role in studying and implementing human-guided migration which has shown to stabilize the population. The two new chicks now living in Baraboo, WI have the future to look forward to. I see this as proof that humans will not fail those “ 186 trusting Whooping cranes tailing off our wingtips” without a fight.

Despite the obstacles and how much farther we have to go, in my mind, this is a success story of humanity.

Summary of Putin’s Election Interference

Putin’s democracy is turning into dictatorship. There are many who believe that he should be held criminally responsible for corrupting the American election system. The former recon-centered KBG man shows his colors when his relationship to organized crime show through the elimination of opposition. While it’s easy to acknowledge that Putin is taking steps to create a illiberal democracy, some would say that Russia doesn’t want to be democratic in the first place. In the time of the collapse of the soviet union, Putin was in charge of St. Petersburg which is known as the gangster capital of Russia. Under him, they had terrible food shortages, the promised food never arose. There has been evidence that Putin and his inner circle have used public funds to build private summer houses.

But the worst atrocity that is linked to Putin is Russia’s equivalent to 9/11, which was an apartment bombing which he used to wage war on a nearby region. All investigators involved in the apartment bombings have wound up dead or in prison. The president is above the law, this is the Russian style, closed systems fortified by bribery and corruption. Kleptocracy has had its influence outside of Russia through deliberate economic warfare. No investments happen unless Putin gives the word, he is fabulously wealthy through hiding his money through proxy companies. After the Arab spring, Putin was worried about his safety after leaving office so he didn’t back down.

According to the Kremlin’s playbook, “corruption is the lubricant on which this system operates.” This is indicative of the exploitation of state resources to further Russia’s network of influence. This should be considered a national security threat due to democratic backsliding. They call it Next Generation Warfare, where you cannot differentiate between government and organized crime and erode the foundations of democracy within. Sometimes Russian influence in another state’s economy can average more than 12 percent of its entire GDP. This influence disrupts faith in the structure of government, and the institution of election. Confusion, coercion, and paralysis is the name of the game in Russia’s overt and covert economic warfare. They want to collapse the countries from within because Russia wants to make the rules on the international stage again, so they use propaganda, espionage, blackmail, and subversion as their strategy of influence. They aim for Energy and economics in order to get a culmination of politicians friendly to them. By corrupting our systems they aim to “break internal coherence of the economic system” and threaten the moral authority of western democracies.


All in all, campaign interference is linked to economic influence and undermining the institutions in which US global leadership operates is the best way to weaken democracy. Information and economic wars in some respects are more powerful than traditional warfare. But it is within our power to stop Russian interference and New Generation Warfare. Watchful eyes may benefit us when our democratic institutions are at stake.

Co-founder of Feminist Group, found dead in Paris apartment

Oksana Shachko was a co founder of a feminist protest movement that was active during an extremely turbulent time for Ukraine. At age 31, she was found dead in her home in Montrouge, Paris. According to statement from the New York Times, by Anna Hutsol a fellow co founder of Femen broke the details to Ukrainska Pravda, “Oksana hanged herself.”

The artistic Shachko was born in Khmelnytsky into a religious family and when she was young, pondered becoming a nun until her parents talked her out of it. Afterward she decided to reject not the iconography that she had painted for the church but the idea of God itself. However, the feminist icons that she created were now for art galleries.

Femen is a provocative, guns blazing, post-soviet feminist phenomena along the likes of Pussy Riot. However, due to their self-described, “sextremism” members of Femen have encountered vicious reactions. In their trademark topless protest, they had donned thick adhesive mustaches and wore flower crowns in front of Belarus’s KGB headquarters demanding the freedom of political prisoners. Afterward, according to the New York Times, Ms Shachko and other activists had been abducted in Belarus’s capital, Minsk.

However, in 2011 only three years after forming, they were soon demanding government protection. Minsk. Not to mention the abduction, other Femen members had been beaten in Kiev, Ukraine’s capital during 2013. That same year, many of the foundational members moved to Paris and Femen’s protests fell into inactivity.

Shachko would help stage eye-catching protests all around Europe to protest against sexual exploitation, income inequality, and the policies of the Roman Catholic Church. A movement like Femen is born in hurricane speed winds and embraces a radical feminist idea that has inspired others.

Is Chinese Democracy out of Reach?

