Key Art of "Summer of Rockets" featuring Keeley Hawes and Toby Stephens.

Summer of Rockets

Start watching
6HWbNHN-show-poster2x3-c7tgE2Y.png

Artbound

Start watching
FZG3mkG-show-poster2x3-nOossfs.png

SoCal Update

Start watching
millionaire still

KCET Must See Movies

Start watching
MZihTLV-show-poster2x3-5CKaGu8.jpg

Independent Lens

Start watching
MJ250sC-show-poster2x3-Bflky7i.png

Tending Nature

Start watching
Southland Sessions

Southland Sessions

Start watching
HvlSxHY-show-poster2x3-4ik43uV.png

Earth Focus

Start watching
City Rising

City Rising

Start watching
Lost LA

Lost LA

Start watching
Member
Your donation supports our high-quality, inspiring and commercial-free programming.
Support Icon
Learn about the many ways to support KCET.
Support Icon
Contact our Leadership, Advancement, Membership and Special Events teams.

Erick Huerta: 'There's No Place Like Boyle Heights'

Support Provided By
Erick-Huerta.jpg

KCET Departures asks, "What's your or your family's Los Angeles arrival story?"

Today, we hear from Erick Huerta, East Los Angeles College journalism student and member of Dream Team Los Angeles:

"I remember falling asleep inside my uncle's car in Michoacán only to wake up in Boyle Heights hours later. Up until then, my mom, two younger sisters and I were living at my great grandma's ranch. All I remember from the few months we spent there was running all over the place, catching chickens for the occasional molé and swimming in a stream as my mom washed clothes on rocks further up.

"Staying with family was the best recourse my parents could have taken as we prepared to immigrate to the U.S. My father couldn't afford to take us all at once of course, thus he went on ahead to find work and secure a place for us to stay until everything was ready.

"We originally lived in Mexico City in some apartments. To make a living, my parents had a fruit stand in one of the local Tianguis. It was the kind of community in which the entire village would raise each other's child, that's how well everyone knew each other. Memories of those days are far and few in between, but just like all of the rest, they're romanticized. I tried comparing them with Google Earth, but they just don't match.

"And so, for the last 20 years I've been living in and out of Boyle Heights as an undocumented immigrant. I always considered myself an adoptive son of Boyle Heights, one of the oldest -- and depending what year -- most diverse communities in all of Los Angeles, because this is where I first landed. My family was among the growing trend of immigrants coming to the U.S. and settling into the greater East L.A. area, but we never stayed in one place for too long.

"Over the years, my family bounced around a lot, following work wherever it would take us. Whether it was Central and 91st in Florence-Graham or apartment buildings in Long Beach. To a house in Willowbrook and back to apartments in Inglewood for a bit, followed up by more apartments in Pico Union and finally ending up back in Boyle Heights to a modest house with a yard. We always managed to stay together as family no matter how cramped up we were.

"Out of all the different communities and parts of this city I've lived in, to me there's no place like Boyle Heights. Spending the last couple of years reporting/blogging on all the amazing artist and community members that make up this great neighborhood, I've been writing about the changes that are happening and challenging the ignorant stereotypes that outsiders continue to have about us in person and online. I've gotten to meet residents that have lived in BH since the `20s and some who are newer, but have just as much love and passion for the barrio. And while I won't be settling down any time soon, Boyle Heights will still be waiting for me when I'm ready."

-- Erick Huerta
(as emailed to Jeremy Rosenberg)

Visit Erick Huerta's blog, Just A Random Hero, here.

Top photo by Rafael Cardenas, courtesy of Erick Huerta.

Support Provided By
Read More
Chiqui Diaz at work advocating to end social isolation | Courtesy of Chiqui Diaz

Youth Leaders Making a Difference Honored by The California Endowment

The Youth Awards was created in 2018 to recognize the impact youth voices have in creating change throughout California. Learn more about the positive work they're accomplishing throughout the state.
A 2011 crime scene in Tulare County, where one of Jose Martinez's victims was found. | Courtesy of Marion County Sherff’s Office via FOIA/Buzzfeed

California's Unincorporated Places Can Be Poor, Powerless — and the Perfect Place to Commit Murder

It's time to do better by communities that don’t even have local police to call, let alone defund.
Protesters confront police outside the 3rd Police Precinct on May 27, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota after the George Floyd killing | Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

In California, A History of Young, Powerful Voices in Journalism Emerge

In the Golden State, the youth have a long history of storytelling that uncovers little-heard narratives.