Simon, Renee

Former Long Beach City Councilwoman





An oral history of Renee Simon, former Long Beach City Councilwoman. The interview was conducted for the Women, Politics, and Activism Since Suffrage Oral History Project for California State University, Fullerton’s Center for Oral and Public History. The purpose of this interview was to gather information regarding her time spent in office as well as her time spent working in the community. Specifically, this interview details Simon’s upbringing growing up in a neighborhood in New York where many first-generation families lived; she recalls experiencing anti-Semitism as a child when World War II started; she explains that although she became a chemist her passion was to become a writer; she discusses her experiences on gender discrimination in the 1960s and how difficult was for professional women to find work; she described her relationship with Pat Russel and Pat’s influence on her; she discussed her involvement with the National Women’s Political Caucus and the League of Women Voters; she explains that the League introduced her to local government; she described how she ran for city council and the challenges she faced navigating through a male dominating council board; she describes how difficult was for her (woman) to introduce any ideas to the board and how she strategized to “make things happen”; she discusses how she advocated to change the rules against girls participating in summer programs; she describes other women issues she helped changed while in office; she discusses the creation of CEWER (California Elected Women for Education and Research); she talks about the creation of El Dorado Park in Long Beach as one of the projects she’s most proud of; she explains her views on feminism and women’s rights; she gives a candid advice to young women who want to get involve in politics.


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Description> Renee Simon with interviewer, Scherly Virgill, 2016.