SEARCH UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES
Sandra Janashak Cadena, Oral History
Recorded: April 29, 2020
Interviewed by Kathleen Siebert Medicus
Transcribed by Liz Campion, May 4 Archivist
[Interviewer]: This is Kathleen Siebert Medicus speaking on Wednesday, April 29, 2020, at my home in Kent, Ohio. As part of the May 4 Kent State Shootings Oral History Project, we are recording an interview today over the telephone. Could you please state your name for the recording?
[Sandra Janashak Cadena]: My name is Sandra Janashak Cadena.
[Interviewer]: Thank you. Thanks so much, Sandra. Do you mind if I call you Sandra during the interview?
[Sandra Janashak Cadena]: No, that’s fine. Sandra’s fine, thank you.
[Interviewer]: Okay, great, thank you. Well, Sandra, thank you so much for meeting with me today and sharing your story with us for the Oral History Project. I really appreciate it, thank you. I’d like to begin with just brief information about your background so we can get to know you a little better. Could you tell us where you were born and where you grew up?
[Sandra Janashak Cadena]: I was born and raised in a suburb in the east part of Cleveland, Ohio, called Bedford.
[Interviewer]: I should state for the record that you and I have shared—you have written out an outline of your memories and the points you want to cover—so that the listener understands, you know, I’ve got that too so I can guide you. Maybe next if you could tell us a little more about that, your story that led you to be at Kent State on May 4, 1970.
[Sandra Janashak Cadena]: Okay, first I wanted to say that this is quite the privilege to be able to share my story. I was interviewed once by my daughter, who is now thirty. She had a class project when she was in high school to interview someone who had lived some history. And she knew, she knew that I was at Kent State but she never knew what brought me there or my experiences there. So, that was kind of interesting experience to be able to share bits and pieces of my story with my high school daughter at that point in time.
But this is, this is really not an easy story for me to tell, quite honestly. And in the outline that I had written up for this conversation today, I really added some more personal components of my life at that point in time. Life was pretty difficult at that point, for me. And how things have evolved, and where I am at now is quite amazing to me sometimes, how I got to this point. So again, I want to thank you for being able to share this part of my history.
[Interviewer]: Oh, you’re welcome. Thank you for sharing it with us, I really appreciate it.
[Sandra Janashak Cadena]: So, I was, like I said, born and raised in Bedford, Ohio, and went to a Catholic school through primary and middle school and I was, oh, the teacher’s pet and got straight As and I was the eighth-grade class president and I got all kinds of awards for my scholarship in writing, and those kinds of things. I am the second child in a family of four. My parents were hard-working blue-collar kind of people and we had a good life—a good life, not a lot of problems. My father worked at Ford Motor Company and got promotions as a mechanical engineer that he was—he went through a vocational training school and moved kind of up the ladder. My mother worked as a waitress when we were in school and was a seamstress. So, we had a good life.
In 1968, when I left the protection, I think, of the school that I was in for the past eight years and went to a public school as a freshman, trying to kind of find my way and I wasn’t special anymore, as I look back at it. I was kind of special and privileged in the school that I was in, and now, I was one of four hundred students and part of the masses and trying to find my way. We had a family tragedy at that point. I had an older brother who was two years older than me. We were born on the same date, same birth date, and he tragically died from a motorcycle accident.
[Interviewer]: Oh, I’m so sorry.
[Sandra Janashak Cadena]: In April—in April of 1968. And my family, in their own ways, struggled with their grief, and my parents pulled together, the best that they could. I have a younger brother and sister who are four and five years younger than I am and they were nine and ten. They even look alike. They’re blonde-haired, blue-eyed and they’re very, very close. Myself and my brother, we were brown-haired and brown-eyed and we looked very, very similar. So, it was as if we had two groups of children in the family. And my family—looking looking back over the years—my family, you know, struggled the best that they could with that kind of grief that they experienced when my brother got killed. And I, being a fifteen-year-old, just acted out, just acted out like crazy.
