Painting a world in which women, migrants have more power

I am the child of first-generation immigrants, and I grew up in Oakland, California, in the 1980s and ’90s, when Oakland was one of the most dangerous cities in the country.

Oakland was the home of the Black Panthers, and the powerful remnants of the Black power movement remained alive in my city even while my neighborhood was being ravaged by the war on drugs, mass incarceration and gangs. My parents taught me the importance of creating something out of nothing. I was always a creative child; art allowed me to create another world for myself in my imagination, where I could be seen in my full humanity.

Favianna Rodriguez
Favianna Rodriguez

My experiences also taught me that I could tap into the power of art and culture to bring about lasting social change.

I work on climate issues because I grew up in a polluted community. I experienced sexism my

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Politicians, civil rights activists and ‘Queen of Creole Cuisine’ among Louisiana’s inspiring women

Narrowing the list of Louisiana’s most influential women during the past century was like trying to rank the most mouth-watering gumbos found in this state, where a rich roux of cultures, influences and accomplishments has produced so many pioneers who have shaped our region and country.

Women have often been featured on Louisiana’s marquee, from the mythical Evangeline immortalized in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s 1847 poem to the late Gov. Kathleen Blanco, described by one state lawmaker “as our generation’s Evangeline.”

The USA TODAY Network is commemorating the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, in which women gained the right to vote, by recognizing women from each state and the District of Columbia who had a significant influence at home and across the country as Women of the Century.

A panel of Louisiana historians, journalists, political pioneers and caretakers of our culture – all women – chose our top 10 from

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