more about our history
Though now forming chapters in other cities, the original Latina Mami collective was a grassroots collective of Latina mothers based in Austin, Texas.
Latina Mami was founded in in 2000 by a young Latina mother to build a support network for Latina mothers and their children. This mother was not a professional organizer, was not a social worker, and was not paid by a larger entity to do this work. Gloria Perez-Stewart was simply disillusioned by the resources available for working class Latina women in her community. For instance, the only group she found offered by a local nonprofit was one they had for Latinas on “not shaking your baby”. Because of this, and the need for projects that recognized her inherent knowledge and power as a mother, Gloria decided to organize other Latina mothers, and included all those who identified as Chicano, Mexican-American, Cuban, Nuyorican, Dominican, and more.
In March of 2000, Gloria began reaching out to young mothers by advertising “mothers’ groups” and playgroups. She quickly met a group of Latina women who were interested in expanding beyond these informal meetings. Gloria also met several of whom wanted to do more work of a social justice nature. The “Mamis of Color” radio show aired weekly, a maternity clothes/baby equipment closet was stocked, and support groups and cultural events were organized throughout Austin. In addition to the radio show, email lists, newsletters for both print and web, bilingual materials, a babysitting cooperative, were all created, produced, organized, and written by Latina mothers.
Recognizing the oppression we faced as women of color, Latina Mami of Austin recognized the need to support the unique cultural experience of the diverse Latino population: Indigenous, African, Mestizo, Asian–yet tied together through colonial history. Latina Mami also formed alliances with other groups of color in its community, since we understood that we share a similar history.
We understand that children and families can only benefit when they have healthy, involved, and informed mothers. Because we understand that barriers to involvement exist in many forms, our primary concern is supporting the participation of the most marginalized women within our organization.
Latina Mami prefers that all our projects and initiatives be run or overseen by working-class Latina mothers.