East Los Angeles Renaissance Academy

A beautiful struggle living in East Los Angeles

As a little kid, I can remember vividly going over to my aunt’s house in La Puente. In my aunt’s side of the family, there were kids my age whom I didn’t really know much and they would always ask me where I lived. When I would tell them that I lived in East L.A., they didn’t really seem to know much about it besides it being “ghetto.”

Obviously I was completely blind to this idea of East L.A., the helicopters hovering in the sky like a bird, police sirens dashing through the streets, gunshots sounding like fireworks, and the gang violence was all normal to me; it was something that I was already used to for as long as I could remember. But what my community doesn’t have its negative sides?

Growing up in a place like this shaped me to be the person I am today. Being surrounded by these types of things every day made me stronger physically and mentally. Whether it was realizing the right path to go in life or even just making it past 18 because there are many people in my community that didn’t even make it past the age.

Living here even taught many residents to be street smart, to know your surroundings and to know what and not to do. Aside from all this I can say that I feel proud to be from East L.A. and am also proud to call this my home.

Our culture, our people, our history, and every single thing that makes up East L.A. is unique. East L.A. is a place of its own and there is definitely nowhere like it. Special events like the Mexican Parade and historical landmarks such as Whittier Boulevard are the things that display my community’s deep culture, uniqueness, and unity that you can’t find anywhere else but in good old East L.A.

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