In Lu Xun’s Nahan or A Call to Arms,” he makes an interesting comparison of Chinese society:

Imagine an iron house without windows, absolutely indestructible, with many people fast asleep inside who will soon die of suffocation. But you know since they will die in their sleep, they will not feel the pain of death. Now if you cry aloud to wake a few of the lighter sleepers, making those unfortunate few suffer the agony of irrevocable death, do you think you are doing them a good turn?” [In turn his friend in the story returns,] “But if a few awake, you can’t say there is no hope of destroying the iron house. [1]

During his time, Lu Xun was an active critique of the existing warlord system of China. In China, democracy is not an influential idea. In Chinese democracy, priorities are evaluated differently from western democracy. Although there have been attempts at democratization in the past, liberal democracy will most likely not be achieved in the 21st century due to political strongmen, nationalism, and its authoritarian resilience.

A liberal democracy is vastly different from the current structure of the People’s Republic of China. Liberal democracy can be defined as a representative political system that is characterized by multiparty elections, separation of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government[2]. Whereas the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist position of democracy is built on an economic foundation. Mao is recorded as saying, “Democracy for the people and dictatorship over the reactionaries, the combination of these two constituent parts is the People’s Democratic Dictatorship”[3]. Under the Chinese communist system there was a written democracy, but decisions were still made by the unelected politburo.

China’s second core leadership, Deng Xiaoping, believed that China should never adopt a western-style democracy, the thinking was that the multi-party representative system and a system of checks and balances were a democratic monopoly of the capitalist class. Instead, especially in light of the Soviet Union’s collapse, Deng preferred incremental changes in his reforms rather than a shock therapy style. According to Deng, “without political stability, there could be no democracy.” And these stable reforms can be achieved through intraparty democracy[4].

These differences between the West and the East are the product of different histories. Whereas the United States, the typical example of a liberal democracy has a short history and its entire history is based in democratic tradition; China is one of the longest lasting cohesive histories, has no historical background to support democracy. Although that history alone can never determine a country’s future it does play a small role. The largest extent of democracy that existed in the Late Qing dynasty was a process called memorialization in which high ranking officials could draft a document on matters that concerned them and send it to the Emperor. The mainstream ideology of China, Confucianism focuses on the rule of virtue rather than rule of law[5]. So, they would examine the morality of a leader instead of whether that leader’s power was based in legitimacy.

Despite this history there have been pushes for democracy by the Chinese people and always someone willing to stand up and speak out. The May Fourth and the New Culture Movement was one of the earliest and largest emergences of a civil society[6]. Since then, any democratic opening or loosening has always been slammed shut by the Communist Party.

The economic reforms promulgated by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has transformed china into a heavy hitter of the International Market. This economic development is a direct result of the reform of the traditional socialist economic system. Structure of ownership was reformed, and the economy was diversified. Communes were abandoned and replaced with contracts and pay-scales. This formerly shut, and thoroughly planned economy was to a small extent replaced by a free market system. Prices were now subject to supply and demand pressure and international exchange rates.[7] It is difficult to make such economic democratization and decentralization without social reforms as well. The CCP’s shift from absolute centralism toward an incremental democracy has resulted in many reforms.

China’s civil society has grown, in 1989 there were a little over 1600 civil society organizations and now there are at least 700,000 nationwide. There has also even been experimentation in direct elections and local self-governance at the village level. In 1979 the Law for the Election of National and Local People’s Congress Representatives mandated that all people’s congress representatives below the county level must be directly elected. A decade later, the Organic Law of the Village Administration of Committees of the PRC provided a framework for the gradual expansion of the self-governance system in villages, nationwide. By the end of 1997, 60 percent of villages nationwide had begun the transition toward the direct free election of village administrators.[8] However, when there is reform, people with vested interests, and economic gains to be had, corruption always follows. Reform leaders knew that there were some party bureaucrats were hindering economic reforms[9]. This corruption was due to the political system itself.

In response to this corruption Deng Xiaoping put forth the “Four Modernizations” but a democracy movement was brewing on the side streets of Tiananmen square. 1978-1979’s Democracy wall was the place where old Cultural Revolution wounds were given space to breathe. A notable example of a participant is Wei Jingsheng who was exemplary and unusual since he put his name and address on his work that he posted on the Democracy Wall. his wall poster campaign, called “the Fifth Modernization: Democracy” insisted that unless democracy was put into place, all other modernizations would fail. He was a part of the “sent down” generation and spent some time in the People’s Liberation Army. Wei edited an unofficial newspaper even though he only completed a high school level education. His core point in his “Fifth Modernization was that” democracy was not solely the result of social development, it was also the condition for the development of higher production.[10] But in the end, Jingsheng was arrested along with other activists and the regime tightened controls.

