Southern California Library

Where Making History Is a Struggle

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From the back cover of the  Black Panther Party newspaper,  July 25, 1970,  depicting the unsafe housing conditions people faced.

From the back cover of the Black Panther Party newspaper, July 25, 1970, depicting the unsafe housing conditions people faced.

Off the Roach Community Pest Control

The Library worked with a graduate class of Critical Methodology students at Loyola Marymount University to better understand the everyday struggles and mundane violence that people face in our communities. The students combed through selections from the Zinzun/CAPA archives and produced two short videos using the materials they analyzed, examining the work Michael Zinzun was doing before he took on the police--community pest control. 

Special thanks to Melanie Hubbard and Julia Lee from LMU.


One of the Library's collections that students, organizers, filmmakers, and organizations turn to over and over again are the papers of the Coalition Against Police Abuse, and Michael Zinzun who helped to found CAPA--almost 200 boxes of materials and grassroots videotapes that offer insights into the day-to-day struggles that folks are up against. 

Your donations are what makes it possible to ensure the legacies of Zinzun and so many others continue to be available to all. Please give today so we can make this work even stronger in 2018.

California Man Leads Battle To “Off” Roaches

— Jet magazine, June 14th, 1973

Pasadena, California’s “City of Roses” could just as soon be tagged a city of cockroaches, according to 24-year-old Michael Zinzun, who became so fed up with the disease-carrying pests that he formed a group to do something about it.

Zinzun declared his “war on roaches” when the Pasadena Freeway was built and many houses were torn down in his neighborhood, sending the insects scurrying for the new habitats.


 Zinzun and his brother, Juan, learned that roaches carry infectious disease organisms on their bodies, particularly salmonella – a bacteria that can cause food poisoning or diseases of the genital tract.

After consulting with a professor of entomology at UCLA, Zinzun discovered that boric acid was an effective killer of roaches, so he set up the Pasadena Community Information Cener. To date, his group has treated 700 homes.


 “One house was so badly infested,” said Zinzun, “that each drawer of a dresser we opened had not just one layer of roaches but three – one on top of the other. An American flag was so chewed up it was unrecognizable. A trapped mouse had been nibbled to a skeleton. There must have been 100,000 roaches in that house, but we cleaned it out.”

Zinzun said that he hopes to “off” the roaches in 1,000 local homes by July.


In appreciation of your support


If you make a gift of $50 or more, we will send you a set of greeting cards honoring the labor of farmworkers, as our way of saying thanks.

The cards are 4x5.5 inches, and there are 5 cards in a set. The inscription in Spanish means “The land belongs to those who work it.”