President’s Message: My Friend Carol

 Rob Schraff

One of the great things about Mount Washington, and your Mount Washington Association, is the people you meet. One of the fascinating people I’ve met through the Association, whom I am now proud to call my friend, is Carol Jacques.

Carol became aware, at the tender age of nine, of some of the social justice issues that would occupy her future public activism when her family was evicted from Chavez Ravine in preparation for the building of Dodger Stadium.

Beginning her adult activism in the early 1970’s, Carol, as part of the Los Angeles County Employees Association, which later became an SEIU local, helped the United Farm Workers by organizing caravans of food for striking workers. This was during the Delano hunger strikes, and Carol also worked with the UFW in Los Angeles, organizing picket lines and providing educational outreach.

A founding member of the Chicano County Employees Union, Carol played a key role in Carol Jacques and César Chávez in the early 1970’s.forming a rainbow coalition of county workers in a civil rights lawsuit that broke the county’s “glass ceiling.” As one of the original members of Mujeres United, Carol was also involved in another landmark case overturning the practice of sterilizing Spanish speaking women after obtaining “permission” with forms written in English. In her spare time, she was the Chair of the Los Angeles County Health Alliance, a rainbow coalition that sought, and won, prenatal care for undocumented mothers.

Carol’s commitment to social justice has also extended to her interest in the arts – she was the first chairperson and she helped drive the creation of the Art in the Park program and the Highland Park Library mural. Her longstanding interest in one of Los Angeles’ most astonishing, and until recently repressed and censored, cultural landmarks, América Tropical by David Alfiero Siquieros, was also formed at this time. After her appointment as a Commissioner for El Pueblo de Los Angeles, Carol has worked as a liaison to the Getty Museum, the Instituto Cultural Mexicano Los Angeles, and the City in a successful effort to preserve the mural and to tell its story through a viewing center. Carol’s collection of prints from Siquieros, Orozco, Magoo, Alamarez and Tamayo also are part of the Autry National Center’s amazing exhibit, Siquieros in Los Angeles, which you can see until January 9th of next year.

For more information on the exhibit, see theautry.org/exhibitions/siqueiros. For more on America Tropical and Amigos de Siqueiros, visit www.amigosdesiqueiros.org.

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