Part 2: Looking at today
By Alex Cordero
Women’s History Month continues and now we turn the page over to honoring the Pasadena women currently making a difference in our community in a unique way. Women from all over the city are creating community that adapts to modern times; they are advocating for current issues such as rent control and foster youth, and are preserving Pasadena’s rich history.
Read More: Part 1: Looking back
Meet Julia Long, founder and tour guide of Pasadena Walking Tours. She began her active research on the city a few years ago when she decided to leave a company in Los Angeles where she was researching and leading walking tours. Julia is a historian of our community; she plays part in keeping our history alive and bringing visitors and residents together to learn about that history.
“I love happening upon a small nugget of information, or a particularly unknown story, especially when it’s about a very well-known person or place in Pasadena. Nothing gets me more excited than when I can blow the minds of my friends and neighbors, especially people who don’t expect to learn anything new about the city on a tour! I love art and architecture, and my educational background is in art history, so I enjoy talking about the built environment of Pasadena. But the humanity and unique personalities of the people who have shaped it – what they ate for breakfast, if they ever had temper tantrums or feuds with friends or neighbors, their favorite color or flower – these are the things I love to share the most.”
Long is being featured at a dinner salon event at the Women’s City Club of Pasadena on March 22 titled “Women Who Shaped Pasadena.” Long will be presenting on Pasadena history, focusing on the women who have built the Crown City to what it is today.
Nicole Hodgson is also changing the community by addressing one of the city’s hot topics: affordable housing. She pioneered the movement for rent control and just-cause, forming the Pasadena Tenants Union (PTU) in 2016. What began as a topic of conversation between neighbors about rent increases and notices to vacate without cause, soon became a movement where more and more residents began to share their experiences through meeting groups, large gatherings, and networks using social media as a platform for communication. Hodgson soon found herself organizing rallies along with more members of the community, bringing awareness and action to rental housing issues and tenant displacement in Pasadena.
When I asked her what drives her to do all the work that it takes to be an advocate, Nicole stated the following: “It is the connection with other tenants, motivated to meet people within the community, listening to their stories and knowing we are not alone.”
PTU meets on every second Thursday of the month at Throop Church with community members who share their rental housing challenges and the organization focuses on how to organize around that local resident.
When people think of youth advocacy in Pasadena many think of Jackie Broxton. Broxton currently serves as the chair of the Human Relations Committee for the City of Pasadena. When I asked her about the importance of women like herself changing the community by advocating for those who may not have a voice she responded, “There is a saying ‘Service is the price we pay for the space we occupy.’ As humans we have an obligation to speak up for and advocate in whatever way we are comfortable for those who do not have a voice. Advocacy does not always mean being in the forefront. You may be more impactful just by listening and passing that information accurately to someone who has the power to make change a reality.”