But the road from dictatorship to democracy is the most political transition of all and you cannot skip any stages of developing a democracy. The Arab spring has wilted, Thailand’s elections have only resulted in coups, and Cambodia and Malaysia both have had deeply flawed elections. There is no guarantee that a newborn democracy will survive to maturation. Any elections however, even if flawed or ignored can put a country on the right path since it can whet the people’s appetite for the real thing. Another feature of a successful transition is the degree of consent by the regimes being replaced. The military, often referred to in other countries as the “deep state” must have an incentive to not take the power into their own hands. Since it has empirically shown that violence begets more violence, if China were to have a change it must have a peaceful mass movement. A third-party mediator has been helpful in past transitions in other countries such as Myanmar as well as foreign sponsors to assist and buttress blooming democracies and the sprouts of rule of law.[11]

Perhaps the most infamous of all democracy movements of China is the Tiananmen Square Massacre in 1989. This massive demonstration was one in which more than a million people participated and lasted months. It was complete with students, hunger strikes, workers, intellectuals, and others. It was initiated to demand a posthumous rehabilitation of the former communist party chairman Hu Yaobang and transformed into a protest against corruption and a demonstration for democracy. In response, the People’s Liberation army’s guns pointed at the people themselves and dispersed the crowd with live ammunition after almost a month of instating marshal law. No one is sure exactly how many people died but the estimates range from 180 to 10,454.[12] This protest more than any other called for the establishment of direct and competitive elections throughout all levels of government (Goldman).

After Tiananmen massacre, there were widespread predictions that the CCP would collapse, but they were proved wrong. According to regime theory, the CCP should’ve collapsed under such pressure. Regime theory puts forth the idea that Authoritarian systems are inherently fragile because of increased internal resistance, overreliance on coercion, over centralization of decision making and predominance of personal power over institutional norms. The resulting purges of the party muted the differences of opinion within the party and transformed the different ideologies to become more homogenous.[13] Per capita income was $250 in 1989 grew to $1200 in 2006. Although politically damaged the CCP were hardly without resources. They tightened control over the media and heightened crackdown on any dissent. The regime brought inflation under control, restarted economic growth, expanded foreign trade, and increased in absorption of Foreign Direct Investment. Political leaders are now better educated than any other previous Chinese leadership of the 20th century.[14]

Instead of failing under the democratization pressures the regime reconsolidated itself. This proves that the CCP is not weak nor is it lacking policy option. The argument that democracy, freedom, and human rights leading to stronger stability hold no appeal for these men. Now that China has abandoned its utopian ideology and cult leadership, empowered a technocratic elite, introduced bureaucratic regularization and specialization and they have slightly reduced control over private speech and action leads us to a disturbing possibility. China has proven that totalitarian regimes can adapt to modernity and integration with the global economy.

So, is there any chance of democracy in China? Based on the recent social crackdowns by Xi Jinping, the relative stagnation of the economy[15] and the new constitutional amendment that would change the Chinese presidential term, there may be an opening for another movement of democracy. Due to the change in the “electoral” system and other recent corruption events that took place in Peking University due to sexual harassment claims there have been the largest mobilization of student protest since Tiananmen.[16] The hunger for democracy that had been whet by local village elections and noncompetitive National People’s Congress elections may surface again. Modern technologies such as blockchain may facilitate Chinese democracy movements since the “great firewall” is still firmly in place.

In order for China to democratize successfully it must balance the power of the people, socio-economic conditions, and state capacity, and keep in mind that political elites will have a lot of say if China were to transition. To survive, the government needs to be strong enough to have a monopoly on violence, that is to say no one else can threaten its citizens other than the state. Historically, the CCP has had no issue with this point. If china were to democratize, it most likely would not follow the path of many middle eastern countries which have no history of “stateness” But those same citizens need to have enough power to constrain that violence. As we’ve seen with Xi Jinping, Deng Xiaoping, and Mao Zedong, the importance of political leadership in China has been paramount. This will most likely still hold true if China were to transition and consolidate democracy.[17] This will prove to be one of the largest obstacles in China’s democratic transition.

