Pasadena Time Travel

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Roosevelt High School Strike, 1970 (after Raul Ruiz)

In 1969, Ernest M. Saenz led coordinated student walkouts at Muir, Blair and Pasadena High Schools to protest the school system’s lack of equal educational opportunities for minority students.

“We wanted a fair representation of minority instructors on campus, including counselors. We wanted a program that would gear us to college. We wanted to end the channeling of all minorities into remedial classes—we weren’t being taught anything. I thought they were stealing [my education] from me, that’s how I looked at it.

The first day of the walkout, not that many people reacted. But the following days, the participation kept growing. I saw the beginning of the changes that we were going after. I saw that this was going to turn into something good. It was more than hope. I felt a sense of freedom, like change had been awoken. I could grow now. I’m free. This is it, this is it! For me it was my pursuit of happiness.”

-Ernest M. Saenz, John Muir High School, class of 1971

©2018 Deborah Aschheim. This project is made possible in part by the Pasadena Arts & Culture Commission and the City of Pasadena Cultural Affairs Division. Courtesy Raul Ruiz, La Raza Photographic collection, UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center; Ernest M. Seanz.