And so, that was kind of the beginning of some significant difficult changes for myself and my family. So, in 1970, about two years later, I was a seventeen-year-old runaway—lived with different friends that I knew, and friends of friends. I lived out of my car for a while. I would go back home, and that wouldn’t work out and I would be arguing with my mother and I was very much into drugs, sex, and rock and roll, and that didn’t go over very well in my Catholic household, so I would move back out again.
But, I knew I always wanted to be a nurse and it was something that my mother, who didn’t finish high school, wanted—wanted to be in her life. I remember that she had asked me was that what I wanted to do or was that something because she wanted to do and couldn’t—that she had convinced me to be a nurse. And I said, “No, it’s something I wanted to do.” But, I wonder. You know, I didn’t know anyone that worked in the medical field or [unintelligible].
People who couldn’t cut it in the regular classes, or people who had been arrested, or young women who were pregnant and who was trying to finish school, there was a few of those. So, I was back there with the dummies. What that senior year provided for me is that I could go to school in the morning and then I could go work in the afternoons and I could support myself that way.
And so I started there, and I still had to work, I still had to support myself and realized that I wasn’t learning why to do things. I was just learning the technology, the techniques, of how to be a nurse. And I couldn’t do it, it wasn’t what I wanted, and I couldn’t work as much as I needed to to support myself and go to school and I quit. I dropped out and I quit. I did some traveling, little bit. Then I kind of made my way back closer to home and I ended up applying to the only public university that had a nursing school at that point in time that I could get to, and it was Kent State.
Life is funny. My life has been kind of funny, things come back around again. So, I got accepted, I got accepted at Kent State University School of Nursing and—a provisional acceptance because my grades were not great, and I found my niche. I found my niche, that being able to get accepted in, I lost a couple years there in between high school and starting again, but I got there. But that was the late Sixties, early Seventies.
I don’t remember how I heard that, but it was something that was going to be significant and it was something that was going to be on a university campus and hence, the expectation was that there was going to be a lot of university students out there. I couldn’t seem to catch a ride. Because that was, I don’t know, probably a good hour away from where I was living. So, I hitchhiked out of Cleveland I got to Kent on the 3rd of May. I stayed with some friends of some friends in one of those older houses off Main Street, downtown.
I’d never been to Kent before. I have a cousin who actually still lives there, in that direction. So, I’d been to visit them over the years growing up, but I’d never been to Kent and to the campus. We walked. There was a whole group of people and, as we left the neighborhood and walked and moved our way towards the main entrance of the university—I think, is that Main Street? I think it’s the street right—or is that University Street in front of the main old campus where the buildings are up around the top of a circle and it goes down a hill?
[Interviewer]: Yeah, yeah, the front campus, it’s kind of on the corner of Main Street and Lincoln.
[Sandra Janashak Cadena]: That’s what it is. Okay.
[Interviewer]: Is this still on May 3rd, Sunday, or are you—
[Sandra Janashak Cadena]: No, I’m sorry, this is the morning of May 4th.
[Interviewer]: So, the next morning, you were walking.
[Sandra Janashak Cadena]: Yes, so the next—thank you. Yeah, the next morning, after I got in May 3rd and stayed overnight, then that morning, early in the morning, people started to get up and you could feel the excitement. I remember that it was a growing mass of people as we were walking out of the houses, out of the area, to that part of town.
Down University [editor’s clarification: the narrator actually means Main Street here], and yeah Lincoln is, Lincoln is that crossroad—I didn’t remember Lincoln was that crossroad at the front end—front part of the campus up the hill. And we were walking and more and more people and people started chanting, “No more war!” And it became a huge mass of people just moving up the campus and moving across the campus. I don’t recall what time it was. I have no sense of the timing of when all of this was happening—trying to remember.
And people just kept running. I remember coming around a building, and again, I think it was one of the older buildings towards that part of the campus, on the front of the campus, and I remember seeing somebody on the ground.
And that people were kneeling around this person and screaming and signaling for help. And I kept running, I kept running. Lots of people kept running and I don’t remember looking back.
