Iris “Tejaztlana” Rodriguez es una xicana yaocihuatl que viene de los barrios de San Antonio/San Quilmas, Tejaztlan. Since 2001 she has been a part of the new xican@ movement in Tejas, with her efforts focusing on environmental justice, social justice and xican@ communications.
In 2002, she co-founded an environmental justice group, the Mission Texas Coalition, a community based movement which organized around the contamination of Mission, Texas and the serious health issues affecting the community since the 1950s. She worked intimately with the community to record and document their personal experiences with health, life and death as well as monitor efforts by the state and federal government that attempted to silence the issue or superficially ‘clean up’ the area known as the “cancer alley of Texas” …while simultaneously and continuously failing to address the health needs of the affected community. In 2002, she created and launched an extensive website which broke the silence around the issue and pressured the Environmental Protection Agency, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the landmark class-action lawsuit (3,000+ plaintiffs) of the people versus the 30+ contaminating corporations (Dow, Shell, Monsanto, etc.) to take action on behalf of the affected community. She has also served as a university lecturer around the issues of contamination, health and communities of color, particularly in Texas and the Rio Grande Valley.
As part of the historic La Raza Unida Party she co-founded La Nueva Raza News in 2004, a multimedia news portal by and for the xican@ movimientos across Tejas and Aztlan. La Nueva Raza was an effort that partially spurred from the Mission case and was founded and created due to the reality that community voices have historically not been heard or legitimized by corporate and mainstream media. It was also established to further solidify ties between communities across Tejaztlan and beyond who were experiencing very similar issues. She has been an integral part of the movement to tie guerrilla journalism with the online social justice movement.
Iris continues to serve the comunidad as Editor and Web Jefa of LNR and focus on the broader issues affecting and connecting barrios across Tejaztlan and the US. She serves on the Board of Directors for T.e.j.a.s. Barrios (Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services). She is also a xicana poet.