Born in Albuquerque, N.M., La Riva attended Brandeis University, where she was active in affirmative action struggles. She led a union-organizing drive in 1979 in Rochester, N.Y., and is today president of the Typographical Sector, Media Workers Union, Local 39521, CWA.
In 1986, La Riva helped organize the nationwide “Free Nelson Mandela & Leonard Peltier” tour. She actively backs the campaign to free Mumia Abu-Jamal. La Riva supported the Black Firefighters Association in their fight to desegregate the San Francisco Fire Department in the 1980s.
She was a leader in the movement against the Gulf War in 1990-91, including the 200,000-strong San Francisco march on Jan. 19, 1991. That year, La Riva initiated the Farmworkers Emergency Relief, aiding Latino farmworkers who lost their jobs in the citrus freeze.
La Riva campaigned against the U.S. blockade that killed more than one million Iraqis. La Riva’s video “Genocide by Sanctions” won second prize for documentaries in the 1998 San Luís Obispo Film Festival. She traveled to Yugoslavia during the 1999 U.S. bombing, producing the video, “NATO Targets.”
In 1994 and 1998, La Riva was the Peace & Freedom Party candidate for governor of California, and an independent candidate for U.S. vice president from 1984 to 2000.
La Riva is a volunteer organizer for the anti-war coalition ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) in the Bay Area. She has been active in the struggle for immigrant rights for three decades, speaking at mass marches in California.
La Riva is coordinator of the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five. She has traveled frequently to Cuba, written extensively on the revolution, and spoke at the million-person May Day rallies in Havana in 2000 and 2002. She has also traveled to Venezuela.
In September 2005, immediately after Hurricane Katrina, La Riva led a delegation to New Orleans, showing the survivors’ heroism in the video “Heroes Not Looters.”
La Riva is a member of the National Committee of the Party for Socialism and Liberation.Articles by Gloria La Riva: