Linda Chavez is an influential Hispanic political woman who dedicated her career to fighting for civil rights and helped Hispanic community change its role in the American society. She has always been proud of her Spanish roots and her personal childhood experience of racial prejudice inspired her to get involved in the civil rights movement supporting the causes of minorities and women.
She held different appointed positions in various US Commissions and the position of Director of the White House Office of Public Liaison (1985), being the highest-ranking woman in Ronald Reagan’s administration. She also ran for the open U.S. Senate seat in Maryland in 1986 but her campaign ended in defeat and she removed from the political scene, later on. She was brought again to the public attention in 2001 when she was nominated Secretary for Labor by George W. Bush, being the first Hispanic woman ever nominated in such a high position.
Initially a Democrat, she has increasingly shown support for conservative ideas on key issues, which led to a strong liberal and Hispanic opposition to her attitude towards civil rights. Chavez ended her affiliation to the Democrats and registered as a Republican in 1985.
She is also an author, columnist, political commentator, Fox News analyst and a talk show radio host. After her defeat, she focused more on writing, a political columnist affiliated to various important publications. Her book,”Out of the Barrio: Toward a New Politics of Hispanic Assimilation”, published in 1991, restated her belief that affirmative action brought no benefits to the image of Hispanic community and reconfirmed her opposition to bilingual education. As estranged as she became from her fellow Hispanics and created many debates and controversies, her work raised awareness about the national perception on minorities.
She is also the founder of the Center for Equal Opportunity in Washington, D.C., a public organization that focuses on immigration and integration, multicultural education and racial prejudice. Her continuous and assiduous contributions to American culture brought her the well-deserved “Living Legend” award from the Library of Congress.