About the Herstory Project
Return to main Project Contributors Page

Vivian Rothstein Biography by Jennifer Palmer and Vivian Rothstein(1999)

Vivian Rothstein was one of the founders of the CWLU and served as its first staff person. She got her start as a student at U.C. Berkeley and then with the southern civil rights movement and became a full time community organizer with JOIN Community Union in Chicago in 1965. During a 1967 trip to North Vietnam as part of an American peace delegation documenting the American bombing of civilian targets, she met with representatives of the Vietnamese Womens Union.

It was these contacts which planted the idea of organizing an independent womens organization in the United States. After returning from Vietnam, Vivian joined the womens liberation Westside Group where plans for such an organization were formulated. Within CWLU Vivian helped found and run the Liberation School for Women as well as organizing efforts amongst working class white women on Chicago's northside.

After leaving Chicago in 1974, Vivian worked with the American Friends Service Committee on its Middle East Peace Education Program, with Planned Parenthood on pro-choice efforts, and for 10 years ran a nonprofit agency providing shelters and services to homeless adults and families and battered women and their children in Santa Monica, California.

Vivian now works for the Hotel Workers International Union directing an organizing effort in Los Angeles to bring liveable wages and health benefits to low wage service workers in the tourism industry, a majority of whom are women.