Place Where You Live:

Boyle Heights, Los Angeles, California

Breaking the norms

I remember the day my friends told me Aldo wasn’t coming to class because he had gotten in a bad accident. The cops were all over the 99 cent store in the corner aside from Utah Middle School. The store I would go to after school was now the haunting place my friend got shot.

When I tell people that I am from Boyle Heights they immediately think of how ghetto it is. The community I live in used to be the dangerous projects. Growing up I never felt that my life was in danger as I walked myself to school, across the street from home. Nor did I believe that my community was “ghetto,” but the day I heard about Aldo’s accident I started to consider the possibility that I live in the ghetto.

The word Ghetto means that a part of a city is occupied by a minority group. Was I considered a minority? After Aldo’s accident people in my community were saying that maybe the middle school I went to was the reason he got shot. That the kids were the “ghetto” ones. People within my community were talking bad about each other. How were we going to prosper if our own people have low expectation for us.

I chose to prove them otherwise and I stood up for my community. I started to get involved with my local Boys & Girls Club and as I grew up I was able to do so much with my community. Turkey giveaways for Thanksgiving, toy giveaways for christmas, movie night fundraisers to raise money for our team jerseys and much more. There was so much good going on that our community was now one to want to be part of.

The friends I grew up with are now in different universities including Aldo. We chose to strive for success and not let that one tragedy nor the low expectations scare our dreams away. I am proud to live in the Boyle Heights gated community. My community may have it’s haunted stories, but it was never scary enough to run away from.