So, I ended up back on the Main Street, inside one of the bars, on Main Street. I remember that the person was there with the doors open telling people, “Come in, come in, be safe, come in.” I remember thinking, I’m seventeen, I’m not allowed in a bar. I remember, it’s like it doesn’t matter, you know. The people who owned the stores and the bars on that part of town—
Looking back, we ran a long way away from the campus, I think.
[Interviewer]: Yes, you did.
[Sandra Janashak Cadena]: Yeah, and people were just in a panic. I don’t remember seeing people taking a stand. I remember looking out a little tiny sliver of a window that I had accessed to look out and I saw people running and I saw some people standing out in the street. And people were crying and people were yelling, and I remember just being very quiet and being by myself. I don’t know how much time went by and I remember looking out the window and there was a military tank coming down the middle of the street.
And another one, and another one. And I remember thinking, I’m not sure those of us who were held up and locked up in this bar for our own safety—like are they going to shoot the buildings, they going to blast us? Because it seemed obvious that all the people who were on that campus protesting were hiding someplace that they could run to. So, it was a very long night and people were on the floors and in chairs and there was some people who left real early in the morning. I assume they were the students and they were going back to the campus. I mean, I had no business being on that campus anyway, right? I wasn’t a student. I wasn’t a student. I was a seventeen-year-old high school student and I needed to get out of town.
[Interviewer]: Wow. Did you—so, you ended up spending all night at that bar that had taken people in for safety?
[Sandra Janashak Cadena]: Yes.
Yes, yes. I remember the man standing at the door, shouting at people, “In here, in here, come in here, in here!” I don’t know if it was the only place that was open that sheltered us, I don’t know. But it was like, people were running in and the place was packed, people were running in to shelter. Because I learned later that they locked down the town.
[Sandra Janashak Cadena]: You couldn’t get in and you couldn’t get out. They locked it all down. To see those tanks roll past down the middle of a street was—I remember being very, very frightened, very scared, and it’s like, What does this mean? What does this mean? So, we all got out of there as quick as we could early in the morning. I don’t know quite—if they opened the town up or we just found a way out, whoever was driving, but we got out of town.
So that just reinforced my willingness to get out there and protest. It’s like, How could this happen? How could the National Guard—I mean you found out later who they were, as the news kind of came out, once you could hear it on the radio and catch TV about what happened —bits and pieces of information. I ended up making my way back over, actually to where I grew up, my parent’s house, and talked to a neighbor and he had been going to Kent State and he talked about classes were totally cancelled and he was going to graduate and he was afraid to go on campus and he had to send his last exams in and he wasn’t going to be able to graduate—walk. And in my neighborhood, he probably was the very first person to graduate from a university. So, I remember it was pretty sad, but—
So, life moved on and I graduated from high school like I had said earlier, and didn’t make it in the community college, traveled around the country, and ended up applying and getting provisionally accepted at Kent State. And I graduated with my bachelor’s in nursing in 1977. So, it took me awhile to regroup and get my classes and—I would walk on that campus, because the School of Nursing was on Lincoln—it was in one of the old buildings, down in the basement. I remember walking around on the campus and I made a friend, I made a friend who was in the program. Then we got to be good, close friends the day John Lennon was shot and killed. It’s like, even then, those were—continued to be times of violence.
And my exposure to violence at that point in my life was pretty impactful, probably in more ways than I realized then. That I have some reflection now about how things evolved. So, I graduated, I graduated, first person in my family—my whole family never graduated from a university.
As a nurse. And I ended up going back to where I worked as a nursing aide, at this rehab, big, huge Cleveland rehab hospital. And now I was the nurse in the charge—and I was the nurse in charge, brand new out of school. Like, I didn’t really know what the heck I was doing, but I was on the spinal cord rehabilitation unit.
And there was Dean Kahler who was now one of my patients. Mr. Kahler was one of the people that got shot at Kent State and ended up being paralyzed, being a paraplegic. I doubt that I ever told him I was at Kent—I doubt it. I doubt that I ever said that, but I remember he had red hair and a red beard, and he was a very angry man, young man, and very hateful towards the government and told everybody that he was going to Canada. He could not live in the United States anymore. I don’t know if he ever did and I wondered, I wondered if that was the person that I saw as I ran for my life at Kent State—on the ground, after the shootings. I don’t know.
