Shoulders To Stand On

From June 3 – July 31 the Women’s Museum of California will proudly host an exhibition on San Diego’s rich Chicana culture and history.

iwy-report-1_page_11.jpgThis unique, enchanting exhibit tells the stories of Chicana activists who organized, educated and inspired a cultural movement during the 1970s. The show will present art, music, and literature across many generations that connect today’s young Latinas to the struggles and achievements of Chicanas who paved their way decades before.

Familiar to many San Diegans, the artifacts, stories and illustrations in the gallery will be appreciated by all who share the region’s cultural richness and diversity.

Curator Letitia Gomez Franco, former gallery and exhibit director at The Front Casa Familiar’s Art Center in San Ysidro, has fashioned an inspirational, historical narrative, guided by three guardians of the local Chicana scene: Sonia Lopez, Rita Sanchez, and Maria Garcia.

Leticia Gomez Franco is an independent curator and arts consultant. The daughter of Mexican born parents who immigrated to California from their native town, Tepatitlán, Jalisco in the early 1970’s, Gomez Franco is deeply committed to cultivating safe spaces for cultural and artistic production and promoting access to the arts for all communities.

Sonia Lopez has worked to preserve and share Chicana history and culture in San Diego for over forty years. She helped establish the Centro de Estudios Chicanos at San Diego State University in the 1970s and continues to record and preserve the experiences of activist Chicanas in San Diego, including a campaign to gather the oral histories of San Diego Latinas active during the Civil Rights Movement.

Rita Sanchez has worked for Chicana empowerment since the 1960s when she taught Stanford University’s first Chicana course while being a graduate student and produced a journal of Chicanas’ writings that same year. Sanchez taught at San Diego State University and San Diego Mesa College where she was a strong advocate for the inclusion of race, class and gender in the liberal arts curriculum.  While at SDSU, she pioneered the first Chicana journal – Visiones de la Mujer. Her 1973 article, “Chicana Writer: Breaking Out of Silence,” encouraged writing as a means to challenge the accepted knowledge base of male-centered experiences.

Educator, activist and historian Maria Garcia has documented the lives of San Diegans in the predominately Mexican American, working-class community of Logan Heights. The collected stories provide a richly detailed glimpse into the lives of ordinary people and formed the basis of her weekly column, “The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights,” launched on Cinco de Mayo in 2014.

For more information visit the exhibit page on the museum website or follow us on social media.


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