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Chaparral 2017-2018: 26.6 College Culture

Facilities Department

Disclaimer: The story, feelings, thoughts, and incidents portrayed in this diary are fictitious. No identification with actual persons (living or deceased), places, buildings, and products is intended or should be inferred. This is a work of pure imagination based on articles in the Glendale Junior College newspaper, El Vaquero. c 1968-1972.


Ed note: We left Juliette in October of 1968 when, as a student at Glendale Junior College, she was beginning to protest the war in Vietnam. She was a cheerleader with a “head full of air” in her own words, concerned with scrapbooking, popularity, and her clothes. Here is more of her journey as she grew into a socially aware young woman who discovered that her voice and actions were important. Her last entry was from October 1968, when she was first getting involved with the protests on campus.


2 November 1968: Our school newspaper, El Vaquero, ran this quiz. Gosh! I know I’m not a racist even though I’ve been accused of being one just because I’m white, but this quiz really got me thinking about how America treats Afro-Americans. Next week, we’re going to have a leader of the NAACP come and talk to some of us in our first-ever Ethics Seminar. I hope a lot of people come. Maybe I’ll become a lawyer for the NAACP. That would be very fulfilling, I think! Here’s that quiz:

10 November 1968: If you read this article, you’ll see that the NAACP speaker who came to college felt upset that all anyone asked him about was race. Like all black people are alike or something and he can speak for them all. But for me, I’m not sure how we are SUPPOSED to act. It’s very confusing and I just want to do the right thing. I know my heart is in the right place, but what offends people, I don’t know. I vow to keep trying.

Feb 2, 1969: Our school is in an uproar! The people who run the school want to censor us! THEY want to decide who we can have come and speak on the campus! That has to stop. We are having meetings and we are protesting this unfair censorship! It all started when the Assembly Committee tried to get the Black Panthers to come and talk to us. You’d think we were all running around naked the way the teachers acted! WE DEMAND OUR RIGHTS! We need to raise money to help pay for court costs. Our friends at Valley College actually took their school to court! How brave they are! But they have to pay a lot of money to do that. We’re having a dance and charging admission. I’m making cookies to sell there too.


August 16, 1969: I’ve just gotten the most devastating news of my life. My whole world is falling apart, one person at a time. This is an evil world we live in, and I feel helpless to do anything about it…

Gary Nelson was killed in Vietnam 2 days ago… I don’t know how to say goodbye… He always wanted to play professional football... Instead, he was drafted...

Now look… He’ll never do that… or do anything ever again…


August 22, 1969: The funeral was today… I feel so sad and lonely... I saw Gary lying there, lifeless. I’m scared…

Sept 9, 1969: I failed my math test…

Sept 10, 1969: I don’t care…

September 12, 1968: I don’t care about anything…

Sept 16, 1969: Today I arrived at school and this met my eyes as I walked up the stairs. In a way, it made me feel a little bit better and inspired me. A thought came into my head that even if we’ve lost our friends and brothers in the war, maybe we can stop others from dying over there.


Oct 1, 1969: I am going to join the Moratorium that’s happening in a month. I think ours is in San Francisco, but I wish I could go to DC for the biggest one. Maybe this one will be ok and maybe we can get a lot of people to go. There is a lot of protesting going on right here on campus. I wish more people would get involved though.


Oct 3, 1969: We’re going to get money from the school for a bus to San Francisco! That’s where the California protest is going to be.


Oct 10, 1969: Look what we did!! We won the censorship battle and we had an actual Black Panther come to speak at Glendale Junior College! Her name is Elaine Brown, and she was SO inspiring. I wish I could live a life like that. She spoke about the community work they do and all of the radical protests they have planned. Some students didn’t want her to talk, so they disrupted the assembly and walked out being very noisy. I hope she wasn’t offended. I must admit that it was a little scary seeing two other male Panthers flanking her side standing perfectly still the whole time.

(Ed note: Elaine Brown went on to become the leader of the Black Panthers after Huey Newton fled to Cuba. She was the only woman to be its head, but resigned in 1977 due to her objections over the male-dominance in the organization. In 1969, she witnessed the shootings at UCLA of two Panther members. And she’s the author of two books, one of which is her memoir.)


Oct 17, 1969: How exciting it was to go to San Francisco for the big protest! I really felt like we were doing something positive! But there are so many more people who need to join in. Apathy is something we are fighting hard against, too. I got home and this is what was in the paper. Ugh. The same old meaningless junk. Who could care about popularity or being beautiful when people are dying by the thousands. Are they mindless? Don’t they know what’s happening in the world??


Nov 1, 1969: We are still resisting the war! We made a pledge today to never give up! And we won’t!


Nov 10, 1969: In our assembly today, Mike gave a speech about the draft. I thought he was gonna burn his draft card, but he didn’t. I guess that’s ok, because I don’t want him to go to jail


Feb 28, 1970: I’ve been busy with school and working hard to help stop the war. So far, none of us have been successful, but we keep trying. The Establishment just doesn’t want to hear what is right—they just want to make money and kill people. I feel hopeless and sad about the world all the time, and I don’t know if there is anything one person can do. While everyone is going about their business and concerned with trivial stuff, people are being shot and dying by the thousands.

Our El Vaquero newspaper ran this. Maybe people will read it and do the death math for themselves and have a change of heart and help us fight!

Epilogue: Juliette graduated from GJC, then transferred to a four-year university. She grew up, got married and had a few kids. She vowed to never stop her social activism, and she never has.


Thank you to the GCC archives for access to the historical documents.

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