The Monterey Park Bruggemeyer Library will host a documentary viewing of Finding Cleveland directed by Larissa Lam on Sunday March 24th in the Friends Room in celebration of Women’s History Month.
The library scheduled two events in March, each shedding new light on womens’ work in society. The first of the two events is a showing of Finding Cleveland, a documentary speaking about an otherwise obscure yet integral Chinese population in Cleveland, Ohio. Married couple Larissa Lam and Baldwin Chiu set off with their family to rediscover Chiu’s ancestry in his father – someone that Chiu had never encountered in living memory.
Despite Lam’s massive success in Finding Cleveland, she was originally a music producer. In a previous interview with Selig Polyscope at the 2016 Asian Film Festival in Dallas, Lam says, “Baldwin and I just felt like we need to let people know this message and hopefully inspire others to tell their stories because ours is just one.” They were also recently featured on the Alhambra Source’s podcast on February 21, 2019.
The second event on March 31st will focus on Laura Scudder, a food industry pioneer who made and sold potato chips in Monterey Park. She pioneered the tactic of using selling ships in plastic bags to guarantee freshness, a standard practice today. Her life story will be presented by people who have been recognized for local community service.
Women’s History Month was nationally formalized in March 1987 by Congress after it gradually gained traction with women’s rights activists. Notably, President Jim Carter declared the week of March 8th, 1980 as National Women’s History Week. Even before Congress formalized it, 14 states had already declared March as National Women’s History Month in 1986.
Junior Brianna Avila believes that Women’s History Month honors women who risked big and small to make changes to society. She is the Vice President of the Aztec Singers and a strong believer in saying thank you for the women who bring awareness to social ills to the forefront.
“I admire Rowan Blanchard because, even though she is young, she uses her social media platform to inspire other girls and people stand up for equality,” says Avila. “She is a proud feminist.”
Even as women’s rights have made considerable progress since the seemingly distant 20th century, it is still a vigorous movement. Activists have renewed calls for the Equal Rights Amendment, such as in Arizona. Currently, Arizona has rejected the push to ratify the ERA on the reasoning that the 14th Amendment giving equal protection under the law already prevents discrimination. As the 2020 presidential race heats up, the Equal Rights Amendment may develop into a pivotal issue. Even with the focus on women’s rights now, Women’s History Month serves as an energetic reminder that though women suffered from an unequal standing, they have made important contributions to society.