Gloria Arellanes interviewed by Analia Cabral, May 13, 2016, El Monte, California, Oral History #5851, transcript, Women Politics, and Activism Since Suffrage, Center for Oral and Public History, California State University, Fullerton.
An oral history of Gloria Arellanes, former member of the Brown Berets, co-founder of the Free Clinic, and current Chicana activist. The interview was conducted for the Women, Politics, and Activism Since Suffrage Oral History Project for California State University, Fullerton’s Center for Oral and Public History. The purpose of this interview was to gather information regarding Arellanes’ years in the Brown Berets. Specifically, Arellanes shares about family history, including memories of her grandparents and parents; describes how her family faced discrimination when purchasing their home in East L.A.; talks about her relationship with her mom; how she and her dad had different political ideologies; talks about her brother, his involvement with the Brown Berets, and his death; shares about the Berets’ 1969 September 16th parade; talks about role models; recalls learning to stand up for herself; why she embraced her Native American (Tongva) heritage; defines the term Chicana; talks about what she learned from former Brown Beret David Sanchez; involvement with the Mexican American Youth Council; talks about her two sons and their fathers; why she got involved in activism; talks about the significance of the Brown Beret sponsored Free Clinic; reflects on her work with the Welfare Rights Organization, and personal experience with welfare workers; talks about the goals of the Brown Berets and personally encountering police harassment and violence; internal dissension within Brown Beret organization and the risk of sexual assault; defines the term feminism; memories of the Chicano Moratorium; her struggle with post-Beret PTSD and why she participated in the commemorative marches; differences between the Brown Berets when she joined vs. its current leadership; describes her leadership style; expounds on Tongva culture; talks about other challenges she experienced during her life; gender obstacles specific to female activists; talks about balancing work life, activism, and motherhood; differences in how men and women lead; what she’s proud of as an activist; shares thoughts on Donald Trump; shares advice for women interested in activism; and finally, talks about why it’s important that Mexican Americans are taught their about heritage.
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