How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

'Something you see in East L.A.': Signage war highlights an undercurrent of L.A. life

Photo by waltarrrrr/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A bus bound for East L.A. College, October 2009

Have Latino residents in East Los Angeles become offended by a comment made by an Armenian American city council member in Glendale? From the looks of it, yes.

Earlier this week, while discussing a proposed plan to downsize the L.A. suburb's large business signs, Glendale city council member Ara Najarian was quoted as saying:

“It’s a matter of aesthetics...These signs are something you see in East L.A.”

And before you can say "whoops, I didn't mean it that way," a group of East L.A. residents has made plans to descend on Glendale's city council meeting tonight.

Angie Castro, a spokeswoman for Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina's office, said people were calling the supervisor's office to complain. "The residents who are calling feel that this is an insult to the East L.A. community," said Castro, who helped put out a press release about the planned protest. "They are asking for an apology."


East L.A.'s Self Help Graphics is moving

Photo by Memo Pisa El Lodo/Flickr (Creative Commons)

The familiar tile-studded building at the corner of Cesar Chavez Boulevard and Gage Avenue that since the late 1970s has housed Self Help Graphics & Art will no longer be home to the revered art center, an Eastside fixture whose recent years have been rough ones.

On Thursday the center announced its impending move to 1300 E. 1st Street, the site of a former fish packing plant near the L.A. River in Boyle Heights, which it will share with a business that works on large-scale art installations. The move comes three years after the building, which had been owned by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, was sold to a private investment firm that since put it up for sale.

From a news release:

The high cost of rent at 3802 Cesar Chavez in addition to a reduction in the use of space created the need for Self Help to search for a new location. The search also included the serious exploration of purchasing the 3802 Cesar Chavez Avenue building. The move to the new location at 1300 1st Street comes with a substantial decrease in monthly rent.


1970 documentary captured Chicano Moratorium protest

Earlier this week, the Los Angeles Times reported that the L.A. County Sheriff's Department could soon release records pertaining to the death of former Times columnist and KMEX-TV news director Ruben Salazar, killed by a deputy forty years ago last August during a protest in East Los Angeles. Salazar, who was covering the protest, died after being struck on the head by a tear gas projectile fired into a building.

The violent protest during which he was killed, often referred to as the Chicano Moratorium protest to end the Vietnam War, was one of a series of demonstrations organized by the National Chicano Moratorium Committee, activists that between 1969 and 1971 pursued a combined goal of stopping the war and rallying for social justice at home.