By Robert Lopez and Austin Newton
Sept. 22, 2023 | SAN ANTONIO, Texas (UM News)
United Methodists and others gathered in San Antonio recently to celebrate the minting of a U.S. coin bearing the image of Jovita Idár, a Methodist, journalist and activist who worked to empower Mexican American women and others in the early 20th century.
The United States Mint included Idár (1885-1946) as part of its American Women Quarters series. Other honorees include Eleanor Roosevelt, Maya Angelou and Sally Ride.
Representatives of the Mint joined members of Idár’s family, as well as retired United Methodist Bishop Joel Martinez, in a roundtable discussion about Idár during the Sept. 14 celebration at the University of Texas at San Antonio’s downtown campus.
Martinez encouraged those in the crowded lecture hall to be like Jovita Idár, specifically by refusing to be limited by others’ expectations.
“We have a tendency to confine and assign roles,” said Martinez. “Don’t be defined by those who want to limit you. Be defined by the creator who gave you all the gifts that you have and sense and explore them.”
Idár’s modest celebrity faded after her death and she remained an obscure figure until the late 1970s and early 1980s, when interest rose sharply in women’s and ethnic history.
She’s since been the subject of a documentary, a New York Times feature and a historical marker. Laredo, Texas, has named a park in her honor.