Renee Simon interviewed by Scherly Virgil, June 1, 2016, Long Beach, California, Oral History #5852, transcript, Women Politics, and Activism Since Suffrage, Center for Oral and Public History, California State University, Fullerton.
An oral history of Renee Simon, former Long Beach City Councilwoman. The interview was conducted for the Women, Politics, and Activism Since Suffrage Oral History Project headed by California State University, Fullerton, and the Center for Oral and Public History. The purpose of this interview was to gather information regarding Simon’s time in elected office and working in the community. Specifically, this interview details Simon’s upbringing growing up in a neighborhood in New York, where many first-generation families lived; she recalls experiencing anti-Semitism as a child, when World War II started; she explains that, although she became a chemist, her passion was to become a writer; she discusses her experiences on gender discrimination in the 1960s and how difficult it was for professional women to find work; describes her relationship with Los Angeles City Councilwoman Pat Russell and her influence; discusses her involvement with the National Women’s Political Caucus and the League of Women Voters; explains that the League introduced her to local government; describes running for Long Beach City Council and the challenges she faced navigating through a male dominated council; describes how difficult it was for her (as a woman) to introduce any ideas to the board, but how she strategized to make things happen; how she advocated to change the rules against girls participating in summer programs; describes other women’s issues she helped change while in office; discusses the creation of CEWAER [California Elected Women’s Association for Education and Research]; talks about the creation of El Dorado Park, in Long Beach, as one of the projects she is most proud of; explains her views on feminism and women’s rights; and finally, gives candid advice to young women who want to get involved in politics.
Renee Simon with interviewer, Scherly Virgill, 2016.
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