CSUF President’s Reception for Women’s History Month encouraged women to ‘reclaim their own time’

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Patty Rodriguez and Ariana Stein speak to the audience about Lil' Libros
(Courtesy of Matt Gush)

A bubbling crowd of students, faculty and staff took their seats for the annual CSUF Women’s History Month reception at the Fullerton Marriott on Thursday.

“Reclaiming Our Time” was the theme of the reception hosted by the WoMen’s and Adult Reentry Center and the Women and Gender Studies Department.

The theme stems from a phrase that Rep. Maxine Waters repeated at the House Financial Services Committee meeting when Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin declined to respond to Waters’ question and instead rambled on in an attempt to use up the time allotted for her question.

“Within minutes the phrase went viral, crossing political divides, occupations, race and economic status. Women began to reclaim their own time” said Alisa Flowers, director of the WoMen’s and Adult Reentry Center.   

President Fram Virjee was unable to attend the reception but left a video message of support before leaving for Detroit to cheer on CSUF men’s basketball team in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

“Know that we are with you tonight in mind and spirit. Know that we honor, value and are committed to our Titan women and know the joy, energy and promise it gives us to see you thrive,” Virjee said.    

Keynote speakers and best friends, Ariana Stein and Patty Rodriguez, spoke about their struggles to create a bilingual children’s book series called “Lil’ Libros.”

The idea behind creating children’s books in both Spanish and English came from Rodriguez’s desire for her own children to be proud of their Mexican heritage.

Rodriguez said she became discouraged after receiving negative feedback from publishers and gave up on her idea.

A few years later, Rodriguez called Stein to tell her about a publisher who wasn’t interested in her manuscript because they believed Latinos didn’t read to their kids. In an act to reclaim her time, Rodriguez created Lil’ Libros publishing company with Stein.

“I hope that our story inspires you all to take that leap of faith and believe that you can achieve anything.” Stein said. “It won’t come easy and you will face many, many, many obstacles in life but you just have to keep fighting. We are warriors.”

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