LOS ANGELES — With every step, Zedar Broadous takes in the beauty of Pacoima’s latest mural, but for him this one is different because it celebrates his father and the history of Pacoima.
“As they say, if you don’t understand history, you’re doomed to repeat it,” Zedar Broadous said, adding that’s why murals like this are crucial to the area.
His father, Hillary T. Broadous, was a World War II veteran who operated a successful barbershop before becoming a minister in 1972. He became a community activist and founded the San Fernando Valley Chapter of the NAACP.
The mural is located inside Hillery T. Broadous Elementary School and features Hillery T. Broadous at the center. The artwork can be seen off Filmore Street, one of Pacoima’s main thoroughfares, and across the street from Hubert Humphrey Memorial Park. It’s now the largest mural on a Los Angeles Unified School District campus.
Zedar Broadous invited Spectrum News into his home to share some of his father’s history. As one of 11 children, Zedar Broadous followed in his father’s footsteps, becoming a minister and community activist. It’s this family history that Zedar Broadous shared with muralist Juan Pablo Reyes, also known as JP Murals.
“The design was really well thought of and each element that was implemented into the design tells a story in itself,” he said.
For him, the mural not only celebrates Hillery T. Broadous but also activism within the Latino community. You see it in the images of Latino students painted in blue to one side of the image of Hillery T. Broadous.
“So we have a Latino Mexican person painting a Black, African American person, so that shows a lot, that shows the community that we have so much similarities rather than differences,” JP Murals said.
In the 1920s, Pacoima became known as the only place people of color could purchase land in the San Fernando Valley, and by the 1950s, it was a predominantly Black middle-class community.
Zedar Broadous is quick to point out that his father would’ve considered this tribute a blessing but also would point out that you can’t be a leader without people behind you. He’s hoping when people see this mural, they’re inspired.
“It shows that with the tenacity to do those things that are right, life can be better for all of us,” he said.