Pasadena City College Courier Newspaper

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http://media.www.pcccourier.com/media/storage/paper1346/news/2010/04/01/News/Local.Authoractivist.Speaks.To.Students.About.Empowerment-3898596.shtml

Randy Jurado Ertll reads his book “Times of Darkness” in Creveling Lounge. Ertll is a Salvadoran American writer, community organizer and activist.

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Local author/activist speaks to students about empowerment
By: Sara Medina
Posted: 4/1/10
Being tough and not being scared were the words Salvadoran author Randy Jurado Ertll ended with after the reading of his new book “Hope in Times of Darkness.”

“You need to keep going,” Ertll said on Tuesday in the Creveling Lounge, where he read excerpts from his book, which focuses on his life growing up in South Central Los Angeles, and his avoiding gang life through education.

“Hope” discusses Ertll’s belief that education is the most effective way for children as well as young adults avoid unhealthy lifestyles.

“My passion is empowering youth,” said Ertll during the 90-minute long presentation. “When I was growing up, no one really cared. That’s why I wrote this book. I want to instill in their minds that writing is power. Knowledge is power.”

Ertll is the executive director of the Pasadena-based non-profit group El Centro de Accion Social, which carries out prevention programs through local schools Jefferson Elementary, Washington Middle and John Muir School.

“Through education, you can have other opportunities,” said Ertll.

He shared bits of his own rough upbringing and spoke of the change needed to put children on the right path.

“We have to give hope,” he said. “There’s hope somehow. Whether you can’t pay rent or get an education because you don’t have your papers. There’s hope.”

He told the crowd that one teacher in particular inspired him to continue with his education simply by caring about him.

The book, which Ertll said “transcends nationality” is something he hopes troubled youth will relate to, and eventually use to become “the exception.”

Ertll said that the challenge is to get the message of the book out to people.

“It’s important for me to get the word out and the messages within the book so the students will know about it,” he said. “There’s no point in writing a book if nobody knows about it or reads it.”
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