Frank Pestana a lawyer, formerly practiced in Alameda County where he was connected with the professional branch of the Communist Party of that county. He has been active in a number of front organizations including the Civil Rights Congress, the Communist School, the Bill of Rights Conference, and virtually all of the major front organizations in Southern California where he now resides.
Tribute to Frank Pestana & Leonard Weinglass
Echo Park United Methodist Church 1226 N. Alvarado Boulevard, Los Angeles 90026
With deep privilege of knowing these 2 extraordinary, militant attorneys who set an example for all of us by their dedication and commitment to uphold the dignity of all human beings.
Welcome: Union of Progressive Iranians
Honoring Leonard Weinglass:
- Gloria La Riva, of the Cuban 5 Campaign
- Dedon Kamathi, KPFK Freedom Now Host
- Paula Solomon, People's College of Law
Honoring Frank Pestana:
Spoken Word by:
- "The Chicago 10"
Open Microphone and Closing Comments
A young woman reporter at a recent National Convention asked how I became interested in China. Two things about China captured my interest. I had recently finished a degree in geography during which. China, being the biggest developing country in the world, was a major topic. How developing countries were to solve their problems was of interest to me.
Additionally, after spending a year and a half in the Air Force in the Philippines (’64-’66), I became interested in the Vietnam anti-war movement. While in the Philippines, I had observed SEA Countries and China first hand, and I knew none of these countries was strong enough to storm the beaches of Santa Monica and Los Angeles Calif. I knew we were wrong to be in Vietnam.
I did some reading, and visited China Books and Periodicals. (Later, in 1975 I worked for China Books) I was intrigued that while China was a Socialist country, some of their ideas might benefit the U.S. So, when in Sept of 1971, a friend approached me about forming a China Peoples Friendship Assn, I was only too willing.
In December of 1971, we had a small meeting of local activists. (We were lucky to have Grace Granich and Manny Granich who had just returned from a visit to China in 1970. They had also been involved in running an anti-Japanese newspaper in Shanghai from 1935-1937. They left just before the Japanese occupied the International Settlement. Just before the Japanese warrant for their arrest.) We discussed reasons we should form a group to build friendship with China. We decided we wanted to have a public program before Nixon went to China. Thus began the Southbay Chapter, one of the first five in the country.
The SF chapter, which was the first chapter in America, started about the same time. In 1972 a chapter was started in Palo Alto. Within a year, Jack Edelman and others started a chapter in Marin County (North Bay).In 1974 we formed a chapter in Santa Cruz.
Chapters began popping up all over California and the west. There was a professor and some interested students in Fresno—a chapter was born. There were some people who had been involved in United Nations Assn. work in Sacramento—a chapter was born. Groups formed in Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, Orange County, West Los Angeles, Long Beach, and San Diego.In 1972 Frank Pestana and others formed a regional network. From the west coast, USCPFA blossomed all over. Koji Ariyoshi and family helped form a Hawaiian chapter. Chapters were formed in the Midwest and the East coast.