East Los Angeles Renaissance Academy

The good, the bad, and the ugly

Judging by the title of this, you may start to think about how good this paper is going to be. Yeah, I may seem like the typical guy who writes about his struggle growing up in East L.A. but trust me, this is a different kind of story. To many people, East L.A. is nothing more than just the place they live, or just a part of a city. But to me, it’s more than just a place where I live; it’s my home. It defines who I am and has helped shape me into the person I am today. For someone who was not born in East L.A., it’s become a big part of who I am.

I was born in the South Side of Los Angeles. Living there was very hard for my mother as a single parent with two children. There was violence, gangs, pollution, and filthy streets, all the things that a parent generally wouldn’t want their children growing up around. My father left when I was born, so the security that my mom had was gone, and she had to care for herself and two kids in a not-so-safe city. My mom said that she decided to move after all the gangs she’d see outside. She was afraid of what could happen. We moved to an apartment in East L.A. when I was about two years old and lived there for a few years. I was about four years old when we moved again, into a house with a married couple and their kid. Things were good at first, but once I  turned five, I had to attend school, which was the worst for me. School was the worst place for me because I would get bullied. I felt like an outsider. Eventually things got better in school because I made friends and the bullying subsided a bit. After two years of living with the couple, things started to go bad. My mom and the couple got into an argument, and my mom decided to move out again. At this point I started to get more and more familiar with East L.A. We moved to a house by the McDonald’s. This was by far the best place we ever had, with no problems from  the beginning. By then I was roughly seven years old and was doing great in school. My mom made friends with the next-door neighbors and I made friends with the kids around my block. But after something happened between the lady and my mother, we decided to move out again. This time we moved to the City of Commerce, which was pretty far from my school. I was in fourth or fifth grade, but I remember that I had to take the bus with my sister in order to get home. With each day that I had to take the bus, I got more and more familiar with East L.A. Eventually we moved, yeah, again, and we moved to where I live now on Eastern and 5th Street. I started to attend a middle school and started to walk home, which got me even more used to East L.A.

While growing up, you eventually start to see more of the things that this city has, like the gangs the stores and the different languages people speak. East L.A. is something that means a lot to me because it’s my home. It’s where I was raised, and where I learned a lot. What I mean by that is that I didn’t know about a lot of stuff in the world, but meeting people changed my perspective of how people are. It actually made me see how East L.A. really is. To me, East L.A. is a decent place to live because there’s always worse. But to be honest, it’s not somewhere I want to live or want my mom or future family to live.

I’ve seen stuff in the streets ever since I was in middle school that showed me it isn’t that good of a place. I’ve seen prostitution, people getting robbed, men trying to take women into their car, sex in public, murder, and vehicle pursuits. On the street where I live, there have been at least five crime scenes. This makes me rethink the whole idea of wanting to live here.

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