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Feminist Leader Toni Carabillo Dies

Toni Carabillo, long-time feminist leader and a co-founder and Vice President of the Feminist Majority, died early this morning at the age of 71.

A pioneer of the modern day women’s movement, Ms. Carabillo was a founding member of the National Organization for Women, founded and was the first-ever president of the Los Angeles Chapter of NOW, served on NOW’s National Board from 1968 to 1977 and as a National NOW Vice President from 1971-1974, chaired NOW’s National Advisory Committee from 1975-1977, led west coast efforts for ratification of the federal Equal Rights Amendment from 1980-1982, and co-edited with Judith Meuli the National NOW Times from 1977-1985.

Ms. Carabillo co-founded the Feminist Majority and Feminist Majority Foundation with Eleanor Smeal, Peg Yorkin, Judith Meuli and Katherine Spillar in 1987 to encourage women’s empowerment. She served as the Feminist Majority’s Vice President.

In addition to being considered an influential founder and leader of the feminist movement, Ms. Carabillo became known as the “historian” of the movement. Ms. Carabillo co-authored with Judith Meuli The Feminization of Power and The Feminist Chronicles, 1953-1993. At the time of her death she was completing a new book, The Feminist Chronicles of the 20th Century, which will be completed by her co-authors Judith Meuli and Eleanor Smeal.

Professionally, Ms. Carabillo was a writer and graphic designer. She earned her A.B. degree from Middlebury College, Vermont, and an M.A. from Columbia University. In 1969, she co-founded the Women’s Heritage Corporation, a publishing company that produced the Women’s Heritage Calendar and Almanac and a series of paperbacks on such figures as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucy Stone. In 1970, she formed a graphic arts firm with Judith Meuli in Los Angeles.

As a feminist advocate, Ms. Carabillo appeared on both national and local television and radio. She authored many Op-Ed articles, a number of which were nationally syndicated. Her biography appears in Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who of American Women.

Ms. Carabillo was diagnosed with Lymphoma and lung cancer in 1990. She died at home on October 28, 1997, in her sleep, in Los Angeles. Beside her throughout the illness and at her death was her life partner of 30 years, Judith Meuli.

Private services will be held on November 11, 1997 in Los Angeles. A public reception will follow at the L.A. office of the Feminist Majority. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Feminist Majority Foundation.