Jovita Idar Quarter: Celebrando Su Moneda en San Antonio

By Robyn Showanes
September 19, 2023

U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro and U.S. Mint Deputy Director Kristie McNally stand on either side of a Jovita Idar Quarter poster.
U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro of San Antonio with U.S. Mint Deputy Director Kristie McNally.

The U.S. Mint celebrated the Jovita Idar Quarter during two events in San Antonio, Texas. The first was on September 14 in partnership with the National Women’s History Museum, and the second on September 16 in partnership with the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum and the Mexican American Civil Rights Institute. The Jovita Idar Quarter is the fourth release in 2023, and the ninth coin overall in the American Women Quarters™ (AWQ) Program.

The first event took place at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) and included two corresponding programs — a roundtable discussion on the historical significance of Jovita Idar and a quarter release celebration featuring keynote speaker Maria Hinojosa, an Emmy- and Pultizer Prize-winning journalist. Attendees included several members of the Idar family, UTSA students and staff, and the public.

The roundtable discussion, moderated by UTSA Vice President of University Relations Teresa Niño, featured six panelists: Gabriela González, Ph.D., Associate Professor of History at UTSA; Rev. Dr. Elizabeth A. Lopez, Idar family member; Martha L. Aki, Idar family member; Kristie McNally, Deputy Director of the United States Mint; Jennifer Herrera, Vice President of External Affairs at the National Women’s History Museum; and Bishop Joel N. Martinez.

When asked about the U.S. Mint’s understanding of the impact that Jovita Idar’s story has on the public, Deputy Director McNally responded:

“There’ve been about 34.6 million (as of September 11) coins that have gone out with Jovita Idar’s face on them. That means that there [are] probably 34.6 million people that are learning about Jovita Idar each day, and for us to have the ability to share her story and her legacy with everyone is amazing.”

Following the roundtable discussion, the quarter release celebration began with a riveting performance by the UTSA Mariachi Ensemble.

Speaking to the crowd of more than 300, Deputy Director McNally said:

“Who better to honor on the eve of Hispanic Heritage Month than the woman who advocated for the preservation of Hispanic heritage through education and social services… It is our distinct pleasure to connect Americans to Jovita Idar.”

Maria Hinojosa gave a moving and powerful speech about Jovita Idar’s impact on her life. When talking about her reaction to being asked to speak at the evening’s event, Hinojosa remembered expressing her emotions:

“Wait…there is going to be a Jovita Idar quarter? Wait, and I’m actually going to San Antonio? This is incredible!”

U.S. Mint Deputy Director Kristie McNally stands next to four people holding Mexican-tiled cups.
Deputy Director McNally with participants of the Jovita Idar Quarter ceremonial coin pour.

The event concluded with a coin pour, a ceremonial way of introducing the coin to the public. Kristie McNally, Jennifer Herrera, Maria Jinojosa, Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Lopez, and UTSA President Taylor Eighmy emptied 2,000 Jovita Idar quarters into a beautiful Mexican-tiled display container that was surrounded by flowers.

The second event was a symposium held at the San Antonio Public Library. Approximately 100 guests attended the gathering where they heard from multiple speakers about the life and legacy of Jovita Idar.

Congressman Joaquin Castro provided opening remarks and welcomed attendees to the event.

“What a wonderful birthday present for my forty-ninth birthday than to have a strong Latina minted on the United States quarter,” he said.

In addition, United States Mint Medallic Artist John McGraw, who designed and sculpted the Jovita Idar Quarter, signed coin boards for symposium attendees.

Jovita Idar was a Mexican-American journalist, activist, teacher, and suffragist. Idar’s ideas and practices were ahead of her time. She devoted her life to fighting against separatist ideologies and sought to create a better future for Mexican Americans. She encouraged women’s involvement in public policy and worked for quality education for Mexican American children. She made it her mission to pursue civil rights for Mexican Americans and believed education was the foundation for a better future.

Watch for the Jovita Idar Quarter in your change or buy AWQ products in our online catalog.

U.S. Mint Medallic Artist John McGraw talks to a woman
U.S. Mint Medallic Artist John McGraw signs coin boards for attendees.

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