Aileen Hernandez: A Pioneer for Women and Civil Rights
Born in Brooklyn, New York to Jamaican parents, Aileen Clarke Hernandez experienced the insults and injuries of racism and sexism early in life -- and dedicated herself to combatting those forces. Graduate school and an internship with the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union drew her to California. An early and passionate advocate for women's rights, Hernandez was appointed by President Lyndon Johnson as the only woman to serve on the newly established U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. She went on to found and eventually become president of the National Organization for Women. Now in her 80s, she chairs the California Women's Agenda, a state alliance of over 600 organizations, and is the founder and coordinator of the San Francisco Bay Area-based Black Women Stirring the Waters discussion group.
Hernandez was recently featured in MAKERS, a sweeping PBS documentary that showcases the stories of some of America's most influential women.