Biographical/ Historical Note
Title: Comisión Femenil Mexicana Nacional Archives
Identifier/Call Number: CEMA 30
UC Santa Barbara Library, Department of Special Collections
Language of Material:
37.0 linear feet
80 boxes, cassettes, and videos.
Date (inclusive): 1967-1997
The Comisión Femenil Mexicana Nacional (CFMN), Inc. was founded in 1970 to organize and network with women so that they might
assume leadership positions within the Chicano movement and in their community. They helped to disseminate news and information
regarding the achievements of Chicana/Mexican women, and promoted programs that provided solutions for women and their families.
This collection contains administrative and event files, artifacts, and publication in 80 document boxes. There are also audio
and video files from CFMN talks,interviews and projects.
Language of Materials:
The collection is in English.
CEMA Del Norte Stacks
Biographical/ Historical Note
The Comisión Femenil Mexicana Nacional, Inc. was founded by resolution at the 1970 National Issues Conference in Sacramento
California. The Founding President was Francisca Flores, a Chicana activist already well respected for her many decades of
community works. Recognizing that there were few organizations that met the needs of Latina women, nine resolutions were presented
to the full body calling for the establishment of a Chicana/Mexicana women's commission. The resolution called for a commission
that could direct it’s efforts toward organizing and networking women that they might assume leadership positions within the
Chicano movement and in the community. Designed to disseminate news and information regarding the achievements of Chicana/Mexican
women, and promote programs that provide solutions for women and their families; the resolutions read as follows:
RESOLUTION TO ESTABLISH COMISIÓN FEMENIL MEXICANA NACIONAL, INC. (Adopted 10/10/70 at the National Issues Conference in Sacramento, CA)
The effort and work of Chicana/Mexican women in the Chicano movement is generally obscured because women are not accepted
as community leaders, either by the Chicano movement or by the Anglo establishment.
The existing myopic attitude does not prove that women are not capable or willing to participate. It does not prove that women
are not active, indispensable (representing over 50% of the population), experienced and knowledgeable in organizing tactics
and strategy of a people's movement.
THEREFORE, in order to terminate exclusion of female leadership in the Chicano/Mexican movement and in the community, be it
RESOLVED that a Chicana/Mexican Women's Commission be established at this conference which will represent women, in all areas
where Mexicans prevail, and;
That this commission be known as the Comisión Femenil Mexicana, and;
That the Comisión direct its efforts to organizing women to assume leadership positions within the Chicano movement and in
community life, and;
That the Comisión disseminate news and information regarding the work and achievement of Mexican/Chicana women, and;
That the Comisión concern itself in promoting programs which specifically lend themselves to help, assist and promote solutions
to female type problems and problems confronting the Mexican family, and;
That the Comisión spell out issues to support, and explore ways to establish relationships with other women's organizations
and movements. VIVA LA CAUSA!
Following this resolution, work began in earnest to fulfill its vision. The following years were spent researching and building
a collective base of support in order to accomplish the directives of the resolution.
Francisca Flores, a veteran of the Chicano movement, was instrumental in motivating and encouraging the development of la
Comisión. During it’s first year, she along with Frances Bojorquez, Amelia Camacho and national chairwoman Jo Valdez Banda,
initiated a national membership drive and designed the CFMN articles of incorporation including by-laws. These by-laws officially
qualified la Comisión for grants from the Department of Labor an important funding source for many CFMN projects.
As part of a series of 1971 resolutions the
Chicana Service Action Center was established in 1972. The center continues to this day to provide low-income, unskilled women with job training. The center
also operates a shelter for battered women, deals with the needs of Mexican American and Chicana Women and is unique in that
it focuses upon linking other Chicana related resources together in an overlapping structure. The program developed ties to
the County Department of Social Services, private industry and contacts with the Telephone Company, Southern California Edison,
Northrop Rockwell, Prudential Insurance, IBM, Safeway, CBS, Los Angeles City and County Schools, the United Way, the White
House and many, many others. The center established a myriad of contacts to assist in training, education and employment opportunities
for women, provided by women. These contacts and networks overlap into the CFMN administrative contacts and provided many
important funding and organizational tools during the Comisión’s history.
In 1973, the CFMN held its Constitutional Convention at the Francisco Torres Convention Center in Goleta, California. In the
70s, 80s, and into the 90s, the Comisión Femenil Mexicana Nacional, Inc. functioned as a nexus of Latina issues, driving an
agenda focused on women’s health, labor, and political pro-activism. Comisión Femenil Mexicana Nacional Inc. quickly grew
to become one of the largest and most effective Hispanic organizations in the United States. In the same year, the CFMN had
expanded to the stage where it could create the
Centro de Niños, an innovative bilingual child development center and in the fall of that year CFMN was formally structured, with a constitution
and a plan of action to develop leadership as well as expand membership.
