Dear City Councilmembers,
My name is Monika Petrillo. I have been a South Pasadena resident for 23 years and have raised my two children here.
When they were little we spent lots of time at the Orange Grove playground. I remember the day somebody told me that Orange Grove used to be public swimming pool. “That must’ve been so much fun! I wish we still had that…” I thought then and always wondered why it was changed.
Then last year when I put together a scavenger hunt for the high school students, I found out that the reason was rooted in some early racism in our city: Rather than allow black people to use the pool, the City of South Pasadena had opted to close and demolish it! I couldn’t believe my ears and felt very embarrassed for my home town.
Thankfully we’ve come a long way since then. And I can’t think of a better way to express that than to allow the Anti-bias Club of SPHS to paint Zach Brown’s POSITIVE mural on the wall in Orange Grove Park.
Now, I am sure that there are still many details to work out about this. But I would expect the City Council to be open to the idea and to seriously discuss it with the students. They have worked hard and put a lot of thought into this issue. They already have support from many community organizations. And it is way overdue that the City Manager sits down with the artist to discuss a contract!
One day when I take my grandchildren to the playground in Orange Grove I would not only like to tell them the story of the pool that used to be there, but to end it by pointing to the BLM mural and add: “…but then, in 2022, South Pasadena proved to be on the right side of history.”
Thank you ahead of time for hearing them out and considering the mural.
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