“The week of November 14, 2016, nearly 4,000 students from about 18 schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District participated in walkouts against the president elect’s selection. As in the 1960s and ‘70s, students gathered at landmarks like Mariachi Plaza, Lincoln Park and city hall for rallies. In photos circulated across news and social media, one student was seen holding a sign that said, ‘I can’t make my parents proud if they’re not here.'”
The sign illuminates eight lanes of the neighboring 710 Freeway. In contrast to the new monument to luxury, the gritty Long Beach Freeway leads into the post-industrial heart of Southeast Los Angeles. Thousands of eighteen-wheelers trucking in the majority of exports into the United States from the Pacific Rim make this the busiest highway with the most accidents in the state. The transported goods that make their way into every store across the country all pass by the Bicycle Club and the thousands of families who live along it.
After the “Radical Body Love for Young Riot Grrls” workshop led by facilitator Gloria Lucas, one of the campers said, “I love my body!” Volunteers also said they heard girls say, “I’m not ashamed to be round. No soy gorda.”
Chicas Rockeras is the kind of group that all families, politicians, nonprofits, and teachers should know about and support immediately. Like the Southeast Los Angeles Colectivo, like the Alivio Open Mic, like Communities for a Better Environment, Chicas Rockeras is made up of people from the southeast and their allies who are stepping up and organizing their communities, not waiting for anyone to come and save them.
After five presidents and three recessions, El Pescador seafood restaurants are more popular than ever. Read my new essay on immigrant hustle, family lineage, and the multiple dazzling skills of restaurateurs in southeast LA. Gracias!
As part of an ongoing project about the importance of the 710 corridor in Los Angeles, Vickie Vertiz contributed an article about the arts, teachers, and artists in Southeast Los Angeles, where she grew up. She names a few writers who also document the lives of the people in Southeast L.A., such as Steve Gutierrez’s short stories in Live from Fresno y Los and in Hector Tobar’s book, Translation Nation.
While the 710 freeway is considered the backbone of commerce in Southern California, the Southeast L.A. region is rich with writers, visual artists, amazing public school teachers, and community art activists. Read the article here.