The New York Times calls Linda Chavez “an influential voice on civil rights policy.” The Washington Post describes her as one of “a new generation of intellectuals seeking to question the orthodoxies of the civil rights establishment.” The Rocky Mountain News recently noted “Chavez is exactly the sort of role model many college students need.”
Chavez is the author of Out of the Barrio: Toward a New Politics of Hispanic Assimilation, which chronicles the largely untold story of Hispanic progress and achievement, and addresses the implications of bilingual education, voting rights, immigration policy and affirmative action. Along the way, she shatters the myth that the United States’ 20 million Hispanics form a permanent underclass.
She is a John M. Olin Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, where she leads the Center for the New American Community. The Center seeks to foster a renewed commitment to a common American civic culture and shared identity among the many diverse people who have built this nation.
Chavez is known by many for her regular appearances on PBS’s weekly public affairs program To the Contrary, CNN’s morning show Crier & Co. and as a presidential election commentator for The McNeil-Lehrer Newshour. She has been a regular contributor to National Public Radio and the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. on national politics, foreign affairs and domestic policy. Also, Chavez writes frequently for such publications as USA Today, Fortune, The Wall Street Journal, The New Republic, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Post and the Houston Chronicle.
In addition to her writing and broadcast commentary, Chavez has held a number of political positions, including White House Director of Public Liaison in 1985 and Staff Director of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights from 1983 through 1985.
She won the Republican nomination for U.S. Senator from Maryland in 1986, but lost in the general election. The following year, she began a two-year term as President of U.S. English, a public interest group dealing with language policy in the United States. Also, Chavez was the editor of the prize-winning quarterly journal of the American Federation of Teachers, American Educator, from 1977 through 1983.
A native of Albuquerque, Chavez, the mother of three children, resides with her husband, Christopher Gersten, in Bethesda, Md.