The Chinese Communist Party will do everything it can to maintain its own integrity. Political elites in China will be inflexible in providing the conditions for a peaceful transition. A history of uncompromising political leadership that has successfully stopped every push for democratization and has actually used those crises to strengthen itself shows disfavor toward the possibility of transition. Recently there has been an even greater uptick in Chinese nationalism in response to its joining the World Trade Organization and other pressures of globalization. There has always been a nationalist streak in Chinese history, its fundamentalist interpretation of sovereignty, its nonnegotiable one china policy regarding Taiwan, Tibet, and Xinjiang. But these contentions have created several conflicts that could easily spin out of control during a transitional period.[18]

All in all, while optimism prevents me from believing that democracy is completely out of grasp for the people of China, taking into account modern Chinese history, a functioning democracy will most likely be out of reach in the 21st century due to nationalism, uncompromising political leadership, and the CCP’s transition-based norms that foster its resilience. There will always be people, like Lu Xun and Wei Jingsheng who will speak out against corruption and injustice. Economic reforms create an opening for the people of China, but if stability is continued to be prioritized over all else, incremental democratic reforms will not be enough to make a full transition and China will not fulfill its full potential without its “Fifth Modernization”.



Works Cited

Edition, Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia 6th. Tiananmen Square. n.d.

Fewsmith, Joseph. China after Tiananmen. Boston: Cambridge University Press, 2012.

Goldman, Merle. Sowing the Seeds of Democracy in China, Political Reform in the Deng Xiaoping Era. Harvard University Press, 1995.

International, The Economist. From Dictatorship to Democracy the Road less Travelled. 26 November 2015. 13 May 2018.

Jingsheng, Wei. “Asia for educators.” 1978. 13 May 2018.

Keping, Yu. “Toward an Incremental Democracy and Governance: Chinese Theories and Assessment Criteria.” New Political Science (2002): 181-199. EBSCOhost.

Liu, Yu. “Lessons of New Democracies for China.” Journal of Chinese Political Science (2018): 105-120.

Nathan, Andrew J. Chinese Democracy. University of California Press, 1986.

—. “China’s Changing of the Guard: Authoritarian Resilience.” Association for Asian studies (2003): 6-17.

Yang, Yuan. “Sexual harassment cases Trigger China Student Protests.” 24 April 2018. Financial Times. 8 May 2018.


[1] Lau, Joseph S. M., and Howard Goldblatt. The Columbia Anthology of Modern Chinese Literature. Columbia University Press, 2007.

[2] Keping, Yu. “Toward an Incremental Democracy and Governance: Chinese Theories and Assessment Criteria.” New Political Science (2002): 181-199. EBSCOhost.


[3] Keping, Yu. “Toward an Incremental Democracy and Governance: Chinese Theories and Assessment Criteria.” New Political Science (2002): 181-199. EBSCOhost.

[4] Goldman, Merle. Sowing the Seeds of Democracy in China, Political Reform in the Deng Xiaoping Era. Harvard University Press, 1995.


[5] Nathan, Andrew J. Chinese Democracy. University of California Press, 1986.

[6] Nathan, Andrew J. Chinese Democracy. University of California Press, 1986.


[7] Keping, Yu. “Toward an Incremental Democracy and Governance: Chinese Theories and Assessment Criteria.” New Political Science (2002): 181-199. EBSCOhost.

[8] Keping, Yu. “Toward an Incremental Democracy and Governance: Chinese Theories and Assessment Criteria.” New Political Science (2002): 181-199. EBSCOhost.


[9] Goldman, Merle. Sowing the Seeds of Democracy in China, Political Reform in the Deng Xiaoping Era. Harvard University Press, 1995.

[10] Jingsheng, Wei. “Asia for educators.” 1978. 13 May 2018.

[11] International, The Economist. From Dictatorship to Democracy the Road less Travelled. 26 November 2015. 13 May 2018.


[12] Edition, Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia 6th. Tiananmen Square. n.d.

[13] Fewsmith, Joseph. China after Tiananmen. Boston: Cambridge University Press, 2012.


[14] Nathan, Andrew J.”China’s Changing of the Guard: Authoritarian Resilience.” Association for Asian studies (2003): 6-17.

[15] Liu, Yu. “Lessons of New Democracies for China.” Journal of Chinese Political Science (2018): 105-120.


[16] Yang, Yuan. “Sexual harassment cases Trigger China Student Protests.” 24 April 2018. Financial Times. 8 May 2018.

[17] Liu, Yu. “Lessons of New Democracies for China.” Journal of Chinese Political Science (2018): 105-120.

[18] Liu, Yu. “Lessons of New Democracies for China.” Journal of Chinese Political Science (2018): 105-120.