And I never asked him but it’s like—that point, you know, several years, you know, later, crossed my path again. So, you know, I look back, I mean, I’ve been a nurse for over forty years now. My personal life choices and my career choices and opportunities—these opportunities seem to present themselves and I have learned that it takes some courage to take the opportunity and that it seems like many things in my life are—it’s all interconnected. My personal experiences and my experiences for those two years in my life and Kent State, right at that point, in my [unintelligible] teenage development, if you would. Kind of guided me to being able to get a PhD in Psychiatric Nursing and International Studies and I have focused on vulnerable populations, homeless people, but my research in the United States and in Colombia, South America has focused on violence, both interpersonal and domestic violence—which I do now, with a group, at another university in Colombia.
So, my trauma in life with my brother being killed and the violence that I tangentially experienced—you know, I have never been in a situation where I myself have been hurt. Around other people—yes. The ramifications of that—yes. And so, did that lead me to be a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner professor—yes. It’s obvious to me at this point. I worked—I had my own office and for fifteen, sixteen years and I did psychotherapy with people, survivors of incest and abuse and violence—and I teach undergraduate and graduate students about how to intervene and how to do crisis intervention and all of those kinds of things. So, how that experience at Kent State was etched into who I am was something that I really have embraced over the years and it’s not something that I share or talk much about. You know, people’s—young people’s, in particular, response and reaction is that here’s somebody who lived some history and you know, what was that like and so they very eagerly ask questions and things like that. But, it’s not something that I share very much.
And I’m still protesting, I’m still protesting. At this point in life, you know, some things have changed for the better and some things have been uncovered. I think that a lot got better for many people in this country and in this world. So, I’m in my tiny little corner in Florida in a pretty red county and I’m part of the Progressive Democrats [editor’s clarification: an organization called the Progressive Democrats of America] and have co-led some rallies against some of the political experiences that are happening now in the United States. In 2020 and 2016 and 2019, and I don’t know, I guess it’s something that’s a part of the fabric of who I am. So [unintelligible] a result of pain, anguish, personal and cultural losses, and challenges, and opportunities, and a little bit of luck. There’s something to be said for a little bit of luck, that I continue to be able to hold on to my optimism and my compassion in my life. Most of that came from Kent State.
[Interviewer]: Thank you for sharing those reflections with us. It’s really thought-provoking and profound. Thank you. Do you mind if I—if we go back in time and I ask maybe some follow-up questions about your experiences at this point?
[Sandra Janashak Cadena]: Yeah, please do. I didn’t give you much opportunity to ask questions.
[Interviewer]: No, no, totally fine. But, if you had more to say at this point first, I don’t want to derail that.
[Sandra Janashak Cadena]: No, no, I’m finished with that. Thank you.
[Interviewer]: Okay, okay. I’m trying to just like absorb an entire life in a few minutes here. It’s amazing. I am curious about a couple things when you first hitchhiked to Kent on May 3rd and you’d heard about this, you know, big protest that was going to happen. Do you remember—you know, so one thing I’m curious about—the friends of the friends that you stayed with are the people you were meeting—do you have any sense of, were there lots of people coming from outside of campus to join in or did you feel like you were kind of on the fringes and it was mostly Kent State students? Did you have any sense of, kind of, who the crowd was composed of, from your perspective as an outsider?
[Sandra Janashak Cadena]: I think—I did feel like an outsider. The people that I was able to catch a ride to come in, you know, we were all outsiders. But the home that opened its doors to let us stay overnight, those were students. And so, I didn’t get a sense that there were a lot of—I didn’t get a sense that there were more outsiders than students who were going to be present. I think the attraction was that this was a huge, public university, that the students were leading the protest.
