I started documenting the struggle for women’s rights in 1969. I was twenty-one, a Fine Arts photography major at San Francisco State University, and an activist in the emerging fight for gender equality.
I was raised by a bright light of a woman who taught me that I could be anything I wanted. My mother demonstrated what was possible by starting graduate school at 40 and earning a doctorate. So I was primed to be a feminist. But it wasn’t until the fall of 1969, when I enrolled in an experimental class on women’s rights at San Francisco State University, that I began to understand how pervasive gender bias and sexism were. Like many other young women, I'd found my purpose. I would be part of a sweeping non-violent feminist revolution that would change the world.
That fall, I took the lead in helping organize a day-long symposium on sexism at SF State, quite possibly the first such program at a college. Also in 1969, a few of us started a feminist student group, Independent Campus Women. We wrote fliers and newsletters. We gave talks about sexism at schools and community centers. For the next three years, photography and the fight for gender equality were at the center of my life.
After graduation, when I had to focus on earning a living, I boxed up all my work and feminist ephemera. In the decades that followed I lugged those cartons with me wherever I went. These images are survivors. They were in the last boxes waiting to be carried in from my car when I moved into a new house. Two days later, they were still in the backseat when the house burned down.
I’d planned on resurrecting these photographs, publishing or exhibiting them as soon as I had the time. But I never did. Life. Career. Covid. Something always got in the way. Until now.