Jovita Idár: Google doodle on Mexican-American journalist, civil right activist
- United States
Google today dedicates a beautiful doodle to Jovita Idár, a Mexican-American journalist, educator, nurse, and activist. She was a pioneer in the fight for Mexican-American civil rights at the turn of the 20th century.
Jovita Idár was born on September 7, 1885 in Laredo, Texas. She strove to advance the civil rights of Mexican-Americans. She and all her siblings grew up in an atmosphere where rights, and responsibilities and the underprivileged circumstances of the Chicano community were consistently discussed. The Idár family were part of the gente decente, whose families had better access to good education and opportunities than many méxico-tejano families did not have.
Jovita Idár was born during the time when Mexican-Americans faced rampant discrimination in the state. She became a teacher in 1903 with a determination to stand up for her community. The reality of her first years teaching was frustrating. The schooling for Chicano students, much like African American students in the south at that time, was inadequate. Jovita Idár realized that her teaching efforts were making little impact on student lives due to the ill-equipped segregated schools. She resigned to join her father's influential activist newspaper, La Crónica. She worked alongside two of her brothers, Eduardo and Bobby Brown. Through her articles, Idár spoke out against discrimination, fought for women's suffrage, and affirmed the importance of Mexican culture.
In 1910, La Crónica included articles on news, current events, biographical and historical essays that concerned Mexican Americans, literary essays and poetry, and commentary. Jovita Idár made La Crónica focussing on the serious social and economic inequities experienced by Mexican Americans in Texas in particular, and in the US in general. In 1911, La Cronica established a 'fraternal order', the Orden Caballeros de Honor to 'discuss the troubling social issues at the time', and held the First Mexican Congress — the Primer Congreso Mexicanista — dedicated to fighting inequality and racism and unite Mexicans on issues that affected them, including lack of access to adequate education and economic resources.
While working at La Cronica, Jovita Idár also served as the first president of La Liga Femenil Mexicanista, the League of Mexican Women, an 'offshoot' of the Congress that was founded in October 1911 in Laredo to offer free education to Mexican children.
Jovita Idár commenced writing for El Progreso newspaper in 1914. Never afraid to make her voice heard, she expressed her criticism of the US army's involvement in the Mexican Revolution in an editorial, which resulted in an attempt by Texas Rangers to shut the publication down. When officers rode up to the El Progreso office, Jovita Idár stood in their way and forced them to turn back — a scene recreated in today's Doodle artwork.
Despite Jovita Idár's bravery, the Rangers returned the next day and shut down El Progreso, but she refused to be silenced. She returned to La Crónica and eventually ran the paper with her brothers, using its pages to continue her pursuit for justice. In 1917, she moved to San Antonio, Texas, where she carried her activism forward as a prominent leader in the city's community, including opening a free kindergarten, serving as a Spanish translator at a local hospital, and teaching childcare and feminine hygiene.
Jovita Idár married Bartolo Juárez in May 1917. She lived in San Antonio with her husband until her death on June 15, 1946. She was suffering from advanced tuberculosis. Google honours Jovita Idár for dedicating her life for the pursuit of equality and justice.