Color Compton Internship
Five local Compton youth participated in our 9-week internship that introduced Compton's history and the importance of highlighting local black and brown stories. Students used film and video to create and highlight their own local stories around Compton. Student participants are:
Angela Arciniega, 17
Karina Gonzalez, 17
Erick Grajeda, 18
Emily Hernandez, 19
Noel Lopez, 18
Dulce Prado, 17
Angela Arciniega, 17
A Night on Compton Blvd
The most unique aspect of Compton is their culture when it comes to food. It plays a huge role when it comes to the community of Compton. Here I captured the food trucks and cook workers that are displayed on Compton Blvd during the evening. These people serve varieties of foods like: tacos, birria, seafood, aguas, crepes, and many more.
In these pictures, I try to emphasize their stories and the impact these food trucks have on the Compton community. The food trucks have an impact not only on me but families. The way the food trucks are known to unite families. They bring that energy of bringing people together and having a meal. Just looking forward to eat a delicious taco outside and be with family or a friend defines one of the most pleasant aspects of our community. To add on, local businesses are being supported which is an important topic discussed on minorities. Supporting these businesses have a lot of more meaning and impact that you’d actually think.
This story is important due to the fact that we ignore the negative connotation that surrounds Compton. We don’t talk about the gang or violence that is always brought up. We are more than gang members. In addition, we help each other to make us as one.
Karina Gonzalez, 17
All students go through personal trials and tribulations, the one thing that sets these students apart is them being first generation here in this country. They’re attempting to come to a compromise between attaining their personal dreams and setting a concrete foundation for themselves and their family in a foreign country. Being the first here with access to a brighter future and very hopeful parents, there is a responsibility for them to plant deep roots for other generations to come so that they can have a solid foundation. Coming from a low income community exposes them to individual experiences which will shape their future while being inclined to fulfill the unfulfilled dreams their parents brought here with them from their home countries.
My name is Erick Grajeda, an 18-year-old aspiring cinematographer and student. It is with great pride that I finally am able to wear my heritage on my sleeve, being Latino comes with it's challenges but the ability to find sympathy with others around me makes it worth while. I was born in Rochester, New York but I am incredibly grateful to have been raised within SELA, more specifically the South Gate/Lynwood areas. I hope to strive to fuel my people into an age of artful cognizance and passionate undertaking.
The project I have dubbed Dreams is a photo series that depicts the dreams of my family and their realization of them. I have them juxtaposed against their living establishments and their passionate dreams. To my surprise, some other their dreams were incredibly practical as teenagers, nothing fantastical or hard to reach. Yet, coming as undocumented immigrants some dreams are harder to reach than others.
3. The overall story I am trying to highlight is a call to action to the disenfranchised youth of the future: to trailblaze the path of fulfillment as one generation has fallen and laid the foundation of survival. I believe our coming generation must build on this foundation and raise us higher than ever before. For example, my uncle, Tony, is pictured next to his car which might seem a little odd to think this represents anything. However, my uncles dream as a child in Mexico was to have a car and he much rather loved Mexico more than America. Why? Because he felt like an outsider being in America as a brown Mexican teenager, he thinks that his trip here stripped him of his youth. My uncle, Florentino, sleeping on a couch is representative of his 'nothing' dream he didn't know what he wanted as a kid. Completely lost and bold his dream lies forever dormant.
