Obituary: Farewell Our Great Friend, Aileen Hernandez

May 23, 1926 – February 13, 2017

The only woman appointed by President Lyndon Johnson in 1965 to the first EEOC, Hernandez has spent a lifetime working to improve the political and economic status of minority groups and women. A native of Brooklyn, NY, she moved to California in 1951 to become an organizer and later education and public relations director for the Pacific Coast Region of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, where she worked for 11 years. Before accepting the EEOC post, Hernandez was assistant chief of the California Division of Fair Employment Practices. Elected as executive VP at the founding conference of NOW in 1966, Hernandez declined that position but later agreed to serve as VP West, soon after resigning from the EEOC and launching her urban consulting business, Aileen C. Hernandez Associates, in San Francisco in 1967. She has chaired the national advisory committee of NOW, served on the board of NOW LDEF, and co-chaired a NOW task force on minority women and women’s rights. She facilitated sessions at the founding meeting of the NWPC in 1971 and at the 1973 NOW-sponsored International Feminist Conference held in the Boston area. She also founded and was active in Black Women Organized for Action, Bay Area Black Women United, The National Hook-Up of Black Women and Black Women Stirring the Waters. She has served on numerous boards and commissions at national and local levels, including The Urban Institute, National Urban Coalition, Citizens Commission on Civil Rights, Ms. Foundation for Women, Bay Area Urban League, National Advisory Board of the American Civil Liberties Union, African American Agenda Council, and Center for Governmental Studies. She chaired the California Council for the Humanities, the Center for the Common Good, the Coalition for Economic Equity, and the board of the Working Assets Money Market Fund. In 1996, Hernandez helped create and became chair of the California Women’s Agenda, a virtual network of over 600 women’s groups organized to implement the Platform for Action adopted by 189 nations at the Fourth International Conference on Women held in China. Hernandez holds a B.A. from Howard University, an M.A. from California State University at Los Angeles, and an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Southern Vermont College.

from Feminists Who Changed America 1963 – 1975, ed. Barbara Love, University of Illinois Press, 2006

Tributes & Obituaries can be found at:

New York Times

Washington Post

SF Gate

2017-06-13T00:09:03+00:00March 9th, 2017|News, NOW, Obituary|