Visions of Justice, Voices of Change Women's activism in Southern California

For the Spring 2020 Public History Practicum Class project, CSU Fullerton History students dove into the archives of the Women in Politics and Activism Oral History Collection to study and showcase the legacies of activism and political work of women in Southern California. Their research reveals the dynamic efforts and steps women took to secure social justice and political change for their communities, the region, and the nation. Below are the links to the student projects. Together these stories offer inspiration and serve as a reminder of the hope and change that can come from one person's actions.

The Women in Politics and Activism Oral History Collection is housed at the CSUF's Center for Oral and Public History. The collection traces the experiences of women who have engaged in political efforts since the 1950s. It includes over 300 oral histories of women who have worked at local, state, and national levels in a vast range of issues that span the political spectrum.

To bring these stories to life, students used adobe spark to create publicly engaging websites that tell the story of women's activism and political engagement in Southern California. Students conducted primary research of archival material and curated a digital exhibition exploring themes and topics such as leadership styles, strategies for change, grass roots activism, and political campaigns - to name a few. Students had several digital history workshops and trainings with with Colleen Greene, CSU Fullerton Digital Literacy Librarian.

"The work that an activist does is not easy. It’s not easy at all...but, in the end, and especially when you see some results finally come to fruition, that, in itself, is the greatest reward... to see that you’ve been a part of a change for the better." Teresa Smith

Organized into smaller groups, Public History Practicum students used four key themes to frame the stories selected from the WPA Collection: Equity, Inclusion, Service, and Safety. Students also researched various timelines tracing women's activism since 1940 to offer a broader context of women's activism. Below are the links to group and individual projects.

Since the 1970s, women have shattered glass ceilings to transform the political climate of the United States by advocating for gender equity through legislation.

Visions of Equity

Miya Iwataki, Voices of Equity, Photograph from WPA Lawrence de Graaf Center for Oral and Public History
Women activists have continuously fought for traditionally marginalized groups by demanding dignity, justice, and a fully inclusive society.
Southern California women overcame prejudices while on the campaign trail and in political office in order to serve their communities and ignite meaningful social change.
Through Grassroots activism, Women in Southern California have advocated for police accountability and promoted safety in their communities and justice for families.

Visions of Safety

Spring 2020 Public History Practicum Class

  • Timeline: Jon Hall and Kenji Ogata
  • Equity: Maille Daley, Nicole Grecco, Kaina Bernal, Osvaldo Perez
  • Inclusion: Mia Monroy, Esmeralda Lomeli, Emma Nguyen, Daniel Lozano
  • Service: Ryan Padilla, Laura Medina, Salina Rodrigo, Joseph Zavala
  • Safety: Christi Terry, Brandon Bernal, Scott Coyne
  • Instructor: Margie Brown-Coronel, Assistant Professor of History
  • Thanks to CSUF Librarians: Colleen Greene (Digital Literacy), Patrisia Prestinary (Special Collections), and Megan Graewingholt (Government Documents)
  • Image Credits: Lawrence de Graaf Center for Oral and Public History, CSUF


Photographs from CSUF Center for Oral and Public History Public History Practicum Students by Group: Voices of Equity: Laura Medina, Ryan Padilla, Salina Rodriguez, Joseph Zavala Voices of Inclusion: Mia Monroy, Esmeralda Lomeli, Emma Nguyen, Daniel Lozano Voices of Safety: Christi Terri, Brandon Bernal, Scotty Coyne, Andres Munoz Ramirez Voices of Equity: Maille Daley, Kaina Bernal, Nicole Grecco, Ozvaldo Perez Timeline 1940s-1960s: Kenji Ogata Timeline 1970s-present: Jon Hall