Lowenthal, Suja

Former councilmember on Long Beach City Council; Long Beach School Board





Field Value
ID 175
Title An oral history with Suja Lowenthal
Date 2017-06-15
OH ID OH 5979
Citation Suja Lowenthal interviewed by Jared Otto, June 15, 2017, Santa Monica, California, Oral History #5979, transcript, Women Politics, and Activism Since Suffrage, Center for Oral and Public History, California State University, Fullerton.
Restricted false
Created At 2019-08-05 23:22:51 UTC
Location Santa Monica, CA
Language English
Subjects Family → Childhood Experiences
Family → Parents
Education → Early Childhood Education
Family → Parenting → Working Mom
Education → English as a Second Language (ESL) → Language Barriers
Citizenship → Immigration → Assimilation
Discrimination, Racism, & Segregation
Discrimination, Racism, & Segregation → at School
Citizenship → Immigration
Family → Family Histories and Traditions
Family → Parents → activist parents
Family → Values
Family → Role Models
Education → Higher Education
Women in the Workplace → Higher Education
Colleges → University of California Los Angeles (UCLA)
Family → Marriage
Elections → Local Elections
Elections → Negative Campaigning
Public Safety
Democratic Party
Family → Children
Women in Politics
Leadership → Female versus Male Leadership
Ideology → Feminism
People → Clinton, Hillary
Elections → Presidential Elections → Election 2016 (Trump/Clinton)
Activism → Advice on getting involved
Locations → Long Beach, California
Family → Childhood Experiences → children of immigrants or refugees
Family → Domestic Violence
Public Safety → Transportation
Environmentalism → Water
Environmentalism → Department of Water and Power (DWP)
City Council → Long Beach City Council
Elected Officials → Board of Education
Entertainment and Culture → Indian Culture and Identity (Southeast Asia)


An oral history with Suja Lowenthal, former member of the Long Beach School Board and the Long Beach City Council. The interview was conducted for the Women, Politics, and Activism Since Suffrage Oral History Project and the Center for Oral and Public History at California State University, Fullerton. The purpose of this interview was to gather information regarding Lowenthal’s career in community activism and politics. Specifically, this interview discusses Lowenthal’s childhood as the daughter of Indian immigrants; challenges of migrating to America and adjusting to culture and school; compares Indian and American early educational systems; catching up academically with the help of a third-grade teacher; attending a diverse school yet becoming very aware of her own ethic identity; speaks about her parents’ professional assimilation in America; her father’s church and social service involvement; recalls how politics were not heavily discussed in her family, but more so the importance of hard work and ethic morals; how politics in India did not focus on differences as much as politics in America; family values of education and community service; how her mother overcame great adversity to become a nurse; how her mother’s strength was instilled in her; mentions role models; the influence and role of church in her life; attending UCLA and majoring in Economics; entering the work field for the City of Los Angeles, including Department of Water and Power, and Department of Aging; earning her MBA at Cal State LA; details her work for the Los Angeles city attorney’s office focusing on domestic violence; discusses the challenges and lessons learned working in domestic violence; entering doctoral program at USC; campaign and subsequent victory for Long Beach School Board; decision to run for Long Beach City Council (Second District); recalls important advice from her father-in-law (Congressman Alan Lowenthal); challenges and critiques of running for public office; discusses her achievements while serving the Second District, including parking, plastic bag ban, land use, and development; recalls an effort to run for state assembly, but ultimately withdrawing from the race; discusses current position working for the Big Blue Bus of Santa Monica; reflects on unique contributions made by women in politics; differences in men and women’s leadership; thoughts on feminism; reflects on the impact of Hillary Clinton’s presidential run; and finally; shares advice for young women wanting to get involved in politics.


Field Value
File Name 5979_P01.jpg
Content Type image/jpeg
Size 19713
Description> Suja Lowenthal, taken while serving on Long Beach City Council (2006-2016).