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Board Member Mónica García and Los Angeles Unified celebrate the life of beloved social justice advocate, Paul Schrade, who passed Nov. 9 at the age of 97. Schrade was known for his leadership among the United Automobile Workers Union and for being a close friend to former U.S. Senator, Robert F. Kennedy. More so, he is remembered for surviving the 1968 shooting that led to Kennedy’s assassination.
In 1968, Paul Schrade, Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta stood inside the old Ambassador Hotel by a podium set for Kennedy who had just won the California Primary. Before the tragic incident that led to the fall of a great leader and a nation’s history, it was Schrade who introduced Kennedy to powerful labor leaders like Chavez and Huerta, and promised a fight for justice. Schrade was instrumental in transforming the Ambassador Hotel into the now Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools in Los Angeles Unified, a pilot school community educating students to be college, career and world ready. The Paul Schrade Library at RFK Community Schools holds a collection of Kennedy’s memorabilia and archive material for student research.
Schrade was raised in Saratoga Springs, New York, and attended Yale University for a short time before working at North American Aviation in Los Angeles.
“Paul Schrade was a fierce warrior for humanity and justice,” García said. “He carried on the work he began with Senator Robert F. Kennedy and brought Senator Kennedy’s vision, values and energy to the fight to build the RFK Community Schools. We celebrate his love and life. Our most sincere condolences to his family and loved ones.”
“As an auto workers union leader and ally of Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta and the farm workers’ movement, Paul Schrade was deeply invested in the labor movements of the 1960s,” Los Angeles Unified Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho said. “Mr. Schrade was also instrumental in the struggle to acquire the Ambassador Hotel site after its demolition and build the Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools. The school’s library was named in honor of Mr. Schrade, and houses a collection of Kennedy memorabilia and archival materials for student research. Mr. Schrade will be missed, but his legacy of championing the rights of labor workers lives on.”
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