2021 Rock Star Recipient
2021 • Rock Star: Life Achievement Award •
Lupe Anguiano, 92, is the daughter of Oxnard fieldworkers, who has worked as an entrepreneur and an activist for more than seven decades to improve the social, educational, economic, and environmental conditions of women and the poor. Her many achievements include organizing grape boycotts for Cesar Chavez, developing a program for gang members in East LA, founding a powerful women’s political group with Gloria Steinem, and helping welfare mothers find a better life.
As an education specialist in the Johnson administration, Lupe worked on the nation’s first bilingual education bill. She went on to hold various positions in the Nixon, Carter, and Reagan administrations.
In the 1970s, Lupe and Steinem were among a group of women who created the National Women’s Political Caucus. Lupe chaired the welfare reform committee and used the platform to push for changes in the welfare system. When Congress passed landmark welfare reform legislation in 1996 it contained many of her welfare-to-work ideas.
In 1978, Lupe first added entrepreneurship to her resume when she founded an organization called National Women's Employment & Education (NWEE) that offered a model program removing many of the barriers faced by women on welfare. The nonprofit provided a three-week job training program that was followed by on-the-job training, enrollment in academic courses, or jobs. In 1983, President Reagan honored Lupe with a President's Volunteer for her work with NWEE. The organization placed 3,000 women in jobs by the early 1990s.
At 75, she again incorporated entrepreneurism into her efforts and founded and directed Stewards of the Earth, a nonprofit organization committed to protecting the west coast environment from agricultural pollutants, fracking and the downsides of development.
Lupe’s biography, “Uncompromised. The Life Story of Lupe Anguiano,” was released in 2016.