‘History We Stand On’ exhibit toured by Torrance Police Chief


Torrance Police Chief Jeremiah “Jay” Hart (left) and faculty librarian Linda Cooks (right) pose for a photo near the “History We Stand On” exhibit inside the El Camino College Library on Thursday, Sept. 22. The visit from Hart came as a surprise for many of the library staff. (Delfino Camacho | The Union)

Torrance Police Chief Jeremiah “Jay” Hart visited the El Camino College Library to view and tour the “History We Stand On” exhibit on Thursday, Sept. 22.

After time in the United States Marine Corps and Pasadena Police Department, Hart was appointed Chief of the Torrance Police Department on June 20, 2021, and has since made efforts to increase and include community outreach to all citizens.

Hart said his curiosity was piqued after reading about the exhibit in a news publication, and he decided to make the trip to El Camino to check it out.

“I saw [the exhibit] in the Daily Breeze, and it instantly caught my attention. Especially with the story about Gordon Manor, because I was born and raised in this area, and that’s a story I’ve never heard before,” Hart said. “I knew instantly I needed to learn more.”

The “History We Stand On” exhibit chronicles the area’s history, starting with the native Tongva people who first inhabited the area. Then goes through decades of information on Mexican immigrants, Japanese settlers and Gordon Manor. The proposed subdivision for Black Americans was to be built where the college and Alondra Park now stand.

Citing the importance of “social justice,” Hart referenced the creation of the Chiefs Advisory Council earlier this year.

The Chiefs Advisory Council includes ten to twenty-five volunteer members selected due to their expertise, diversity and background. The council’s mission is to “promote community awareness, understanding, and involvement between the Torrance Police Department and the citizens of Torrance,” according to a press release.

“That’s a really important part of me coming here. I came here to learn about stories that have been untold for a very long time, to be better informed, and to serve as a reminder to be cautious and caring and showing compassion as we make decisions regarding public safety,” Hart said.

Accompanying Hart, faculty librarian and head organizer of the exhibit Linda Cooks took the time to show him around the exhibition, presenting the meaning of the many artifacts on display.

“It was so wonderful to speak to someone outside of our El Camino College immediate community,” Cooks said. “I didn’t know anything about him, but I’m happy to say that I feel that with him in place, someone who is genuinely interested in serving everyone and who has an appreciation of history that Torrance is going in a good direction.”

The exhibit is scheduled to close and be removed from the library on Sept. 30, but plans for a permanent home are underway.