The next few years saw the establishment of chapters statewide. In 1975, CFMN went to Mexico City to attend the
United Nation's International Decade of the Woman's Year conference and in 1977, attended the National Women’s Conference in Houston Texas where they were acknowledged as the leading
Latina organization in the United States. In that same year they joined other Latinas in filing a landmark lawsuit; the Madrigal
vs. Quilligan lawsuit and its subsequent appeal failed on the merits to stop the forced sterilization of Latinas in Los Angeles
County Hospitals but succeeded in drawing attention to the problem. The lawsuit resulted in increased pressure to create bilingual
consent forms, and made public the treatment of Latinas by health officials.
In 1978, members participated in the National ERA March in Washington, D.C. and lobbied intensively for the extension of the
Equal Rights Amendment and more importantly, strengthened protections and institutions for Chicanas. In 1980 CFMN attended
the United Nations Mid-Decade Conference on Women in Copenhagen Denmark while at the same time supporting 16 separate chapters
each with their own community resource programs. Over time the number of Chapters grew to 24. In 1982 the CFMN opened
Casa Victoria, a residential treatment center for adolescent girls and that same year helped to arrange the first ever meeting in Kansas
City of the presidents of National Latina many of whom were inspired by the CFMN, and attended the United Nations End of the
Decade conference in Nairobi, Kenya. This is but a partial list of the CFMN’s accomplishments. The broader range and tremendous
impact of the Comisión can be seen in the scope of the collection that follows.
Copyright has not been assigned to the Department of Special Collections, UCSB. All requests for permission to publish or
quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Collections. Permission for publication is given
on behalf of the Department of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply
permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained.
The collection is open for research.
Donated by CFMN extant board of directors. Gift agreement dated January, 2001.
[Identification of Item], Comision Femenil Mexicana Nacional, CEMA 30. Department of Special Collections, UC Santa Barbara
Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.
Series I: CFMN Administrative Records. This series is made up of four sub series. The order to the CFMN files follows closely the internal structure of the CFMN
itself, beginning with administrative files. Administrative files were collected by board members in most cases. Whenever
a set of papers was labeled and singled out by a board member, that folder order was maintained here. Series I contains 4
sub series. The first sub series
Board of Directors 1970-1995 contains board of directors and executive board meetings arranged chronologically and grouped by monthly meeting whenever
possible. Occasionally the boards of directors meeting notes are duplicated by various board members during a monthly meeting.
In those cases more than one individual on the board kept a file for the same events. The files are maintained in that order
The second sub series is
CFMN General Administrative files, ordered chronologically by year with not dated (n.d.) materials placed at the end. Within each year, content is arranged
according to subject name, alphabetically with general or mixed administrative files placed at the end. The files contain
correspondence, publicity materials, surveys, membership development and papers on subjects dealt with by the CFMN during
any given year.
The third sub series,
Research Chicana Issues/Miscellaneous is derived from a large section of the CFMN administrative files which dealt with and sought to identify Chicana/Latina issues
of all kinds. These materials reflect the group’s efforts to gather research materials on those subjects. The files include
correspondence, publicity, information releases from government agencies, reports, announcements, articles and papers. Many
of the folders contain papers from a wide range of dates and are ordered alphabetically by subject and date ranged accordingly
unless a date could not be determined.
The fourth sub series
Chapters, CFMN Administrative Files contains material specifically related to CFMN chapters. One of the main purposes of the CFMN
was to tie a network of Chicana activists together across the state and the nation, a network capable of disseminating information
and important resources at the local level. This sub series contains communication, publicity, reports and announcements related
to one or more of the many chapters which joined the CFMN. This sub series differs from the following series on chapters in
that it is material specifically related to the administrative relationship between the CFMN and its chapters.
Series II: Chapters. This series contains correspondence, newsletters, articles, research, publicity, announcements and reports from CFMN Chapters.
It differs from
Series I CFMN administrative files sub series Chapters in that these materials were generated by the chapters themselves and collected by CFMN separately. The files have been arranged
alphabetically by chapter name then chronologically within each chapter.
Series III: Government Agencies. Over the course of the CFMN’s history, the CFMN communicated constantly with the highest levels of government. The CFMN’s
influence was felt throughout the 70s and 80s through numerous contacts with federal and state administrations and their component
agencies. All files relating to contact between the CFMN and the government are arranged here, ordered alphabetically by the
name of the agency and chronologically within each agency.
Series IV: Conferences. The conferences series is very comprehensive and covers a period from before the creation of the CFMN on into the late 90s.
The series contains conference materials arranged chronologically into years and then by dates within those years. Only one
year (1975) lacks documentation. Many conferences are grouped within a single folder where appropriate and a majority of the
conference materials will also include correspondence, announcements, papers, articles and publicity related to the individual
conferences. Not dated materials are found at the end of the conference series.