[Interviewer]: Yeah. That was a really vivid picture that you painted of people coming out of their apartments, et cetera, on Main Street and just kind of the crowd gathering and growing bigger as you got onto the front campus. So, when you were at that—when you crossed and were on the campus on that green, at the front hill—was it like a pretty big crowd at that point—you were walking in like a crowd?
[Sandra Janashak Cadena]: Yeah. Yes, yes. I think, you know, there’s all of these, and I don’t know if it’s still like this at this point or not, there are a lot of older homes at the front part of the campus that, you know, students would live in, rent rooms in. Actually, when I went to Kent as a student several years later, I ended up renting a room on that—in one of those older houses. It was, I don’t know, six, seven, eight women that, you know, you couldn’t afford to live on the campus so you didn’t want to live on the campus, and so, but, you couldn’t afford an apartment either. So, you would rent a room in these old houses and I remember as a student, years later, I would—I lived for a couple of semesters in one of those old houses. I rented a room and shared the room, you know, we all shared the kitchen, but shared the room with one other person, so it was pretty inexpensive.
[Interviewer]: Now, that paints a really vivid picture, thank you. But I’m also curious when you were accepted as a nursing student at Kent State later, in 1973, that must have been such a strange experience to be—I mean, that was probably, maybe the first time you had been back on campus since the shootings happened, when you came back as a student?
[Sandra Janashak Cadena]: Yes. I had not been back there since then.
[Interviewer]: That must have—what was that like? That must have been—I think you mentioned you were kind of reliving those memories from that one day. I didn’t know if you—
[Sandra Janashak Cadena]: I—go ahead, I’m sorry.
[Interviewer]: No, no, I’m sorry. I didn’t know if you wanted—if you had any other memories, you’d like to expand on that—what that was like to come back as a student—did you attend any of the commemoration events during your Kent State student days?
[Sandra Janashak Cadena]: No.
[Sandra Janashak Cadena]: No, no I did not. No, I didn’t go to any of those commemorative things—nothing. I remember thinking, “Do people not know what happened here? Do people not remember? It’s as if nothing happened here.” That there was no recognition, no anything. It was just—everything just went back to normal. I remember thinking that.
And actually I have been back to Kent State. I was at Kent State about a year and a half ago, over at the School of Nursing, negotiating with them an international student eaxchange program between Kent’s School of Nursing and the school of nursing that I work with in Colombia, South America.
[Interviewer]: Oh, okay.
[Sandra Janashak Cadena]: And so, I was back not too long ago, and I guess I had the same sense of yes, time moves on, but how is it that this happened and there is like nothing? I mean I know that’s there’s some memorial kind of thing now, but for a long time, there was nothing.
[Sandra Janashak Cadena]: Nothing. A long time there was nothing.
[Interviewer]: In your student days.
[Sandra Janashak Cadena]: It was as if—pardon me?
[Interviewer]: During your student days, there was no memorial yet, right.
[Sandra Janashak Cadena]: No, there was nothing. It was as if it didn’t happen. But so, you know, as a student, I was right there at the corner of University and Lincoln [narrator’s clarification: the narrator means the corner of Main Street and Lincoln] and that’s where the School of Nursing was and I lived across the street and I would walk every day, and got into my studies, and never really talked much with anybody but this one friend that I shared my experiences with. But, there was—everybody had moved on or had never experienced it. It wasn’t something that was openly discussed, by any means.
[Interviewer]: Interesting, yeah. I’m thinking when you say University Boulevard, now I’m thinking you might mean Summit Street which is more at the back of campus. Was that where the nursing school was at the time? Let’s see, near the bookstore, near DuBois Bookstore? Does that ring a bell?
[Sandra Janashak Cadena]: No, no, no. No, the School of Nursing was at the very front of the campus.
[Interviewer]: Okay, okay.
[Sandra Janashak Cadena]: The road that goes like in a semi-circle up the hill.
[Interviewer]: Oh, yeah, yeah. Okay, yeah. You were on the hill.
[Sandra Janashak Cadena]: Yeah, it was on the hill.
[Sandra Janashak Cadena]: It was on the hill. When I was a student there, we used to steal the serving trays from the cafeteria and make sleds out of them and go down the front of—the hill. We would go sled riding.
