“Housing Inequality and Activism in Pasadena,” a New Educational Program Developed by Hahn & Hahn and Community Organizations

The Pasadena Human Relations Commisson hear a presentation on “Housing Inequality and Activism in Pasadena”, which aims to shed light on Pasadena’s racist housing past, on Tuesday, July 2.



  • Historical Context: In 1939, Herbert Hahn and Mayor A.I. Stewart formed the Pasadena Improvement Association, enforcing White-only housing covenants.
  • Recent Developments: A 2022 letter to the City Council prompted an investigation, leading to calls for removing Hahn and Stewart’s portraits from city hall.
  • Firm’s Response: Shocked by its past, Hahn & Hahn, now a women-owned business, confirmed the allegations and collaborated with local organizations to develop solutions.
  • Educational Program: Designed by David Flores, this program, which focuses on educating future generations, will be available on the Pasadena-Foothills Realtors website.
  • Community Reactions: Some leaders praised the initiative, while others, like Councilmember Tyron Hampton, called for further actions, such as supporting first-time homeowners and providing scholarships.
  • Ongoing Impact: Commissioners emphasized the lasting effects of past policies and the need for restorative actions.
  • Next Steps: Hahn & Hahn aims to ensure the program’s successful launch and will evaluate further actions afterward.


Hahn & Hahn has launched an educational program designed for high-school and college students that addresses Pasadena’s dark past in housing history. This initiative follows the firm’s investigation into its controversial past and aims to educate future generations while addressing previous historical injustices.

Allen Edson, president of NAACP Branch Pasadena, which is one of the community organizations working with Hahn & Hahn on the project, said Wednesday that he believes the educational program will help young people better understand history and start a conversation.

“I think more can be done. I don’t want to put it all on the law firm,” he said. “They’ve shown some boldness to step out and take a firm position against their founders. So I think that’s a big plus on their part.”

PFAR Interim CEO Rian Barrett says the educational program “is the first step in a multi-step process.”


The educational materials will be available for download on our site in August.

Contributors to the project include Hahn & Hahn LLP, Kansha Pasadena, NAACP – Pasadena Branch, Pasadena Chamber of Commerce and Civic Association, Pasadena Civitan Club, Pasadena Foothills Association of Realtors®, Pasadena Jaycees Foundation, and Pasadena Latino Heritage.


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