East Los Angeles Renaissance Academy

East L.A. barrio: we are all the same

What stands out the most about my community is the culture. East L.A. has mostly a Mexican culture, but it’s also mixed a little bit with other cultures from South and Central America.

The food, music and its people make this community very special and unique from any other parts of the city. While walking down the streets of East L.A., you will find the taqueros, fruteros, nieveros, and can smell the delicious scents of the food, and if you are lucky, you will find someone special in this community. You will find a man selling churros with pride and happiness. He could be singing, telling you jokes or stories; a man loved by many people in our community, someone who you will be glad to know because of his charisma.

Since I come from Mexico, this community has not really impacted me that much because the culture is almost the same; same people and language, but it’s just a little different because of the mixed culture.

Something that I noticed is that East L.A. has a bad reputation and in order to change that we have to work hard and study to change that reputation so people don’t see East L.A. as a minority with criminals and gangsters.

What I see is that all people from East L.A. are always working. Whether in clean or dirty jobs, they have to work in order to make money and provide food, clothes and other sources to their families. There was a time that I was tired of school and I wanted to drop out, but then I remembered the people, even my dad and how they come home all dirty from work, I was like, “Hell no, I don’t want to work in the same jobs as them.” That’s how people in my community have shaped me to be better because I don’t want to live like most of my paisanos, I want to have a better life.

I consider myself as a hard worker as the people from here. We connect by our ethnicity, most of us in this area are Mexicans and combined with others cultures we are all the same, we are all Latinos. We all speak the same language too (Spanish).

Some suggestions that I would have for city planners as they consider some changes in this community is to build some innovated places here, but keep our culture because this is what makes East L.A. special. If they build new buildings/structures, I would recommend them to put more murals or some other kind of art like the ones from Botello that represents our culture. Because at the end of the day we are all the same.