About the Books

The Life of an Activist: In the Frontlines 24/7


Ertll provides a concrete roadmap of events, organizations, and people, a map that he has developed over the past twenty years of active involvement in Los Angeles community life. . . . This will be a book to give to your grandchildren when they ask, ‘What was it like back then?’

— David E. Hayes-Bautista, PhD, professor of medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, and director, Center for the Study of Latino Health and Culture


Randy Jurado Ertll has spent a lifetime in the activist trenches, and his book shows it. In it, he offers nitty-gritty details and advice for anyone interested in the non-profit world. The reader will be much more knowledgeable and wiser after having read The Life of an Activist.
— Amitabh Pal, managing editor, The Progressive magazine


Randy Jurado Ertll has written about his life as an activist in ways that inspire readers to recalibrate their own lives. . . . Perhaps more than anything else, what Randy gives us is the opportunity to face ourselves in the mirror and ask the hard questions that lurk always at the edge of consciousness.
— Terrence J. Roberts, Ph.D., one of the “Little Rock Nine” who desegregated Little Rock Central High School in 1957


Randy Jurado Ertll’s book on activism, The Life of an Activist: In the Frontlines 24/7, is a gripping story that captivates any reader. It is an insight into what it means to be an activist and how to become one. Ertll intrigues his readers with his wit. It is hard to put his book down; as reader, you want to know what is next. His book reveals his life in the frontlines of activism and serves as a voice for those needing to be heard. His work is a powerful storytelling. I highly recommend it.
— Alma Alfaro, Ph.D., professor of language, literature, and culture at Walla Walla University


Randy Jurado Ertll once again paints a powerful picture of his life as a committed community activist, leader, writer, organizer, and builder of a successful non-profit organization. Ertll provides a thoughtful pragmatic, energizing blueprint for community activism from the national policy-making level as exemplified by President Obama to the street level as exemplified by activists from Malcolm X to Cesar Chavez. They all figure prominently in Ertll’s narrative. Ertll’s book is a must read for anyone who seeks to understand, and better yet, become a positive change maker in their community.
— Earl Ofari Hutchinson, political analyst and author of The Latino Challenge to Black America: Towards a Conversation Between African Americans and Hispanics


Randy Jurado Ertll, whom I met when we worked together trying to improve Pasadena public schools, has written a highly readable and inspiring story about his role as an advocate for social justice. At once idealistic and pragmatic, The Life of An Activist provides an excellent primer for readers interested in getting involved in a cause bigger than themselves.
— Richard D. Kahlenberg, author, All Together Now: Creating Middle-Class Schools through Public School Choice

Hope In Times of Darkness: A Salvadoran American Experience

“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.

“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.”

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

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.

Randy Jurado Ertll is the executive director of El Centro de Accion Social in Pasadena, CA.

Purchase Hope in Times of Darkness from Amazon today.

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Ramon C. Cortines

Introduction: Growing Up in South Central Los Angeles

1. The Story of a Salvadoran American

2. The Dark Side

3. Can African Americans and Latinos Get Along?

4. A Better Chance Program

5. Occidental College Years

6. 1992 L.A. Riots – The Fire Still Burns in Los Angeles

7. The Environmental Movement

8. SAL-PAC – New Generation of Salvadoran Americans/Overcoming Negative Stereotypes

9. Searching for My Roots

10. From South L.A. to Capitol Hill

11. The Sann Year and How I Ended Up Working for the Pasadena Unified School District

12. How to Win an Election in the Southeast Lost Angeles City of Maywood

13. El Centro de Accion Social

14. American Me, The Sopranos, and the National Geographic Channel

15. Perseverance

16. Lessons Learned, the Future, and Conclusion: Wake Up Everybody