Series V: Chicano Service Action Center. CSAC. (Established in 1972, the CSAC became independent of the CFMN in 1975). The CSAC was founded and chaired by Francisca
Flores who also edited the CSAC newsletter. The Center’s work and its structure closely resemble the CFMN; the CSAC series
is arranged accordingly with seven sub series following that structure. The first Sub series
CSAC Board of Directors is arranged chronologically by meeting, monthly wherever possible.
The second sub series
Correspondence contains correspondence divided into incoming and outgoing and arranged chronologically.
The third sub series
CSAC General Administrative contains files collected from wide ranging subject matter concerning activities, proposed activities, and research materials
for articles for the center’s publications. The files are arranged here chronologically beginning with not dated material.
The sub series contains numerous examples of the subject matter the CSAC dealt with including job development, resource centers,
community action groups, pieces by Anna Nieto-Gomez, the MALDEF sterilization cases, Chicano/Jewish Dialogue of 1980 (in 1990
CFMN traveled to Israel on a Latino and Jewish community exchange program,) among many others.
The fourth sub series,
Government Agencies, contains correspondence, newsletters, research materials, statistics, reports and announcements pertaining to government
agencies that the CSAC had direct contact with. The sub series is chronological beginning in 1966 and continuing through 1983.
The fifth sub series,
Publications, contains materials from before the founding of the CFMN and the CSAC including Carta Legislativa, Carta Editorial, Carta
Chicana/Mexicano as well as correspondence and notes concerning the CSAC newsletter (found in Series IX publications) and
other Mexican American organizations like the Mexican American Political Association and several conferences. The materials
were received as a group and are maintained in their original order.
The sixth sub series is titled
Research/ Original Work/ Correspondence/ Miscellaneous. This series resembles the
General Administrative sub series but was collected specifically as part of files relating to research on Chicana topics. Beginning with a copy
of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo these files are arranged chronologically.
The seventh sub series is
Notes/Newspaper Articles/Miscellaneous “Disputes.” Much of this sub series relates to the legal case of Ms. Kline against the CSAC. The files are arranged chronologically according
to their date ranges.
Series VI: Centro de Niños (established 1973). This series is arranged chronologically from the preliminary proposals for the center in 1973. The series
contains files collected by the Centro’s board, board meetings, correspondence and research or background materials such as
the Union and Labor information file collected by Sandy Sewell in 1976. The records for the board’s meetings from 1977 to
1978 are extensive, as is the file for a 1994 board meeting. These two meetings were divided into sections by the donors and
are preserved here in that arrangement.
Series VII: Casa Victoria (established 1982). Ordered chronologically the Casa Victoria Series spans two boxes and contains all material related to
the proposal for and administration of the CFMN group home project
Casa Victoria. These papers include examples of policies and procedures from a similar group home, the Calabasas Academy, requests for
financial support, fundraising proposals and events as well as correspondence and meeting notes.
Series VIII: Los Angeles County Latino Assessment Study, (LACLAS) contains all files related to a Los Angeles area study proposed to the Ford Foundation by the Tomás Rivera Center in order
to determine salient issues among the Hispanic community. The study focused on among other things, Education/Youth, Employment/Training,
Family/Health, Economic Development, Legal Services /Justice System, Housing/Transportation, and Immigration/Governance Structures.
The LACLAS group was heavily influenced by Bea Stotzer, immediate past president of CFMN at the time. The series and project
are very well documented here and arranged as it was created according to chronology with relevant correspondence remaining
in place with its subject matter throughout the series.
Series IX: Publications. During the course of the CFMN’s history, an excellent cross section of periodicals, newspaper articles, and newsletters were
collected by the board, its chapter members and centers. These publications are preserved here and separated into three sub
series. Sub series one,
CFMN Publications Internal, contains all of the publications produced by the CFMN and its affiliated chapters and facilities beginning with
Carta editorial, (edited by Francisca Flores), and continuing with the
CSAC newsletter, the
CFM Report, and the
CFMN Newsletter also known as
La Mujer. This sub series is arranged alphabetically by title and chronologically within titles.
The second sub series is
Publications External which contains numerous Chicana issues publications, feminist organization publications, newsletters, action alert publications
and several Chicana political publications. The sub series is arranged alphabetically by title and chronologically within
The third sub series is
Publications General. This sub series primarily contains Chicana/Chicano/feminist issue newspaper articles collected over the history of the Comisión
and arranged here chronologically. Some of these articles can be found copied and placed with their relevant subject matter
in other areas of the collection. The sub series ends with undated and miscellaneous materials.
Series X: Oversize spans two boxes.
Series XI: Audio Tapes contains two tape recorded CFMN meetings and a six tape recording from International Women’s Year.
Series XII: Pablo Landeros Research on Francisca Flores spans two document boxes.