Social Activism

Photo: Portrait of Trina Padilla de Sanz

Portrait of Trina Padilla, undated.

Padilla de Sanz was a crusader for justice; she spoke for the groups often marginalized in society and implored her readers to recognize the inequalities taking place around them. She transformed her ordinary pen into a effective weapon for change, writing about various issues and identifying the problems in order to encourage progress. She was compassionate and believed that all livings things had inherent value, which stemmed from her adherence to the Catholic faith. The following works by La Hija demonstrate the various social causes she championed throughout her life.   

Poem: "La Injusticia Social"

Poem by La Hija featured alongside an article published in El Día, October 25, 1952.

"La Injusticia Social

"...nadie les ha dado su mano protectora...¡Oh no! que se castigue la INJUSTICA SOCIAL..."


" one has lent them a protecting hand...Oh no! let SOCIAL INJUSTICE be punished..."

This poem illustrates La Hija’s compassion and concern for children, specifically children from disadvantaged backgrounds. She used this poem to compare how wealth inequality can lead to an endless cycle of poverty. She pointed out how children from richer families had the privilege of going to school and studying so that they can later go on to have successful careers, while children from poorer families were forced to forgo education to help support their families, making it more difficult to advance later in life. The quote above perfectly reflects Padilla’s belief that society had abandoned these innocent children by failing to provide adequate support and that it was time to alleviate their suffering by 'punishing' the factors that created this social injustice. 

Speech: "Conferencia dada en la Cárcel de Arecibo"

Excerpt from a speech given by La Hija at a prison in Arecibo, May 25, 1934.

"Conferencia dada en la Cárcel de Arecibo"

“Y no vengo a recriminarles, no, vengo a endulzar esos dolores con la miel de mi palabra, con el consejo de la persuasión, con el deber que tenemos todos unos con otros, hermanos en la santa doctrina de Jesús…”


“And I haven’t come to reproach you, no, I have come to sweeten those pains with the honey of my words, with persuasive advice, with the duty that we all have with one another, brothers in the holy doctrine of Jesus…”


This document is an excerpt taken from a speech given by La Hija in the prison in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. Padilla's speech was filled with understanding, empathy, and an honest desire to help this ostracized group rehabilitate and reenter society. Padilla used the Catholic faith to reach out to the group, emphasizing the importance that faith plays in guiding believers back to the right path. By counseling the inmates, rather than further castigating them, La Hija demonstrated her commitment to reforming society through compassion and understanding.   

Article: "No Matarás"

Excerpt from an article written by La Hija in El Imparcial, undated.

"No Matarás"

“Qué se obtiene como ventaja al privar de la vida a un semejante?...Se regenera la sociedad con ella?...NO! La víctima queda sepultada tierra y el crimen sigue floreciendo igual que si no existiera la pena de muerte”


“What do we gain as an advantage by depriving the life of a fellow man?...Does it reform society?  NO! The victim remains buried…in the earth and crime continues to flourish the same as if the death penalty didn’t exist”

In this article, La Hija strongly voiced her opinion against the death penalty as the ultimate form of punishment for criminals. She argued that taking someone's life does not avenge the crime committed, nor does it prevent future crimes from happening. As a devout Catholic, La Hija firmly believed in the sanctity of all life and actively fought to defend this principle. This article supports La Hija's belief in rehabilitation for society's criminals, reflecting her compassion and willingless to help all living things. 

Article: "Los viejos"

Newspaper article written by La Hija, 1934.

 "Los Viejos"


“Personalmente, el que cree hacerme una ofensa con llamarme vieja, se equivoca. Una vida tan honda, tan profundamente dedicada a lo grande, alto y noble, no puede ofenderse quien la posee porque la llamen vieja”


"Personally, he who believes to offend by calling me old, is mistaken. A life so profound, so dedicated to the great, the high and the noble, nobody who possesses this can be offended by being called old."


Padilla de Sanz fervently defended the elderly, noting that there was a prevalent attitude of disdain towards this segment of society. Rather than apologize for her advanced age, La Hija touted it, wearing it proudly as a badge of a long life enjoyed and filled with worthile endeavors. Writing this article on the cusp of her seventies, La Hija was a prime example of the achievements possible in old age. Her writing career would continue without pause for the next two decades.