East Los Angeles Renaissance Academy

Giving back

East L.A. is significant to me for a couple of reasons. It started off with the opportunity it gave my dad, but before getting to that point, here’s a little history that would help you understand this more.

My dad came from a little pueblo in Jalisco called Teocaltiche. He didn’t suffer much from poverty at an older age, but he saw his older brothers come to the United States so he decided to do the same, not only for a better life, but also for more opportunities. Being an immigrant in this country is really hard due to the fact that you don’t have the same advantages or privileges as someone who was born here. Fortunately, East Los Angeles gave my father a chance by giving him a job and letting him obtain experience, but even before that chance, the story takes us back to my grandpa.

My grandpa used to work in Calvary Cemetery. He was well known as Don Jose. He didn’t have it easy. The only tools given to him were a shovel and a talache. Those hard working days would only get him 35 cents an hour. Sounds like a little, but it was more than what he used to make back in his pueblo. The reason he decided to leave his family behind is the same reason most immigrants decide to do so. The money he used to earn working in the cosechas (crops) wasn’t enough to take care of a family of 10, including my grandma. The money earned here, plus the money my grandma and her sons took home, was enough to satisfy them. Without the job that was given to him in this country, who knows where they would had ended up?

East Los Angeles is the land of opportunities for almost every immigrant that has in mind work and family. People risk coming to this city because they believe they have a chance here. They know they’ll find one way or another to make money and help themselves. Thanks to that I live the life that I have right now. If it wasn’t for my grandpa and the chance East Los Angeles allows my family, who knows where we would be right now. I probably would be living in Mexico, repeating my dad’s childhood or probably even worse. Even though I don’t live in East L.A. now, I still have a lot to give back to it. I have to give back for my grandpa, dad, uncles, and the life it gave to me.