This story is incredibly important because as we stand alone in our path, it is very easy to feel like you're the only one that has ever dreamed of something bigger. Like if you're the only person in your family, neighborhood, or community: that wants something greater of yourself. When in fact, this isn't the case. Most of our community has fallen victim to the pressures of racial stigmatization, marginalization, and displacement. I believe the dream of the disenfranchised community that holds America together, is to give the youth a chance to fulfill the passions inside of us
Hatchweys: La Familia Hernández
Compton has had a huge gang-affiliated reputation. From news outlets focusing on all the violence in this city to rappers helping craft a global notion of Compton being a battle zone of survival. Yet people outside of the city, do not know of the other layer of citizens that reside here. Yes, there are gangs in Compton, but they’re are gangs in other cities throughout the United States. There are families here, there are future change-makers, there are people in Compton. My project is a satirical piece on this notion. I have used Compton’s perceived image to showcase that there are actual families here when you look past the gangs. I used my own family, and we constructed our own gang, Hatchweys. I used commonly known gang traits and put our own family traditions twist on it (i.e drug dealing replaced with tamales). However, I also wanted to know what were possible reasons that this image came about. I decided to interview my mother who has lived in Compton since she was 6 years old about the history of Compton’s gang life along with her stance on the present. I believe that my story is important because it helps uncover and change the negative connotations of Compton. It will inspire others who reside in the city that there are reasons to love and cherish it. Overall all, it will hopefully get rid of Compton’s toxic image, and allow for it to recognized as a great city with a rich history,
Located exactly in the geographical center of the Los Angeles County.
Compton was settled in 1867 by a group of families, in search of new way to make a living. They found the land cold and wet, had to travel for days in order to find a market and usable firewood, but despite these hardships, they still worked hard in order to survive.
Over a century later, in the midst of a pandemic, this hardworking ethos is still the lifeblood of Compton.
Naturally, due to our location, the Metro Blue line runs straight through our city. To most, they hear or see the Metro going over the bridge on Rosecrans and don't think much about it. But every time I hear it, I can't help but to think of how despite the blend of cultures that are present in every train car, the idea of hard work is constant. Having been a TAP Card holder for most of my life, I have been one of the many hardworking people we can find on the Blue Line.
My experience in taking the metro as a primary mode of transportation for a good part of my life has been nothing but positive. Going to and from school on the metro, I've seen college students, construction workers, nurses, street vendors, musicians, and even a poet all under the same roof of a train car. Because of this, the idea of public transportation, more specifically the Metro, has a diligent and hardworking connotation to me.
Essentially, I want to symbolically highlight the culture of hard work that exists in Compton through this series of old video footage and film photos of the Metro Blue Line. I believe that it is important to emphasize this part of the people in our city because they are often overlooked. Our cities history of gang violence and drug trafficking has given as a negative portrayal in the media that we can’t seem to change regardless of what happens. I hope that this piece can be one of the many pieces of work that can change the narrative of Compton.
A Place to Live in the Moment
My idea for this project was to draw attention to the parks and how sometimes in our community people might look down upon them. But, a positive side of the parks is that people go there to enjoy themselves and have a break from reality for a minute. These people going there all have different stories and reasons why they decide to go to the park at that moment. I wanted to show that there’s a good part of these parks and how just going can cause an experience and memory that you can cherish.
The story I am trying to highlight is that even for a moment going to the parks can make an impact on your life because if you observe you can see how all of these people go there for different reasons and have their own stories. When I talked to my friend Anthony who grew up going to parks on a daily basis. The memory he remembers very well is that he felt peaceful there and saw an opportunity to meet new people to the point where homeless people that lived there knew him. In my personal experience when I was younger I remember love going to the park because it was easy for me to talk to others and make friends quickly. Now when I go to parks just to take a break from reality I see the happiness in kids' faces when they play and it makes me think that we were all that innocent at some point. I feel like now I have a different POV of everything when going to the parks but I remember that it did not really matter to me when I was younger because I made the best out of it.
I like to believe that this is important because the parks in the community make a bigger impact that people realize. The parks are mostly homes to our local homeless people or just a place where we go to enjoy time together. People look down upon them because of their appearance and rather go to other parks in other cities. When thinking about it we should help the parks appear better and make it safer for children. If people don’t demand things for our parks or go to our parks most of the time they are forgotten. I feel as the city is evolving we should include parks to work on because we have to remember we have future generations that can create memories there just as we did.