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Arroyo Seco Development, Past and Present

By Richard Myers
Posted: 07/24/2023
Tags: history
Notes thanks to  Sharon Jarrett
The meeting focused on the Arroyo Seco and equity of access and use across Pasadena history.  The presenters for the meeting were Brian Biery Adjunct Professor at Pacific Oaks College and local historian and Marcus Renner, doctoral candidate at University of California, Davis and Chair of the Arroyo Seco Placekeepers.
This meeting was recorded and is on the Pasadena Village website.  The presentation and discussion is rich in historical detail and personal experience.
The meeting began with a series of questions:
When thinking of the Arroyo Seco, what comes to mind?
What are your personal experiences in the Arroyo Seco?
Why is the Arroyo Seco important to you?
It was noted that few cities have a vast open space such as the Arroyo Seco.  It's history is one of equity in access, and racial justice.
Using a process of "2 eyed seeing" Mr. Renner guided participants through a process of seeing the Arroyo from the perspective of inequity and progress.  The Arroyo always had many types of people interacting in the space.  These included the native people's, abolionists and newcomers.  
Mr. Renner reviewed the following:
The first African American settler, Frank Prince who arrived in 1887.
The contested East rim.
The Brookside Plunge.
The building of Arroyo Seco Elementary School which established segregated schooling.
The Brookside Baseball Team.
The building of the Rose Bowl in 1922.
The overturning of real estate restrictions.
The establishment of Outward Bound Adventures. Which provides experiences with outdoor environments for students and job training for work in nature environments.
Moving to the current day, the following was explored:
The Arroyo as an engine of equity through community programs.
The Climate Resilency Environmental Education Program.
The presentation concluded with a review of the purpose of the Arroyo Seco Placekeepers.  This included the role of public dialogue, connecting people to place and the development of oral history and storytelling. The meeting was recorded and the recording is available on our Youtube channel as " Development of the Arroyo Seco."
Not related to Arroyo Seco, but to our general theme of race and racism in America, I want to refer you to another  very interesting video, " Descendants of Enslavers Join Descendants of Enslaved in an Aattempt to Heal and Repair". This video is an interview that Marion Tango Nelson and Allison Thomas did of Sharon Kyle. All three are active in the Pasadena/SoCal CTTT Affiliate Group. Sharon  recently participated with her husband in a presentation about what she and her husband have learned by being in a Mixed Race Couple. You can read about that presentation at the  link above where you will also find a  link to a video recording of the presentation. Marion and Allison are part of the leadership of the local chapter of Coming to the Table. Coming to the Table is a national organization and was founded to bring the White and Black sides of the descendants of slave holders together to learn about and discuss what their different experiences have taught them. The interview is a fascinating review on the impact that history has had on these three thoughtful and sensitive individuals.
The next meeting on the 1619 Project Discussion Group will be the 1st Friday of the month,  August 4th at 10:00 AM PST on our usual link. Guests are welcome and we ask that you register through our website. If you'd like to be added to our mailing list please send a request to:
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