Peace signs were flashed as three men prepare to board a plane bound for Washington, D.C., from the McKinleyville Airport, as it was called then

As highlighted in today’s Times-Standard, Zachary Zwerdling has deep roots in Humboldt County.  Forty-five years after his involvement as a Humboldt County resident in anti-Vietnam War protests, Mr. Zwerdling continues to be dedicated to both social justice and zealous legal advocacy for his clients:

Peaceful protests in May 1970 were a life turning point for one local resident.

As for Zachary Zwerdling, who now owns Zwerdling Law Firm in Eureka, he was out lobbying and peacefully protesting the Vietnam War. According to a May 11, 1970, report from the Times-Standard, “Pickets March at HSC,” Zwerdling was an active member of the College of the Redwood’s student council. At 19 years old , he was one of 25 student leaders chosen from campuses across the nation to lobby and met privately with former Sen. J William Fulbright, who was chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at the time.

“I was pretty active in the anti-war group in Humboldt County. I remember I wasn’t allowed to speak at the Arcata City Council — if you can believe it, the council used to be very conservative back then,” Zwerdling said with a laugh. “Afterwards, the city attorney came up to me and said it was very cool that I tried to speak at the meeting.”

Zwerdling, who later attended Stanford University and the University of Santa Clara to study law, said he went to law school specifically because of the Vietnam War.

“I thought if I became a lawyer I could help from the inside,” he said. “Now I’m still very committed to social justice and feel that those days really guided me to who I wanted to be.”

In May 1970, about 200 Humboldt State College — the name of the school from 1935 to 1972 — students were protesting the expansion of the Vietnam War into Cambodia. The report said about 50 percent of students attended class, while the others were out on Arcata Plaza participating in “college community peace activities.” The report said 60 faculty members had also pledged to strike leaving some classrooms completely empty