Five Local Women Inducted Into San Diego County Women’s Hall Of Fame

Five remarkable women were inducted into the San Diego County Women’s Hall of Fame as announced by the Women’s Museum of California in partnership with the San Diego County Commission on the Status of Women and Girls.

The five local San Diego inducted on March 20th, in a virtual ceremony, were Judge Tamila Ipema, Marie M. Herney Mueller, Rosalina Salinas, Josephine Talamantez, and Francine Foster Williams. 

Founded in 2001, the San Diego County Women’s Hall of Fame recognizes the lifetime accomplishments of diverse women whose history of professional or volunteer work has made exceptional contributions to the region and beyond. The honorees are inducted in categories that represent the values of the Hall of Fame and highlight the accomplishments of the women: Empowerer, Activist, Trailblazer, Cultural Bridge Builder and Historian.

“We are honored to induct such an accomplished and inspiring group of women into the San Diego County Women’s Hall of Fame,” said Women’s Museum of California Executive Director Felicia Shaw. “These women reflect the breadth and diversity of our community and demonstrate the positive impact women have on our lives.”

The inductees are:

Trailblazer: Judge Tamila Ipema

Judge Tamila Ipema has committed her life to the achievement of democracy, human rights and social justice. Judge Ipema advanced countless programs designed to uplift the local, national and global community. Pope Francis invited Ipema to help create the “Pan-American Judges Commission on Social Rights and Franciscan Doctrine.”

Ipema is the sole member from the United States invited to serve on this seven-member commission. San Diego County is better because of the results of Judge Tamila Ipema’s hard work of creating a stronger, more fair and impartial justice system for everyone. 

Empowerer: Marie M. Herney Mueller

Marie M. Herney Mueller (1908-1984) was known internationally as a legal advocate and authority on women’s rights. She became San Diego County’s first woman deputy district attorney in 1932 and was San Diego’s first woman to practice in federal court, as well as the first local woman to practice in the Supreme Court.

Mueller was also the only woman in San Diego’s Civil Service Commission (1938-1951). She worked to educate the legal profession and beyond about property laws and lack of professional opportunities affecting women – including equal pay for equal work – long before the women’s movement had taken up these issues.

Activist: Rosalina Salinas

Rosalina Salinas’ activism serves as a model for those who see change and make change through leadership, hard work and perseverance. Salinas worked with Assemblymember Peter Chacon to pass the Bilingual Bicultural Act of 1976; the first state legislative act that mandated school districts to provide language minority students with equal educational opportunities despite their limited proficiency in English.

In 1995, she was elected president of the California Association for Bilingual Education, and in 1998, she led the statewide effort to oppose Proposition 227, which threatened to end bilingual education. Because of Rosalia’s tireless work, biliteracy is now embedded into the educational curriculum in districts throughout San Diego County and the state of California.   

Historian: Josephine “Josie” Talamantez

Josephine “Josie” Talamantez is a Yaqui/Chicana historian, cultural worker, activist, and local, state and national trailblazer who has a passion and dedication for defending the Logan Heights neighborhood, now known as Barrio Logan, where she was born and raised.

Her demonstrated commitment to supporting this historic and culturally significant community led to her co-founding the Chicano Park and Chicano Park Monumental Murals, with over 100 murals and growing – the largest collection of Chicano outdoor murals in the world. Through her efforts the park and murals are a national landmark on the National Register of Historic Places. 

Cultural Bridge Builder: Francine Foster Williams

Francine Foster Williams (1950-2021), who had a doctorate in education, dedicated her life to educating and empowering young people through initiatives grounded in race and human relations, social justice, and equity. Early in Williams’ career as a teacher at Knox Elementary in Southeast San Diego, she staged an event that recreated Martin Luther King Jr’s famous March in Selma, Alabama.

The Knox Elementary March continued for several years and was the inspiration for the annual San Diego Martin Luther King Day Parade. During the 1990s and over the span of ten years, she raised nearly $4 million in funding that benefitted San Diego schools and the children they served.

Let’s continue honoring amazing women of San Diego

All funds raised from the event will help support the continuation of the Hall of Fame program and the Women’s Museum of California archive.

Every year, nominations to the Hall of Fame are reviewed by the San Diego County Women’s Hall of Fame Advisory Committee, which includes representatives from the Women’s Museum of California, San Diego County Commission on the Status of Women and Girls, and other women’s organizations. More than 125 women have been inducted into the Hall of Fame since it was founded in 2001.

About the Women’s Museum of California

The San Diego-based Women’s Museum of California is the only museum in California and one of five in the United States exclusively dedicated to women’s history. The museum’s vast archives, growing collections and administration offices are located at the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park, with an interactive education space at the Joe & Vi Jacobs Center in Southeast San Diego. Learn more here.

Congratulations and keep up the amazing work!

See you there!