September 07, 2005

More than 100 Latinas are being featured in a new Sacramento museum exhibit, celebrating their success, achievements and telling their story of significant contributions to California’s history. A steering committee of Hispanic leaders identified, researched and collected artifacts, photographs, and other items that can be seen on display.

A cross section of the states Hispanic leaders came together to form the Latinas: The Spirit of California steering committee which includes: Maria Contreras-Sweet (chairwoman), Susana Bautista, Elmy Bermejo, Carolyn Brucken, Stephen Chavez, Alycia Enciso, Giselle Acevedo-Franco, Yolanda Gipson, Alicia Gonzalez, Maria Gutierrez, Stella Hopkins, Norma Orcí, Oscar Ortega, Barbosa Polverini, Maricela Rodriguez, Rodri J. Rodriguez, Sara Rubalcava-Beck, Citlali Sosa-Riddell, Connie Spenuzza and Helen Torres. Esteemed members of the California Legislative Caucus serve as the Honorary Co-Chairs.

Latinas: The Spirit of California runs from September 29 through June 2006 and is part of the California’s Remarkable Women exhibit presented by The California Museum for History, Women and the Arts.

“Latinas have had a huge impact on California’s history,” said Maria Contreras-Sweet, Chairwoman of the steering committee. “They have been foundational in the development of the California culture. From cuisine to clothing, from family to fiestas, from labor to laboratories -- these extraordinary women from every walk of life have strengthened, shaped and served our great state. The Latinas: The Spirit of California exhibit honors their significant roles and achievements, drawing its inspiration from past and present achievements of California Latinas and ensures that the historical contributions of Latinas to California’s history are not forgotten.”

Against a backdrop of nineteenth-century artifacts, the exhibit’s historical centerpiece illustrates lifestyles typical of early California. The exhibit then follows the story through the activism of the 1930s-1940s, showcasing the role Latinas played in shaping California’s history and influencing the nation. The second part of the exhibit is devoted to contemporary Latinas. The exhibit presents thematic groupings of art and culture, entrepreneurs, science and health, music, sports, politics and education. The section is rich with photographs, archival documents, original art, and artifacts that illustrate the contributions and achievements of the many Latinas showcased in the exhibit.

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