Olga Rodríguez (1948– ) first became active in the fight for Chicano rights in her home state of Texas, supporting the struggle to organize farmworkers in the Rio Grande Valley in the 1960s while a high school student in Brownsville. At the University of Houston, she joined the League of Mexican-American Students,...
Olga Rodríguez (1948– ) first became active in the fight for Chicano rights in her home state of Texas, supporting the struggle to organize farmworkers in the Rio Grande Valley in the 1960s while a high school student in Brownsville. At the University of Houston, she joined the League of Mexican-American Students, which was part of the fights for Chicano studies, bilingual-bicultural education, affirmative action, and US withdrawal from Vietnam that swept the Southwest in the late 1960s and early 1970s. While a student at the university she also joined the Young Socialist Alliance and helped to organize the first march in Houston against the war.
After moving to Los Angeles to help build the 4,000- strong Chicano contingent in the mammoth April 1971 San Francisco demonstration against the Vietnam War, Rodríguez joined the Los Angeles chapter of the Women’s National Abortion Action Coalition, helping to organize actions for the legalization of abortion.
In 1972 Rodríguez participated in the City Terrace chapter of the Raza Unida Party’s campaign for state assembly and in the chapter’s work to register Chicanos in Los Angeles County as part of the RUP’s effort statewide to gain ballot status.
As Socialist Workers Party candidate for mayor of Los Angeles in 1973 and governor of California in 1974, Rodríguez used her campaigns to support and publicize the struggles of working people, including the battles of the United Farm Workers union.
Rodríguez served on the party’s National Committee from 1975–1988 and directed its work in solidarity with the Chicano movement from 1975 to 1979. This included collaboration with the Southwest Bureau of the Militant, set up in 1971 to give timely coverage to developments in the struggle for Chicano liberation.
She has been a frequent contributor to the Militant and Perspectiva Mundial, its sister publication in Spanish, from 1977 to 2005, when it merged with the Militant newsweekly.
Rodríguez coordinated the SWP’s work in defense of the victorious Nicaraguan revolution in 1979, as well as efforts in solidarity with the workers and farmers in El Salvador fighting against the US-backed dictatorship. She has also been active in building solidarity with the Cuban revolution.
She has been active in the fights in New Jersey against police brutality, mobilizations to counter right-wing forces seeking to shut down clinics that provide abortions, and in defending immigrant rights.