For Hispanic Heritage Month, we've gathered info on some of our favorite Latinos who, besides their main careers, are known for their activism for causes like immigration equality, farmer's rights, women's rights and more. Stay tuned @lapazchatt for the full series.
Bianca Jagger, born on May 2, 1945, is mostly known as the former wife of Mick Jagger, but her legacy is much more than that. A Nicaraguan human and social rights activist, Jagger serves as a Council of Europe goodwill ambassador, founder and chair of the Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation, member of the Executive Director's Leadership Council of Amnesty International USA, and a trustee of the Amazon Charitable Trust. She’s campaigned for causes ranging from an end to Bosnian genocide to support for AIDs victims to indigenous rights in Latin America. Jagger continues to use her public voice to raise awareness of current issues and demand social justice.
Jagger’s interest in activism began at an early age. At the age of ten, Jagger’s mother and father divorced, and she and her two siblings stayed with her mother, who had to raise the children on a low income. Jagger earned a scholarship to study political science at the Paris Institute of Political Studies, where she began to get involved in political activism, attending protests against the totalitarian regime of the Somoza family in Nicaragua. She also began studying Gandhi’s ideas of nonviolent resistance and eastern philosophy as a whole, taking several trips to India.
In 1972, Nicaragua was wracked by a major earthquake, leaving roughly 11,000 dead and 300,000 homeless. Jagger convinced the Rolling Stones to perform a benefit concert to raise money for those affected by the earthquake. In 1979, following the overthrow of the Somoza regime in Nicaragua, Jagger joined the International Red Cross delegation sent to the country to help with humanitarian efforts. In 1981, she joined a congressional delegation serving at a UN refugee camp in Honduras. During her stay, a Salvadoran death squad took 40 refugees hostage. Jagger and the rest of the delegation followed them with cameras, shouting “You’ll have to kill us all!” until the squad eventually released the captives. The experience was transformational for Jagger, who doubled down on her humanitarian efforts. Since then, Jagger has involved herself in a variety of humanitarian and social justice projects, such as campaigning for peace in Northern Ireland, defending the rights of the Yanomami tribe in Brazil against the invasion of gold miners, serving on the Twentieth Century Task Force to Apprehend War Criminals, traveling to Afghanistan on behalf of Global Exchange to support Afghan women's projects, and participating in a variety of environmental efforts for the International Union for Conservation of Nature and the environmental organization 350.org, among others.
Jagger has won many awards for her work, including, the United Nations Earth Day Award, the American Civil Liberties Union Award, the Abolitionist of the Year Award from the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, the World Citizenship Award from the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, the Green Globe Award from the Rainforest Alliance, and the Amnesty International USA Media Spotlight Award for Leadership.