People of Northeast Los Angeles: James Robert Gutierrez

My name's James Robert Gutierrez. They used to call me 'Jimmy G.' And I grew up here off Riverside Drive, it's considered Frogtown. It used to be a heavily gang-oriented neighborhood. Now it's gone through dramatic changes in terms of reviving itself, you know? And it has to do with a lot of the people that used to reside in the community or are still there. People want better for themselves, you know? And me and a few other people that I grew up with were able to prosper and develop and have an opportunity to flourish. Some still reside here, some don't, I don't. But I have just come back after 20-something years and I have seen all of the developments and how it's much friendlier than it was before. People are starting to reach out and care. Before we didn't have a community center or as many volunteer services. And I'm thankful that they have something like that. All of the guys that I grew up with have been shot and killed, or are in prison for the rest of their lives. Guys that I know have been in for 30 years. You know, and this is from guys who lived in the avenues. You remember that? That junction on avenues on Drew street? I had two friends that got shot and killed on that street. It's just good to see that there's been a drastic change.

The above interview is transcribed and edited from the following interview:

About People of
Northeast Los Angeles
These are stories from the everyday people that make-up Northeast Los Angeles, particularly the neighborhoods of Atwater Village, Cypress Park, Glassell Park, Lincoln Heights, and Elysian Valley. See some of our featured portraits below, explore by neighborhood, or see all the stories.

About the Author

For the past twenty years, Chilean born Ricardo Palavecino has been developing his skills as a cinematographer working on documentaries, feature films, television shows, and commercials.
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