Beatriz Hernandez on Jovita Idár

“When you educate a woman, you educate a family.”

Jovita Idár was a Mexican-American journalist, activist, nurse and educator, born in Laredo, Texas in 1885. Starting out as a school teacher, she went on to join her family business as a newspaper journalist, writing on topics like segregation, racism, poverty, politics, women and voting rights. During the Mexican revolution, Idár incurred the ire of the US president after criticizing him in print, a move that prompted the Texas governor to send rangers to her door. Idár stood up for herself and her newspaper, citing her first amendment right to freedom of speech and closed the door. She was appalled at the treatment of ethnic Mexicans in the United States, who were routinely discriminated against and subjected to horrific violence. Her life’s work was to pursue justice and build community. She served as a nurse in the Mexican revolution, started a Spanish-language newspaper, fought for women’s rights and so much more. As immigrant rights organizer Beatriz Hernández lovingly says, “she was a CHINGONA!”

Our storytellers share these astonishing women with us conversationally and unscripted; we fact-check afterwards and note any major discrepancies for accuracy.


Beatriz Hernandez

Beatriz Hernandez is a Mexican immigrant born and raised in Guadalajara, Jalisco Mexico. At eleven years old, she moved to the United States where she learned English and went on to continue her education in Texas and California. Beatriz received her Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from the University of California, Merced. Since then, she has worked in the nonprofit sector and is an organizer for the California Immigrant Policy Center. Through her role, Beatriz engages in relationship-building, local and statewide campaigns, political education, and storytelling to advance pro-immigrant rights policies in the state. Beatriz’s work is her passion and her day to day to reality as she is also undocumented. However, she uses her journey as a blueprint to mentor and inspire other undocumented immigrants and Latina women to become who they want to be despite the barriers they face. Catch up with Beatriz on her Youtube channel @veggiesonly_chica.

Featured Woman

Jovita Idár

Jovita Idár was born in 1885 in Laredo, Texas to parents Jovita and Nicasio Idár. Her father was a newspaper editor and a civil rights activist who insisted on educating all of his eight children, including the girls, which was fairly uncommon at the time. Jovita earned her teaching certificate in 1903 but quickly left teaching after experiencing the subpar conditions Mexican-American students endured in that time. After the 1914 lynching of a Mexican-American boy, Jovita was inspired to action and began working at her father’s newspaper, La Crónica, where she and her family wrote in support of Mexican-American rights. In 1911 they organized the First Mexican American Congress to bring Mexicans from both sides of the border together, in an effort to fight injustices faced by both sides. After the Congress, Jovita continued writing articles and often wrote in support of women’s suffrage, eventually founding the first League of Mexican American Women. The League’s efforts focused on improving education conditions for Mexican-American children and encouraged women to become civically involved. In 1914 she became a nurse to take care of the wounded during the Mexican Revolution, working with a group called La Cruz Blanca. When she returned, Jovita began working for Spanish-language newspaper Él Progreso, where she penned an article criticizing U.S. President Woodrow Wilson’s decision to send troops to the Mexican border. The Texas governor responded by sending a band of armed Texas rangers to the door of her newspaper to threaten and intimidate her. Jovita stood her ground and would not let them in. However, the rangers returned and destroyed the newspaper’s entire operation, forcing them to shut down. Jovita went back to La Crónica and eventually took over as editor after her father died in 1914. She later married and moved to San Antonio, Texas, where she became active in the Democratic Party, rallied for women’s rights and continued her journalism and community work. She passed away in San Antonio in 1946. She was known for saying, “when you educate a woman, you educate a family.”