Esperanza Rubi Fonseca interviewed by Skye Gomez, July 25, 2016, Northridge, California, Oral History #5888, transcript, Women Politics, and Activism Since Suffrage, Center for Oral and Public History, California State University, Fullerton.
An oral history with Esperanza Rubi Fonseca, who is a labor and economic justice organizer that has worked with the Fight for 15 campaign, Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE), UNITE HERE! Local 11, Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement, and is currently building a trans worker center. The interview was conducted for the Women, Politics, and Activism Since Suffrage Oral History Project for California State University, Fullerton’s Center for Oral and Public History. The purpose of this interview was to gather information regarding her life and her pursuits for labor and economic justice organizer. Specifically, this interview covers her early childhood and growing up with a single-mom; she discusses her father’s imprisonment and the affects that had on her childhood; her Catholic upbringing; she goes into detail about her sexuality and gender identity as well as coming out to her family and friends; the values she learned from herself and her father; the significance of college and earning a Bachelor’s in Feminist Studies and Liberation Theology from Whittier College; she goes into detail about her experiences in college, and a significant incident which turned her into an organizer which resulted in the college developing a policy committee for trans students; her work with Clue and the Fight for 15 Campaign; she talks about how she got involved with Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement; briefly discusses her time with Black Girl Dangerous and an article she wrote for them regarding AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP); her friendship with Jennicet Gutiérrez and thoughts on Jennicet’s political activity; her thoughts on mental health and vulnerability; the differences between charity and abolition; she discusses her current project which is building a trans worker center in Los Angeles; she talks about her leadership style and the problematic nature of “branding”; her thoughts on organizing and spirituality; her experiences with discrimination and views on the sexualization of women in society; the differences between how men and women of color lead; she discusses burnout and how survival is what motivates her to keep organizing; the social and cultural factors preventing women of color and trans women of color from being organizers and activists; advice for a young person wanting to get involved in organizing; how she defines and views feminism; closing thoughts on current politics, transeconomic justice, and how femininity is devalued in our society. Bulk Dates: 1990-2010.
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