[Interviewer]: Well, I’m glad—I’m relieved to hear you had some fun during your nursing school days.
[Sandra Janashak Cadena]: Remember, drugs, sex, and rock and roll, you see, so—
[Interviewer]: That hadn’t gone away.
[Sandra Janashak Cadena]: It was not all gloom and doom and so—but that School of Nursing was in, going up that hill, facing the front of the campus on the right-hand side, which you said was Lincoln, so going up that hill on the right-hand side, whatever the name of that building is, I don’t know, I don’t recall. The School of Nursing was down in the basement. For the whole time that I was there.
[Interviewer]: Yeah, that was pretty early day for the School of Nursing. I’m just getting my map out and—
[Sandra Janashak Cadena]: Oh, that’s a good idea. Okay.
[Interviewer]: Franklin Hall? Does that sound familiar?
[Sandra Janashak Cadena]: Yes, that’s it, yes. Yes, it was in Franklin Hall. Yes.
[Interviewer]: Okay, yes right on Lincoln.
[Sandra Janashak Cadena]: Yes, yes, we were in Franklin Hall the whole time that was I was there. So, this brand new, beautiful building that they built at the back of the campus, which is the School of Nursing now, I don’t know when they built that, but it was certainly not in the Seventies.
[Interviewer]: Yeah, no, you were there—
[Sandra Janashak Cadena]: We were there.
[Interviewer]: You were there in the kind of the early days of the School of Nursing. I’m curious, were there any protests that you were aware of going on on campus—were people starting to protest the expansion of the Memorial Gym onto the site where the shootings took place? Was that happening yet before you graduated?
[Sandra Janashak Cadena]: No.
[Interviewer]: Okay, okay.
[Sandra Janashak Cadena]: If there was, quite honestly, my first thought was no.
[Interviewer]: Wasn’t something that was on your radar screen.
[Sandra Janashak Cadena]: No.
[Interviewer]: Okay. And then, the other thing I’m curious about just is—your family during this time. I don’t know if they were aware that day, on May 4, that you were at Kent State or later if they learned that you had been there and you know, you were in danger, or if there’s anything you want to share about kind of reconciling with your family and then they were so proud of you that you graduated from Kent. Just curious about them during this time.
[Sandra Janashak Cadena]: Yeah, interesting question. No, my family had no idea where I was at.
[Interviewer]: Maybe just as well.
[Sandra Janashak Cadena]: Well, and at that point, it was my mother that I had the most conflict with. It was like, you know, don’t tell me, I don’t want to know. I was like, okay. [Unintelligible], you don’t want to know. But my father, on the other hand, a very quiet man, was supportive in his own way. And so, I told him, several years later, where I was. But, they didn’t know, they didn’t know where I was. I don’t even know that they knew where I was living half the time.
My father would check in with me and make sure I was okay and—but, my guess is, probably, unbeknownst to my mom. I became the black sheep of the family, and the focus of their grief as they were going through it. And I understand that now; I didn’t understand it then, of course.
But—yeah, that’s, I have come to some resolution and acceptance from my parents and yes, they were very proud that I graduated and came to my graduation and my graduation little party I gave myself. You know, I’m still a poor student, right, living with this guy and you know, and not much of a party, and not much of an apartment, but hey. You know, I gave myself a party and wore my little white cap and all of that kind of thing.
After I went on to get my master’s degree in psychiatric nursing and started seeing patients and my parents were like, “What do you do, what do you really do?” So, it’s like, okay. This is what I do. But yeah, we’ve come to some acceptance and resolution, I mean years ago, quite honestly, many years ago.
[Interviewer]: Well, thanks for picking up that thread for us. Thank you, we appreciate it. I was curious about them during all these events. I don’t think I have other clarification or follow-up questions. I guess I would just ask if there’s anything else you’d like to talk about that we haven’t covered before we conclude?
[Sandra Janashak Cadena]: I think just one thing that pops into my head and I’ve been at the right place at the right time in many points in my life and in 2010 or 2012, I don’t remember, I’d have to look—I received a Distinguished Alumni Award from the School of Nursing from Kent State.
