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Hope in Times of Darkness

A Salvadoran American Experience

Randy Jurado Ertll

Paperback
eBook
Hope in Times of Darkness sends a message that we can be agents of positive change, and that minority youth in impoverished areas can succeed in life and become productive citizens of our society. The author, a Salvadoran American, lived in El Salvador as a child but grew up in South Central Los Angeles during the late 1970s and 1980s. He also lived in Rochester, Minnesota; Washington, D.C.; and Alexandria, Virginia. In each of these cities, he observed the dynamics and challenges of the Salvadoran community. As he has both lived and transcended these struggles himself, he is able to depict a realistic and compassionate picture of the Salvadoran American/Latino experience throughout this book. The author focuses on social justice issues and contends that government, community-based organizations, elected officials, and community leaders can help create hope and opportunities for our youth, and thereby help improve our society.

Watch author Randy Ertll discuss his book on GOOD DAY LA!
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Hamilton Books
Pages: 94Size: 6 x 9 1/4
978-0-7618-4666-6 • Paperback • September 2009 • $26.99 • (£17.95)
978-0-7618-4667-3 • eBook • September 2009 • $26.99 • (£17.95)
Randy Jurado Ertll is the executive director of El Centro de Accion Social in Pasadena, CA. He has worked for Congresswoman Hilda Solis in Washington, D.C., published numerous opinion columns in newspapers such as the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle, and has been interviewed by networks such as NPR, CNN, PBS, Univision, and Telemundo.
Chapter 1 Foreword
Chapter 2 Acknowledgements
Chapter 3 Introduction: Growing Up in South Central Los Angeles
Chapter 4 1. The Story of a Salvadoran American
Chapter 5 2. The Dark Side
Chapter 6 3. Can African Americans and Latinos Get Along?
Chapter 7 4. A Better Chance Program
Chapter 8 5. Occidental College Years
Chapter 9 6. 1992 L.A. Riots - The Fire Still Burns in Los Angeles
Chapter 10 7. The Environmental Movement
Chapter 11 8. SAL-PAC - New Generation of Salvadoran Americans/Overcoming Negative Stereotypes
Chapter 12 9. Searching for My Roots
Chapter 13 10. From South L.A. to Capitol Hill
Chapter 14 11. The Sann Year and How I Ended Up Working for the Pasadena Unified School District
Chapter 15 12. How to Win an Election in the Southeast Lost Angeles City of Maywood
Chapter 16 13. El Centro de Accion Social
Chapter 17 14. American Me, The Sopranos, and the National Geographic Channel
Chapter 18 15. Perseverance
Chapter 19 16. Lessons Learned, the Future, and Conclusion: Wake Up Everybody
An inspiration…[and] testament to the power of an individual to overcome obstacles and make a difference.
Rampa R. Hormel, environmentalist and president of Enlyst Fund


The book speaks to a hope for a different world and finds even in the most dispiriting of experiences the seeds of change and social justice. This should be required reading…
Warren Montag, chair of the English and Comparative Literary Studies Department at Occidental College


This is a story that young people everywhere should read as it demonstrates how much every one of them could contribute to a better future for themselves and their communities.
Margaret E. Crahan, director, Kozmetsky Center, distinguished professor at St. Edward's University


A heart-felt and heart-warming story…while it is one man's story, it is also the story of so many who build new lives with perseverance, determination, and compassion.
Henrik Rehbinder, editorial page editor of La Opinion


Hope in Times of Darkness: A Salvadoran American Experience by Randy Jurado Ertll is a slim and pithy memoir by a Pasadena resident who overcame the kinds of obstacles that are common to recent immigrants from Central America....In his gritty littlememoir, Ertll chronicles the trajectory of his life in Los Angeles and Pasadena. Living first in South Los Angeles, he struggled to survive elementary school because he didn't speak English. Eventually, a love of learning and a few caring teachers helpedhim turn away from the lure of drugs and gang violence that permeated his neighborhood. Many of his friends weren't so fortunate, ending up dead or in prison. Ertll writes: Poor minorities went on being innocent victims of drive-bys, armed robberies, beatings and murder. Those who suffered the most were beaten by both the police and gang members. They were scared to report crimes because they feared they would be deported or accused of the crimes. Unable to speak English, they had no way to defend themselves. Ertll found ways to defend himself - first, on the streets and eventually, through education. He graduated from Occidental College and worked for Congresswoman (now U.S. Secretary of Labor) Hilda Solis. Then he worked for Pasadena (now LAUSD) Supe
Pasadena Star News, June 2010


Vivid, urgent, original, Randy Jurado Ertll's story compels us to grapple with some of the most urgent issues of our times.
Matt Rothschild, editor of The Progressive Magazine


Hope in Times of Darkness: A Salvadoran American Experience by Randy Jurado Ertll is a slim and pithy memoir by a Pasadena resident who overcame the kinds of obstacles that are common to recent immigrants from Central America....In his gritty little memoir, Ertll chronicles the trajectory of his life in Los Angeles and Pasadena. Living first in South Los Angeles, he struggled to survive elementary school because he didn't speak English. Eventually, a love of learning and a few caring teachers helped him turn away from the lure of drugs and gang violence that permeated his neighborhood. Many of his friends weren't so fortunate, ending up dead or in prison. Ertll writes: "Poor minorities went on being innocent victims of drive-bys, armed robberies, beatings and murder. Those who suffered the most were beaten by both the police and gang members. They were scared to report crimes because they feared they would be deported or accused of the crimes. Unable to speak English, they had no way to defend themselves." Ertll found ways to defend himself - first, on the streets and eventually, through education. He graduated from Occidental College and worked for Congresswoman (now U.S. Secretary of Labor) Hilda Solis. Then he worked for Pasadena (now LAUSD) Superintendent Ray Cortines and eventually became executive director of Pasadena's nonprofit El Centro de Accion Social. He is now devoted to helping other immigrants overcome the obstacles in their way to becoming productive, contributing Americans.
Pasadena Star News, June 2010


In his gritty little memoir, Ertll chronicles the trajectory of his life in Los Angeles and Pasadena.
Daily News, 6/19/2010


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