Being raised in East L.A. with a Mexican family, I am told to show respect and treat others the way you want to be treated. I was also raised with the mentality that if I want something I need to work for it, and not to expect anything in return. That was one of the few things I remember my father telling me. That really stuck with me because that’s exactly what I do. If I have to get something done, I try my very best to get that done. Living in East L.A. taught me a lot of valuable lessons, and I found it very helpful. To this day I still think that East L.A. will always be my home.
For as long as I can remember my brothers and I would play with my cousins that lived in the back house. The whole time we lived on Alma Avenue. We tried making the best of each night. We all grew up watching football because of how much we liked the sport. We made a NFL sign on the middle of the street and played with all the kids on the block all night. Although at times we ended up fighting, we would still be back there the next day ready to start a new adventure. So, a place that makes East L.A. important to me is the block I grew up on.
When people ask me what’s a well-known place in East L.A., I respond with El Pino. When my family members would come out to visit, my brothers, cousins, and I would have them walk with us to El Pino. We would tell them, “Tienen que ir al Pino para poder decir que si vinieron a East L.A.” They would respond, “You have a point, let’s go!” El Pino is very important to me because we would always love going up there just to see the view. It was a nice feeling. There would be a bunch of kids going up the stairs to make it to the top. El Pino is the place I like to show off to people because it has a special place in my life.
Another place I like to show off is the church on 3rd Street, Our Lady of Lourdes. When I was young, my Aunt Guille would take me to church almost every Sunday. Sometimes my mom joined us and it made everything better. If my aunt couldn’t go, my neighbors Mary and George took me. It was a nice experience every time especially when we walked to church. Since we all knew each other around the block, there would always be someone to say hi to when we walked there. Going to church on Sundays gave me get a connection to East L.A. because it was close to me. I felt in a way safer because in that church my family and friends celebrated our baptisms and quinceaneras. Our moments there were so peaceful and it brought us together as a family. Although now I don’t go so often to church, I still feel that connection to it and L.A.
When it comes to making East L.A. better, I would say that we the people make it better and we are the ones who decide how we form our city. So I try to set a good image for East L.A. I like to know that East L.A. is known for its good parts, not just its “bad” parts. This makes me feel more proud of being born and raised in East L.A.