[Interviewer]: Oh, wow.
[Sandra Janashak Cadena]: Yeah, it’s like, “Oh, wow.” It’s like, “You have no idea from whence I came, you know, where I’m at!” And I remember having the privilege to talk at that awards ceremony. I went there with my husband and my cousin and her husband, and I had an opportunity and shared some of my, you know—and I talked to—it was a lot of students. It was a lot of students that were there and I was real comfortable talking with students at this point in life and I shared some of—I started at this community college and I failed out and, you know, I barely got accepted into this school and I lived in my car off and on to try and make sure that I can finish my program. And by seeing what I’ve been able to do with the help and support of people in my life and how I am now, you know, this well-established, well-funded professor, dah dah dah. It’s like, that’s not how I started, and I had all of these things come my way and some choices I made that were good and some choices I made that were not so good in my life. It was just a nice opportunity to share that with students and so many of them came up to me and it’s like, “Oh my god, you know, we would never know that by looking at you.” I said, “Yeah, I know that.” I know that, you know, I got my wire-rimmed glasses and my lavender suit and I look the part and it’s like, but you can’t tell by looking at people what their histories are.
And so, yeah, so that was kind of a neat opportunity and so I think this was another opportunity to kind of share, maybe some encouragement and hope that you can live through some adversity. Lots of people live through lots of other adversities in life and that sometimes with support and some—a little bit of courage to take on some things that you don’t think you can, and a little bit of luck—that you can utilize and understand things that happen to you and accept them and then perhaps utilize them in ways that you don’t even know how you’re going to be able utilize them as time goes on.
[Interviewer]: Congratulations. And that must have been such an inspiring speech and important thing for those students to hear and for people to know, yeah, the gap between them and you is traversable. Yeah, and you were a self-made woman. You clearly deserved to be honored in that way. You got yourself there. And now you’ve shared this story, your story with the Oral History Project, this will be archived and accessible for students now and well into the future to hear your story, too, so thank you.
[Sandra Janashak Cadena]: Yeah, thank you, Kate, for the opportunity to reflect on my life’s history. Thank you, it is quite the privilege and a pleasure. Thank you.
[Interviewer]: Well, thank you for sharing. And I’ll stop the recording at that point. Thanks so much.
[Sandra Janashak Cadena]: Thank you.
Cadena, Sandra Janashak
High school student in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1970
|Date of Interview||
Sandra Janashak Cadena was a high school student living in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1970. She was active as an anti-war protestor and traveled to Kent to attend the May 4 protest rally on campus. She relates her experiences that day, including seeing large crowds of people walking from the front campus towards The Commons and taking shelter in a bar in downtown Kent after the shootings. She later attended Kent State as a student in the nursing program and an odd twist of fate in 1977 placed her, in her first nursing job, in the same spinal rehabilitation unit where wounded Kent State student, Dean Kahler, was being treated.
|Length of Interview||
|Time Period discussed||
Armored vehicles, Military
High school students--Ohio--Cleveland--Interviews
Kent State Shootings, Kent, Ohio, 1970
Kent State University. School of Nursing
Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements
Special Collections and Archives
This digital object is owned by Kent State University and may be protected by U.S. Copyright law (Title 17, USC). Please include proper citation and credit for use of this item. Use in publications or productions is prohibited without written permission from Kent State University. Please contact the Department of Special Collections and Archives for more information.
Kent State University
|DPLA Rights Statement||
|Format of Original||
audio digital file
The content of oral history interviews, written narratives and commentaries is personal and interpretive in nature, relying on memories, experiences, perceptions, and opinions of individuals. They do not represent the policy, views or official history of Kent State University and the University makes no assertions about the veracity of statements made by individuals participating in the project. Users are urged to independently corroborate and further research the factual elements of these narratives especially in works of scholarship and journalism based in whole or in part upon the narratives shared in the May 4 Collection and the Kent State Shootings Oral History Project.
May 4 Collection