Letter to the Editor | A Message to City Council on Orange Grove Park BLM Mural

Expressing hope that the City Council will move forward with plans to paint BLM mural in Orange Grove Park

Letters to the Editor | SouthPasadenan.com News

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.

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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.

Monika Petrillo

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