Zayetzy Luna

International Women’s Day

Zayetzy Luna

I am sister, I am daughter,

I am mother, I am wife.

I am all the women in my lineage,

their triumphs and mistakes my birthright.

This post and poem were written by Zayetzy Luna Garcia, student worker at the Iowa Women’s Archives


Family unity is the center of Latinx culture. It is our base, our guide and our future. However, sometimes, we forget the glue that really keeps our family together: our mothers. While today is not Mother’s Day, it is International Women’s Day and being a mother is a challenge many women still choose to take on today. To celebrate the strength and beauty of Latinx women in Iowa, we present to you some excerpts and photos from the Migration is Beautiful website at the Iowa Women’s Archives in the University of Iowa Libraries.


Maria Mercedes “Mercy” Aguilera (1936-2013)

Despite her years of experience, many factories dismissed her applications. When she applied to work at International Harvester’s Farmall tractor plant, they refused her application on the basis that they believed Mexican women were too short to work on the assembly line.

Victoria Manrique Bata (born 1924)

We joined the craft club and then afterwards I can’t remember who the director was and they asked me if I’d be on the board…I was the only Mexican…All the clubs, like my sewing guild, my quilt guild, the PTA, we went wherever the Mexican people just did not.

Named YWCA Woman of the Year in 1979.

Mary Domingues Campos (born 1929)

“We were the first multi-cultural doctor’s office,” Mary remembered. “He was black and I was brown. And we serviced everybody, pink, yellow, blue, whatever color. We had the first bilingual medical practice that I know of here in Des Moines.



These women took head on the challenge of being Latina in place and time where being a brown woman was not easy. Not only did they persistently fight for their own rights, but they instilled a sense of justice, compassion and honor into their children who would go on to continue fight for women’s and Latinx rights in Iowa and across the country.

These are just a few stories of our hidden Latina history in Iowa. Feel free to continue to be inspired by reading more amazing Latina stories at the Migration is Beautiful website.

All About Eve

Our first women’s history month event features the work of Eve Drewelowe, who in 1924 became the first person to earn a master’s degree in fine arts from the University of Iowa. 

The painting “Summertime with Sis and Soot” evokes Drewelowe’s Iowa childhood and on a day like today, with the sun shining and snow melting, I can almost believe that summer–or at least spring–is on the way.  I’m lucky to have this painting hanging in my windowless office, providing a glimpse of Iowa fields and sky on a summer day.

On Wednesday, March 3rd, from 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. in the North Exhibition Hall of the University’s Main Library, we’ll unveil the Eve Drewelowe Digital Collection that was recently completed by the University of Iowa Libraries with the assistance of Lindsay Shannon, a graduate student in the School of Art and Art History.  Upon her death, Drewelowe bequeathed her artworks and personal papers to the School of Art and Art History. When the Iowa Women’s Archives was established in 1992, the papers were placed in the Archives on permanent loan. These materials have now been digitized in their entirety for the online collection, which features more than 700 items, including paintings, sketchbooks, scrapbooks, and correspondence. 

Professor Joni Kinsey, Curator of the Drewelowe art collection, will speak about the artist’s work and the significance of the collection at 4:30 p.m.  Please join us on Wednesday to celebrate the remarkable Eve Drewelowe.