Bettye Naomi Goldstein was born on February 4, 1921 in Peoria, Illinois. A graduate of Smith College, Betty Friedan co-founded the National Organization in 1966 for Women, becoming one of the early leaders of the women's rights movement. Friedan was fed up with the gender roles of 1960 that offered a limited amount of jobs and things to do for suburban housewives. After conducting a survey on her college classmates at a 15 year reunion event she realized other women were fed up with this too and began her research for her book ‘The Feminine Mystique’ published in 1963. This book changed the way the public looked at the women's movement. It raised awareness in many women that helped them to realize this issue they all had to navigate through was a universal one and not a battle that needed to be faced alone. in 1969 Friedan helped founding the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws in 1969. She also went on to organize the 50th anniversary of women’s suffrage, in August 1970 iwth hopes of raising awareness about gender discrimination. In 1971 Friedan was able to change outdated laws such as unfair hiring practices, gender pay inequality, and pregnancy discrimination with the organization National Women’s Political Caucus, where she was one of the founding members.
Janet Mcloud, also known as Yet Si Blue “the woman who talks” was a monumental Native American activist in the 1960s and 70’s. Born into poverty on the Tulalip reservation Janet Mcloud lived most of her early life panhandling on the streets. She had her first marriage at a young age then went on to have 8 kids in her second one. Mclound and many others came together and formed the Survival of American Indian, which was put together to stop the assault of American Indian culture. In her position she wrote articles and important papers using treated language from donated legal books. She participated in “fish ins” while fighting to instil the NAtive American right to hunt and fish which was granted by the 1854 Treaty of Medicine Creek.
She was known to many to be fearless. She protested and got arrested when she refused to eat for six days during this protest which led to the upholding of the treaty. This was the first step in the fight for Native American culture. Mcloud went on to help found the Indigenous Women’s Network, the Survival of American Indians Association and the Northwest Indian Women’s Circle. In 1965 she developed a cultural rehabilitation program at McNeil Island State Prison, which went on to become the Brotherhood of American Indians throughout the U.S. In 1985 she organized the Indigenous Women’s Network, which was created as a support system for Native and Pacific Islander women to help native children have a better life. Mcloud became very intouch with her spiritual root during her activism, when she got her home she turned her land into the ‘Sapa Dawn Center,’ which has the intentions of teaching American Indian youth about their culture and history. Janet Mcloud’s Activism help spread awareness about cultural roots and the rights of Natives to the public while also enforcing this historical learning on Natives around her to ensure generations to come had a better life.
In the wake of the Chicano Movement which began as Mexican Americans fought for their civil rights during the 1950’s and 60’s, Mexican American Women felt a lack of representation. The movements leader were mainly men which left little room for the issues of women to come up and be brought to justice. To correct this imbalance of power the organization Comisón Femenil Mexicana Nacional was created. In 1970, led by fmeninst activist women attended the National Chicana Issue Conference led by Francisca Flores. Francisca Flores was classified as a ‘Group A’ individual by the FBI, which labeled her as “individuals believed to be the most dangerous and who in all probability should be interned in the event of war.” Flores organized a strike the day she was released from the hospital in protest of meager salaries, advocating for pay to be raised. This was just the beginning of her activism, once she moved to LA she became involved in the fight for Mexican American causes. She was apart of the committee of activist that were fighting for the release of 12 Mexican young men falsy inporisoned for the murder of José Gallardo Díaz. She went about interviewing and collecting information within communities and writing articles which lead to the release of these boys in 1944. Flores was one of the only women to confound the Mexican American Political Association and later went on to found the Chicana Service Action center in LA. In this center she provided job training and opportunities to underprivileged Chicanas. She also went on to found the Comisión Feminil Mexicana, with the intent of educating and providing the necessary tools for Chicanas of the next generation to become leaders and promote community programs for other Chicanas in the community. Flores also created Hermanas de la Revolución, a group that served as a safe space where women could talk about politics and activism. Francissa Flores made a lot of changes to the movement for Mexican American women and created platforms for them to come together and address the issue they felt within their community.
