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Wed, Sep 11, 2019

Top Activist Moments in Our History Gallery

In our permanent History Gallery, visitors can discover the unheard stories of people who made history here in Santa Cruz County. On your next visit wander through to learn about people who used their passion to fight injustice, invent new industries, and build a stronger community. Today, we rounded up some of our favorite activist moments that can be found within the gallery.

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From Watsonville to the U.S. Supreme Court

Santa Cruz County can feel like a small town at times, but do you know about the legal case that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court? In 1985, a Watsonville resident named Dolores Cruz Gomez challenged her city’s election system to gain more equal voting representation for Latinxs, who at the time made up half the population. By fighting to change Watsonville to a district-based voting system, her case against the city changed history, resulting in giving more voice and leadership to the Latinx community in politics.

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Meat dress & Protests

Remember when Lady Gaga wore a meat dress to the MTV Video Music Awards in 2010? Yup, we do, too. Did you know that a beloved Santa Cruz resident, Ann Simonton, rocked that look here first in 1982?

Instead of going to the VMAs, Simonton wore her meat dress in protest to the Miss California Beauty Pageant. The pageant had been hosted in Santa Cruz since 1924 until protests by feminist activists, like Simonton, brought controversy to the event by the 1980s. See artifacts from their creative resistance, on display from Simonton’s own collection. Ann Simonton is still an active community member and artist in Santa Cruz. See if you can find her art on display in our exhibition We’re Still Here.

Beach Flats Garden protest

Growing Resistance

A community garden is so much more than a garden, especially in the case of the Beach Flats Community Garden. Less than a mile from the MAH, it has been a place of resistance, connection, and cultural preservation for years. Overcoming obstacles that have threatened its existence, this garden continues to blossom. Dolores Huerta, labor organizer, and originator of the saying, “Si, se puede!” has also given her support to the Beach Flats Community Garden efforts. Take in the beautiful photos and resilient stories of this thriving community.

Related Event: Thurs. Sept. 19th 'No Place to Grow' Film Screening

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Protector of the Redwoods

Next time you admire or take a photo in front of one of the 400 ft tall Redwood Trees in Santa Cruz County, remember to thank female journalist, Josephine McCrackin. Arriving in Santa Cruz after fleeing an abusive relationship, McCrackin became passionately invested in environmental preservation in the late 1880s. Her writing and advocacy inspired the purchase of Big Basin, the first state park in California's history.

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