"We just knew we were angry," said Maria Contreras-Sweet of the women who formed Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE). They believed that women's concerns were not getting attention and began sponsoring forums to increase Latinas' involvement in the political process. "HOPE probably includes the leading Hispanic business and community women in Southern California," said Contreras-Sweet, the group's president and a vice president at 7-UP/RC Bottling Co.
"Sometimes minorities struggle so hard and attack the Establishment so hard. We're saying to these women: 'It's time to stop complaining and accept responsibility ourselves.' "
Estela Lopez, the new president of the Los Angeles Children's Museum board, finds a certain appeal in one exhibit where youngsters can "see what it's like to be an anchorperson." Small wonder. Lopez, 36, worked in news departments at three L.A. television stations. Lopez, executive director of the Miracle on Broadway redevelopment project downtown, said she hopes more children in Los Angeles' ethnically diverse community will discover "the riches the museum has to offer."
"We've always had to initiate things like this," U.S. Army veteran Ruben Treviso said. "We're not bitter. We're just going to build our own memorial." The Assn. of Hispanic Vietnam Era Veterans is working to raise $300,000 for the memorial, which would include the names of more than 20,000 Latinos who have died in combat since World War II, said Treviso, of the Whittier-based Veterans in Community Service Inc. Latino servicemen, he said, have won 37 Medals of Honor, more proportionately than any other ethnic group.