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Abstract

This paper offers a history of Mujeres Latinas en Acción, a women’s community organization in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood. This thesis begins by describing the gender norms and views of ethnic identity in the neighborhood in the early 1970s, before turning to the organization’s founding and early programs serving young women. This paper argues that Mujeres used community activism to broaden practices associated with motherhood to include supporting the whole Latina/o community. Mujeres members used this framing of motherhood to express values which resonated with traditional ideas of gender and ethnicity, while also engaging in sometimes radical practices within Pilsen. In their work outside of Pilsen, the organization strove to project a unified view of the Latina/o community, which de-emphasized disagreements within Pilsen and the Latina/o community about gender and ethnic identity.

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