Women’s History Month: Local Notable Women

In honor of Women’s History Month, the Fullerton Observer recognizes some notable local women, past and present.

Lorriane Jones: Fullerton’s first female police captain

Captain Lorraine Jones. Photo courtesy of the Fullerton Police Department.

Fullerton Police Captain Lorraine Jones was the first female captain and lieutenant in the Fullerton Police Department.

His career in the police was one of great distinction. She started as a cadet in 1984 and was sworn in as an officer in 1986. Jones has worked in patrol, crime scene investigations, detectives, accident investigations and recruiting.

In 2002, she was promoted to the rank of sergeant. She became a lieutenant in 2010 and a captain in 2012. Jones has received numerous accolades, including being recognized by the Sharon Quirk-Silva Assembly at the annual Celebrating Women in Leadership conference. In 2011, she was cited by Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez as a woman leader in Fullerton. Jones retired in 2014 after a 30-year career.

There are currently 16 sworn female police officers in the Fullerton Police Department out of a total of 118.

Lupe Ramirez: Organizer for Justice

Lupe Ramirez. Photo by Jesse LaTour.

We pay tribute to Lupe Ramirez, local organizer who fought to protect the elderly residents of Rancho La Paz Mobile Home Park. When the residents of his community faced exorbitant increases in subdivision fees from the park’s new owner, Lupe organized a landlords association and succeeded in passing a rent control law. A former labor organizer, Lupe worked tirelessly to save her neighbors from losing their homes. The Mojave Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution recognized Ms. Ramirez on March 12 for her achievement in helping tenants of the Rancho La Paz mobile home park in Fullerton and Anaheim.

Lorraine Rothman: A Remarkable Local Historical Woman

by Judith Kaluzny

Lorraine Rotman. Photo courtesy of Judith Kaluzny.

Lorraine Rothman was born Evelyn Lorraine Fleishman in San Francisco in 1932 to Orthodox Jewish parents who immigrated from the Ukraine in 1921. She moved to Fullerton in 1964 to a modest house on Balfour Avenue with her husband, Al (Alvin), a biologist who was a professor at California State University, Fullerton. When he died in 2007, obituaries were published in the New York Times, Time magazinethe Los Angeles Times and in feminist publications. She was known internationally for her research and writing on women’s gynecological health. She held a patent for a menstrual extraction system.

Lorraine’s evolution from a homemaker and mother of four began when she participated in an outreach group for teachers’ wives, and really grew when she asked herself, “What did women do before there are doctors? She became a pioneer of the self-help women’s movement when she met original self-help movement strategist Carol Downer at a meeting in Venice, California. The topic of this meeting was to learn self-examination of one’s own cervix with a clear plastic speculum.

The two women traveled the county to teach this method, which led to a federation of health centers. She originally attended Self-Help Clinic One in Los Angeles in 1971, later known as the Feminist Women’s Health Center (FWHC). The second FWHC was soon established in Santa Ana, California. One writer said, “Few realize today how these grassroots efforts shifted power and responsibility from the medical establishment into the hands of women as consumers, providers, and advocates of health care.”

Lorraine was co-author of the books, Menopause Myths and Facts: What Every Woman Should Know About Hormone Replacement Therapy with Marcia Wexler, Feminist Health Press 1999; A New Look at a Woman’s Body: A Fully Illustrated Guide by the Federation of Feminist Women’s Health Center in 1991. Carol Downer recently stated, “As a result (of our research and writing), the competitive sexism of the male-dominated medical profession has been exposed; a generation of women who bought our books saw the whole truth about their sex organs, and today’s feminist authors and scientists are working to fill in the gaps.

The lasting impact of Lorraine is reported in many other publications, including The Feminists Who Changed America edited by Barbara J. Love; Wikipedia; The Jewish Women’s Archive; Women’s Space: Lorraine Rothman, pioneer of guerrilla gynecology; “Body Politics: The Growth of the Women’s Health Movement” by Barbara Ehrenreich in Ms Magazine 1984; In Our Own Hands: The Women’s Health Movement in the United States, 1969-1990 by Sandra Morgan; and in the obituaries printed in the New York Times, Time magazinethe Los Angeles Times, and the Orange County Registry in 2007.

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