Richmond’s Home Front Effort is Still Making Waves

Come dressed for the ‘40s at this year’s Rosie Rally

By Matt Larson

Richmond’s efforts during World War II account for some of the proudest moments in Bay Area history. Building ships faster than the enemy could sink them was what the city became known for, but the longstanding impacts that the war effort had on modern day society is what the Rosie the Riveter Trust is most interested in, and that will be the message for this year’s annual Rosie Rally Home Front Festival on August 11th.

“The focus is really on the domestic side, and not the military side, for us,” said the Rosie the Riveter Trust’s Executive Director Marsha Mather-Thrift. Honoring “Rosies” who are still with us today is really what led to the festival first getting started, as they wanted to find a way to formally acknowledge these trailblazers.

“They made enormous advances for women’s rights and for women in the workplace,” Mather-Thrift said. “But the reality was that they weren’t just women. There were men who couldn’t go to war for various reasons, there were disabled people who were brought into the workforce—so it was men and women working together, learning new ways of getting along, learning more skills in the workplace; there were amazing social change efforts that came out of the war.”

Many original Rosies (and “Rogers” for their male counterparts), some of whom are now in their 90s, come to the park every Friday to serve as docents. They spend their time presenting to students and visitors, and they also come to meet the young girls at the Trust’s free summer camp for underprivileged youth as well. “Part of our mission is to really inspire the next generation, so they understand the importance of the kinds of changes that were made during this period,” Mather-Thrift said. “And one way to do that is to get older women and younger women engaged in coming to an event like this.” The festival usually kicks off by honoring any original Rosies in attendance, so don’t be late!

If by now you’re thinking about that time that Richmond broke the Guinness World Record for the most people dressed as Rosie the Riveter in on