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Carmen Vázquez interviewed by Kelly Anderson, May 12-13, 2005 and August 25, 2005

 File — Box: 60
Link to transcript of Carmen Vázquez interview
Link to transcript of Carmen Vázquez interview
Link to video
Link to video

Scope and Contents

In this oral history, Vázquez describes her early childhood in Puerto Rico and growing up in New York City, first on the Lower East Side, then in Harlem. Vázquez is forthcoming about her personal life during this time and covers issues such as racism, family dynamics, religion and sexuality. Vázquez describes her political awakening and early activism, beginning with the student protests at City College and Puerto Rican independence efforts. She describes in depth her movement from anti-racism and socialist activism into the women's movement and then queer politics. Vázquez's interview is particularly strong and nuanced around issues of classism, racism, and sexism in social change movements. She offers keen insights into the successes and failures of these movements and an uncompromising vision for meaningful coalition building. (Transcript 93 pp.)

Dates of Materials

  • Creation: May 12-13, 2005 and August 25, 2005


Conditions Governing Web Access

The interviewer and narrator for this interview have agreed that it may be placed on the web.

Conditions Governing Access

This interview is open for research use without restriction.

Conditions Governing Use

The interviewer and narrator have transferred copyright of this interview to Smith College.

Biographical / Historical

The oldest of seven children, Carmen Vázquez (b. 1949) was born in Puerto Rico and raised in Harlem. She attended the City University of New York, earning a Bachelor’s in English and a Masters in Education. Vázquez lived and worked in San Francisco for almost two decades, becoming a seasoned activist and movement leader in causes ranging from immigrant rights to lesbian health. Vázquez was the founding director of the Women's Building in San Francisco, the Director of the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, and the Coordinator of Lesbian & Gay Health Services for the San Francisco Department of Public Health. She was also the co-founder and co-chair of Somos Hermanas, a Central American Women's Solidarity Network.

Vázquez returned to New York in 1994 as the Director of Public Policy for the LGBT Community Center in New York City. She has published in many journals, magazines, and anthologies and is a featured speaker at activist conferences including the NGLTF's Creating Change. Vázquez is currently the Deputy Director of Empire State Pride Agenda and lives in Brooklyn.

Language of Materials