Hope in Times of Darkness: A Salvadoran American Experience by Randy Jurado Ertll

“Thanks for the autographed copy! I started reading and had a hard time putting it down to go to sleep.”

By Luis Sanchez, Teacher at Virgil Middle School

“I recently got a chance to read your book and I have to say that I enjoyed it very much.  I think that it is a much needed contribution not only in the area of Central American Studies but in what concerns political advocacy.”

By Yajaira M. Padilla
Professor at The University of Kansas

“I gave my mom her copy as part of her birthday present and she loved it. She called me and she was fascinated that she was able to understand most of it. Her English is up to the 4th ESL level. I will share my thoughts on Amazon after I finish reading it.”

By Jaime D. Osorio, Physics Teacher

“Te cuento que tu libro me ayudo mucho, cuando lo empeze a leer no lo pude poner a lado.  A Lisa todavia no se lo entrego pues lo iba a enviar pero todo se me atraso.  Hoy que la vea en diciembre pues espero que venga a Barcelona se lo entrego. Abrazos y te digo que eres un gran escritor, me gusta mucho tu estilo. 
Despues hablamos.”

By Reina Castillo


“I have been reading your book this afternoon, of course some of it I was familiar with but it came together beautifully!

I leaving for Paris tonite, when I get settled Im going to order a couple of copies for some people I know including one of my french professors at Valley.


I am so inspired by your work and especially your honesty.

We have to think of a way to get your book published in France…

BUENO, felicidades y saludos”
By Lisa Ramos, activist

“I’ve bee plugging your book whenever I can – it’s a great book hombre – you should be proud!”

By Ricardo Salinas member of Culture Clash

Hi Randy..Yes, I read your book. You’re an excellent writer. Keep up the good work. I noticed that you went to Menlo Ave school in your youth. I also lived in that area for a while years ago, went to St. Agnes on Vermont. The area was tough back then–mid fifties–but not nearly as bad as when you lived there.

Congratulations on writing a great book!
By Jeff Sherratt, author

Hola Randy, estoy a punto de terminar de leer tu libro y quiero felicitarte de todo corazon. Es un gran documento personal e historico.
By Norma Roque (UNIVISION)

“Randy, by the way, I loved the book, my wife also read it and enjoyed what you had to say.  Your have had quite the life and, away from the difficulties, you have also had many great achievements.  Your thoughts on the social ills that impact the quality of life for young people were very accurate and unfortunately very real!”
By Commander John Perez (Pasadena Police Department)

“I bought the book on Saturday and have just started to read it. It’s so moving. I’ll call you and come see you when you can autograph it for me.”
By Claudine Ajeti, former Principal at Los Angeles Community Adult School

“I am enjoying your book, have read the first 4 chapters. Thanks for sharing your story!”

By Alma Alfaro, Professor at Walla Walla University




Congratulations are definitely in order!

I am SO HAPPY for you that you made

VROMAN’S bookstore bestseller list.

I am so proud of you, I don’t know what

to say. So very proud and so not surprised.

You deserve  e-v-e-r-y  bit of the praise that

you receive!”

By Patrick O’Brien, Retired teachers from Los Angeles Unified School District



“I was meaning to email you because I wasn’t reading for a while and I finally got around to reading your book. It was great!”

By Jessica Price, Clerk for Judge Nelson



“I’m fascinated. Very powerful story.”

By Karina Oliva Alvarado, Professor at the Claremont Colleges



“I loved your writing.”

By Bruce Saito, executive director of Los Angeles Conservation Corps (LACC)



“Hola  Randy – Hombre, I read your book and it was great!   You have so much to share and you covered many topics affecting our communities.  I tremendously enjoyed and could not put it down.  Very relevant and positive message given to those that read your book!  I commend your success and felt your pain on lost friends, etc.”

By Roy Jasso, Wells Fargo Bank


Randy: I’m happy to have your book in Spanish: it is helping me in my study of Spanish! !mucho gusto, y gracias!

By Elizabeth Pomeroy, Pasadena Unified School District School Board Member

Brief Reviews & Acclaim


“Vivid, urgent, original, Randy Jurado Ertll’s story compels us to grapple with some of the most urgent issues of our times.”

By Matt Rothschild, Editor of The Progressive Magazine

“Through his first person narration, Jurado Ertll forges meaning and identity from his struggle as an immigrant child, growing up in the sometimes violent, fragmented streets and neighborhoods located on the “other side” of Los Angeles. Jurado Ertll’s story gives voice and inspiration to the struggle of thousands of immigrant families across the country living in Urban America.  He tells the story of a courageous life, growing up against all odds, in neighborhoods plagued by gang violence. The rise of Randy Jurado Ertll as an important community leader is a remarkable journey.  As an African-American, I especially applaud his commitment to social justice and the need to build meaningful multicultural coalitions on the ground level.”


