How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Star-crossed: Love in a cross-status relationship

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

A contributor to the Being Latino blog recently published a candid first-person essay about her relationship with her partner and the father of her child, an undocumented immigrant from Guatemala who was deported two years ago.

Nancy Sepulveda wrote:

That was two years and a thousand tears ago. Hours spent scavenging the Internet for immigration information. Wrestling with the idea of moving my children to a third-world country (Guatemala) and sacrificing reliable education and health-care systems, my own fledgling career, and the comparative safety of American life, to reunify our family. The heartache of knowing a separation of thousands of miles and a vicious border meant other romantic interests would inevitably be pursued. Our official breakup, and inability even now to stop the desperate I still love you’s whispered across endless coils of phone line.

I admit we played a role in creating our own tragedy. He chose to come here paperless and I “chose” to love him, and at every subsequent fork in the road we went the wrong way. Why didn’t we get married before he was picked up? I was a college student dependent on financial aid and didn’t want to jeopardize it by including his spousal income. I graduated two months before he was detained.

Read More...

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.

Read More...

Celebrating Día de los Muertos

Photo by Jim Benning


Just as Halloween is almost here, so, too, is Día de los Muertos, the day of the dead.

It amazes me how mainstream the ancient Mexican celebration has become in Los Angeles in recent years. But then, that's the beauty of an immigrant town. The sight of sugar skulls is becoming nearly as commonplace as that of jack-o-lanterns at this time of year, and there is a degree of cultural respect that comes with that. And if one of the central themes of Día de Los Muertos comes across in the translation - that even in death, our loved ones remain a part of our lives - even better.

How to celebrate the holiday (which officially takes place Nov. 1 and 2)?

- LA Eastside has a long list of just about every public event between now and then, including the longstanding Noche de Ofrenda tradition at East L.A.'s Self Help Graphics tonight and the ever-more-enormous annual festival at the Hollywood Forever cemetery, also tonight, about which blogger El Random Hero had this to say:

Read More...