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Comisión Femenil San Fernando Valley | Special Collections & Archives

Name: Comisión Femenil San Fernando Valley

Historical Note:

In the early 1970s, one of the leading national Chicana activist organizations, Comisión Femenil Mexicana Nacional (CFMN), was created in Southern California. The focus of CFMN was to raise awareness of political and social issues that affected Latina women on a national level. CFMN felt that the role and well-being of Latinas were being left out of discussions taking place from the wider context of the Chicano movement. By 1985, CFMN had organized twenty-four chapters across the country and Comisión Femenil San Fernando Valley (CFSFV) became one of the first chapters to join the national organization.

CFSFV has its roots in an organization named Mujeres de la Raza that was started by a group of Latina staff and faculty at California State University, Northridge in the early 1970s. This founding group of women began to recruit other Latina professionals from the community who were also interested in promoting the success of young Latinas. In 1991, Mujeres de la Raza formally changed its name to Comisión Femenil San Fernando Valley. Although the national organization has been inactive for several years, CFSFV continues to operate.

CFSFV is a non-profit, community service organization that serves the Latina community by providing educational, professional, and personal development opportunities through activities, programs, and its membership. The focus of CFSFV has been to reach out and empower young Latina women in the San Fernando Valley. This has been done through sponsoring various events and programs. Some of their events are held annually and target Latina students from San Fernando Valley high schools. One of their primary events is the annual Adelante Mujer Latina Conference that is attended by 300 to 400 hundred of these students. Similar conferences have been sponsored by other chapters in their respective communities. The First Adelante Mujer Hispana Conference that was held at CSUN took place on April 28, 1990 and was sponsored by CFMN. The following year, CFSFV sponsored the Second Adelante Mujer Hispana Conference at CSUN and has held the event almost every year since. The conferences have been regularly held at CSUN except in 1992 and 1995 when it was held at Los Angeles Valley Community College. The full-day conferences offer a variety of workshops that are conducted by women who represent fields such as medicine, law, media, education, business, political science, and engineering. In 1996, CFSFV changed the conference name from Adelante Mujer Hispana to Adelante Mujer Latina.

Another annual program that CFSFV has conducted is their student scholarship competition. CFSFV held its first scholarship competition in 1992, which recognized eight female students from different San Fernando Valley high schools and gave out a total of $650.00 to the winners. Since then, the scholarship competition has grown in the number of applicants and in the amount of the awards given out.

CFSFV also sponsors the Viva la Mujer! event, an annual gala in which Latinas are recognized for having distinguished themselves in their profession and have made significant contributions to their community. Among some of the noted women to receive this honor include Dr. Gloria Romero, the first Latina elected for the L.A. Community College District Board of Trustees, Teresa Sanchez-Gordon, a California Superior Court Judge for Los Angeles County, Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers, Laura Diaz, television news anchor, and Diane Medina, Director of Diversity Programs at Walt Disney and named one of 100 most influential Latinos in 1999 by Hispanic Business Magazine.

Many of the events and programs that CFSFV has conducted have been supported by donations and grants from entities such as the Los Angeles Unified School District (L.A.U.S.D.), California State Department of Education, Career Equity Services Office, Pacific Bell, Kaiser Permanente, City Councilpersons Richard Alarcon and Alex Padilla, Congressman Howard Berman and many more. CFSFV also raises funds through their annual membership dues and other fundraising events such as their Annual Gala.

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