Diversity & Inclusion

Office of University Diversity and Inclusion

Honoring Womxn's History Month 2023

This year’s National Women’s History Month theme recognizes, honors, and celebrates “Women Who Advocate for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.” The theme reflects the roots of Women’s History Month, which springs from the March 8, 1857 protest march organized by women who worked in New York textile factories. Their issues then- poor working conditions, and unequal rights- are sadly not so different from our own today. Many are still fighting, protesting and working to educate around Women’s rights – to their bodies, to equal pay, to equal access.

The Presidential proclamation for Women’s History Month in 2023 stated that, “Women — often women of color — have been on the frontlines, fighting for and securing equal rights and opportunity throughout our country’s history as abolitionists, civil rights leaders, suffragists, and labor activists.  Women continue to lead as advocates for reproductive rights, champions of racial justice, and LGBTQI+ equality.”

Here locally, a new exhibit has opened at the History Center of San Luis Obispo County called, “Hidden Voices.” It centers on four local women who were activists and leaders. The exhibit is the work of Cal Poly alum, Zoë Levit and fourth-year history major Jess O’Leary. The exhibit highlights Nettie Sinsheimer, a local philanthropist; Stella Louis, co-founder of Cal Poly’s Chinese Students Association and daughter-in-law of well-known SLO Chinese merchant Ah Louis; civil servant and “Black Rosie” Alice Martin; and Maxine Lewis, who founded Grassroots II, a community service organization that provided the first formal shelter and services for unhoused individuals in San Luis Obispo that led to the comprehensive services available today.

I hope that this month we are inspired by the resilience, courage, and strength of the “Women Who Advocate for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion” and that we not simply celebrate but learn from, and join them in fighting for equality and justice, on our campus, in our nation, and throughout the world.

Look for events throughout this month, on campus and in our surrounding community, including the Student Diversity and Belonging (SDAB) program, the “State of Womxn” on March 5 from 5-7 in Chumash Auditorium, a “Women of Color Symposium” hosted by the Diversity Coalition of San Luis Obispo County on March 1 at the Monday Club, and the “Latina Empowerment Roundtable” on March 9 at the PAC Pavilion hosted by the SLO County Commission on the Status of Women and Girls.

“Women, if the soul of the nation is to be saved, I believe you must become its soul.” -Coretta Scott King

Dr. Denise Isom,
Interim Vice President, Diversity & Inclusion / Chief Diversity Officer 

Related Content


Giving to OUDI

Support OUDI

BEACoN Program

Learn more about the BEACoN Mentoring Program

BEACoN Research Scholars

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Cal Poly

Learn more about Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Cal Poly

Learn more about diversity, equity, and inclusion at Cal Poly

DEI at Cal Poly

Report an Incident

Report an Incident

Report a bias incident to the Bias Incident Report Team

Report an Incident

Campus Partners

Connect with OUDI's campus partners

Campus Partners