By Luke E. Willams, Jr., USC alum and obtained law degree from Penn State University and served as executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA).

“Randy Jurado Ertll is one of the few friends I have; very honest, he knows where he is from and where he is now; he works hard for all people, it does not matter what country, color, religious or political affiliation they are from. That is very interesting to me, to know that there is a guy like him, especially in these difficult economic times, where many people change their principles and values for money and power.”

By Mauricio Cienfuegos, retired professional soccer player for the Los Angeles Galaxy team (Major League Soccer).

“The Salvadoran poet Roque Dalton said in one of his poems that “Somebody should give medals of resistance for being Salvadoran”. I cannot avoid quoting Dalton (his father was an American coffee grower in El Salvador), when I think about Randy Jurado Ertll’s book. As he describes in his memories, he had to go through a long season in hell to find his place in the world. Jurado represents a kind of Salvadoran that Dalton the poet never foresaw in his literature: a member of the ever growing Salvadoran diaspora, whose trials and agonies, situated between two worlds, represent a new experience. This is what he wants to convey –and he does it in a very candid way— in his first book.”

By Roger Lindo, reporter with La Opinion newspaper and author of El Perro en la Niebla (Verbigracia, Spain)


“Randy Jurado Ertll’s compelling story chronicling his journey from Salvadoran immigrant to respected community leader serves as an inspiration.  His selfless devotion to bettering the lives of others in spite of his own difficult circumstances is testament to the power of an individual to overcome obstacles and make a difference.  Randy’s work encompasses not only people, but also the planet on which we all depend.  As director of the New Voter Project for the California League of Conservation Voters, he helped pioneer empowering those most impacted by unhealthy conditions to take action to protect the environment.  Randy’s life serves as a model for the youth of our country.”
By Rampa R. Hormel, environmentalist and President of Enlyst Fund, a private foundation dedicated to promoting sustainability.

“Randy Jurado Ertll’s narrative of his journey from rural El Salvador to the streets of South Central Los Angeles represents a crucial dimension of the contemporary immigrant experience. It is not simply or primarily a tale of the journey from Old to New world, nor even from North to South. Ertll’s work is a testimony to the explosive globalization of war and violence. More importantly, though, 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 not only for those interested in the dimensions of Latino immigration to the United States, but for all those who seek understand the terrible inequities of globalization, the worlds of exiles and refugees who make up a large and ever increasing part of the world’s population.”

Warren Montag, Chair of the English and Comparative Literary Studies Department at Occidental College (Eagle Rock, California).

Growing up amid violence whether in the United States, El Salvador, or elsewhere threatens the well-being of young people every day.  To triumph over the blandishments of easy money via crime or escape via drugs is a daily challenge.  To grow up to share a love for learning and a capacity to effectively champion the basic rights of others is an extraordinary accomplishment.  In school, in the streets, and in politics Randy Jurado Ertll has striven to contribute to the betterment  of the communities he has inhabited.  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.

By Margaret E. Crahan, Kozmetsky, Distinguished Professor at St. Edward’s University (Austin, Texas).

Hope in the Times of Darkness is a heart-felt and heart-warming story of one man’ s journey from El Salvador to Pasadena, California. It is the quintessential immigrant story. Randy Jurado Ertll takes the reader through chapters of his life, traversing loneliness and despair to finding security and opportunities. While it is one man’s story, it is also the story of so many who build new lives with perseverance, determination and compassion. In Randy’s case, his commitment to the common good and helping others brought him strength. In this era of resource cutting and anti-immigrant fervor, Randy’s story also demonstrates the value of opportunities offered, services provided, and mentors who offered a helping hand.

By Henrik Rehbinder, editor of the editorial pages of La Opinion newspaper. 


Philip Victor December 15 at 9:52am Report

Het Randy!

I picked up your book again. Now I’m hooked. It is an engaging read, and is very informative; on the level of the Autobiography of Malcom X. You not only capture your life story, but also cructial history of Latinos in the United States and Central America.

As a comic book/ fiction writer, I like how you mentioned wanting to fly away from school like Superman with your red jacket (as a cape), and your admiration for El Santo and wrestling. I also like your mention of Cesar Chavez. In my soon to be released Peace Man comic book, I have a highlight on Cesar Chavez as well.

And I can relate to some of your exeperinces having grown up in Los Angeles and being the son of immigrants. It is nice to connect with an author on that level too.

Your education at Occidental College and community activism set a good example for youth and adults alike. And your opinions and perspective of the world are very clear and concious. You are a hero and a leader!

I’m ready for the sequel! “Hope In Times Of Brightness”! :)

  1. Really enjoyed this post.Really thank you! Keep writing.

  2. Wow!!! Great! I like strawberries! That is the perfect recipe for spring/summer period.

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