“So we had this powerful experience of equality that we didn’t wait till an issue was big. We created the issue. We went out looking for what we needed to fight. It was a very cohesive group of people.” ~Yvonne Peña
Yvonne Peña was born in Puerto Rico, but lived the majority of her life in New York. In 2002, Yvonne moved to North Carolina for a job opportunity. She works for the city of Durham as a Director of Human Relations. While her sister is responsible for her initial involvement in the movement, it was during her college experience at Adelphi University that she was a part of a number of initiatives. As a college student, she was very active, participating in demonstrations against the Vietnam War, for equal pay laws, and rallied for abortions. Peña was a member of NOW, and one of the most unique projects she worked on during her collegiate years was her work with a Women’s Correctional Facility to change the birth certificates of children who were born to incarcerated mothers. She discusses how race intersected with her activism, as a participant in both the Civil Rights Movement and the Women’s Movement. She also emphasizes how politically charged college campuses were at the time. Today, she is still very much an activist, fighting against housing discrimination and deportation issues, among other issues.