Production of The Great Wall of Los Angeles aligned perfectly with the changing demographics in the San Fernando Valley. The mural - which began in 1974 when the Valley was still predominantly Anglo middle-class - illustrates the lives and struggles of ethnically and economically diverse peoples, including immigrants and working-class families. The mural in a way served as a half-mile welcoming mat, depicting interracial harmony and hearkening the histories and concerns of these new people, affirming their place in the Valley.
The educational value of the mural is respected, celebrated and shared by all. While underrepresented histories are omitted in classrooms, they are illustrated proudly in the Great Wall of Los Angeles. Panels depicting the likes of baby boomers and braceros offer a glimpse into personal struggles and achievements that are otherwise unheralded. Those with the good fortune to live near the wall can appreciate it as a constant reminder of their own place in history.
Francis Garcia: An Educational Tool
Francis Garcia explains how she uses the Great Wall to educate her children about history and the historical relationship between Mexico and the United States.
Sonia Amaya: Personally Touched by History
Sonia Amaya talks about the emotional evocation of the Great Wall and the histories it represents.
Ronald Franklin describes the San Fernando Valley's demographic shift from a predominantly anglo community over the decades and how he encourages people to visit the Great Wall.
Marissa Contreras: Growing Up Along the Wall
Marissa Contreras recalls growing up near the Great Wall and the impression it made on her at a young age.
Sarah Burns: Remembering the Positive
Sarah Burns speaks about the intrigue of the Great Wall from a foreign policy standpoint.