Yuri Kochiyama was born as the child of two Japanese American parents. Her early childhood was abruptly changed after Pearl harbor and World War II. During her early years her father was arrested after surgery because he was a ‘national security threat.’ During this time her family was moved to a Japanese incarceration cite in Arkansa. She spent most of her early life in the incarceration site, journaling and encouraging others to write letters to Japanese American soldiers. When Kochiyama moved to Harlem in 1960 she was exposed to the struggles of Black and Puerto Rican communities with freedom which sparked her activism. her apartment became a place of meeting for many different activists, it was a place of idea building and constant work towards the movements she was a part of. Yuri Kochiyama was impacted heavily by Malcolm X during her activism. He aided her in ideas on way to go about addressing issues and awakened her sense of self when she looked at her views on power and racism. She began to look at the freedom struggles of Black people in link to the experience of African and Asian people around the world. She participated in the New York City schools boycott to protest segregation in schools. During the 60s and 70s Yuri Kochiyama advocated for Puerto Rican self-determination. Kochiyama participated in the takeover of the Statue of Liberty by Puerto Rican Nationalist where protesters climbed to the top and hung the Puerto Rican Flag. She was an advocate for the release of Black political prisoners who were accused of killing a police officer. Yuri Kochyama was an important figure in many movements, she is noted to be credited for all her behind the scenes work in the movements.
Audre Lorde is a successful self described ‘Black, lesbian, feminist, mother, poet, and warrior.’ Born to Caribbean immigrants in New York, Audre Lorde was the first Black student at Hunter High school, a public school for gifted girls. Audre Lorde went on to become a critic of second wave feminism and wrote that gendered oppression was not inseparable from other oppressive systems. (Aviles) She was a renowned activist that wasn’t afraid to shed light on difficult issues and worked to understand the complexities. After being told her work was too inappropriate growing up, Audre Lorder centered her work around being the voice for those who were taught to be afraid rather than speak of for themselves. During the 1970’s Lorde produced some of her most notable pieces “Coal”(1976(, “The Black Unicorn”(1978), and some of her other most notable ones “The Cancer Journals”(1980) and “Zami: A New Spelling of My Name.”(1980). In 1962 Audre Lorde married a gay white man named, Edwin Rollins. They had two kids then divorced, two years later Lorde met her partner Frances Clayton and moved to Staten Island together. Audre Lorde was a English Professor at John Jay College and Hunter College. Lorde was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1978 and then liver cancer in 1984 which led to her death.
In the wake of the Feminists movement in India, Sheba Chhachhi’s artwork documented and gave a voice to the movement. Her sister was one of the founding members of the activist groups in Delhi that was protesting against dowery and rape. Sheba showed her views through film, photography, theatre, folk and new media. Through her artwork she was able to include different marginalized groups of women around India. Chhachhi used her platform to create visual aids for the movement.In 1980 Sheba Chhachhi co-founded ‘Lifetools” a research-oriented media and design committed to creating socially useful designs while working with urban and rural communities. In the mid 1980s she created one of her most notable pieces in honor of a mother who lost her daughter because of dowry conflicts. The image depicts a mother holding up a picture of her daughter standing strong while the wind blows through her hair. Chhachhi used black and white in her photos for contrats to add deeper meaning to her photos, which encouraged many women to join the movement. She used her art work as informative pieces that
Hadley Meares, et al. “Activist and Journalist Francisca Flores Is a Chicana Hero Every Angeleno Should Know.” Los Angeles Magazine, 26 Nov. 2018, https://www.lamag.com/citythinkblog/francisca-flores/.
Aviles, Gwen. “Pride #50: Audre Lorde - Activist and Author.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, 4 June 2019, https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/pride-50-audre-lorde-activist-author-n1007551.
Cloud, Redwing. “Janet McCloud: Mother, Grandmother and Activist, 1934 - 2003.” Indian Country Today, Indian Country Today, 5 Dec. 2003, https://indiancountrytoday.com/archive/janet-mccloud-mother-grandmother-and-activist-1934-2003.
“Janet McCloud, Tulalip Leader, Fish-Ins (1934 - 2003).” I Love Ancestry, I Love Ancestry, 17 Feb. 2020, https://iloveancestry.com/topics/ancestry/north-america/native-american-indian/janet-mccloud-tulalip-leader-fishing-rights-activist-fish-ins/.
Powers, Sophia. “Contextualising the Indian Women's Movement: Class, Representation and Collaboration – in Focus.” Tate, https://www.tate.org.uk/research/publications/in-focus/seven-lives-dream-sheba-chhachhi/contextualising-indian-womens-movement.
“Sheba Chhachhi.” Volte Art Projects, https://volte.art/artists/25-sheba-chhachhi/.
“Yuri Kochiyama (U.S. National Park Service).” National Parks Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, https://www.nps.gov/people/yuri-kochiyama.htm.