What do people envision when they think of East Los Angeles? Do they perhaps envision an impoverished area with crime, or do they imagine a tight-knit community where everyone knows everyone and share the same customs?
I feel that when people who weren’t born in East L.A. or have never visited picture something like what is presented in films. A place full of gang members where a lot of the places don’t look so clean-cut, where you are in danger of being robbed or beaten. But that isn’t the reality of things.
As the years have progressed, East L.A. has become something very different. In the past decades this place wasn’t the best, but something in the people changed. We’ve become dreamers. Before a lot of people might not have felt that they had a chance of going to college, but now that is what is expected of the new generation.
We are no longer being held back by the people around us, instead we are being pushed. Pushed to make this city a wonderful place, pushed to becoming the best that we can so that we may come back and help our fellow citizens.
The thought of being able to fix problems here, social or economic, are no longer out of reach. Our schools have become better at inspiring kids to pursue a higher education, and we have been getting even more help because people are noticing the potential that is inside of all of us. For that I am very thankful. This place is rich with experiences.
Living here has taught me so many things that I expect will help me out in life. Growing up without a father, and a disability has been tough. Yet my mother and the rest of my family made sure that I felt no different from the kids around me. Combine that with living in a place like the east side, and I really wouldn’t be thought of as a person who will achieve much.
But as I’ve stated before, things are changing. These days I can count on a variety of school staff, programs, peers, and my family to support me on my journey towards a great university. And this isn’t just my reality. It is a reality for all of these students here, and I think that that is really amazing. But as amazing as it is there have been a couple of challenges living here.
This place is what I consider to be my home, but that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t strive to leave it. This place, my home, is still an impoverished area, which means that many resources are still unavailable to us.
The schools are great, but some of them don’t get enough funding. This results in schools not having programs, for example they might not have music programs, afterschool programs, or money for different types of materials that students could be needing. The surrounding areas might not be as clean since we aren’t an affluent area and don’t receive as much attention as they do. Of course there are also dangerous people, and not so great areas, but almost every place has their own problems. You just have to know what steps to take to be safe.
East L.A. isn’t as dangerous as it used to be. It has gone down a lot. Most of the people here are very kind and the stereotypes shouldn’t turn anyone away.
This is what I essentially view East L.A. as. It may not be the best, or the most action packed, but this is what I have seen, and it is how I have experienced my life here, and I hope you like it.