E pluribus unum-Latin for “Out of many, one” -is a 13-letter traditional motto of the United States, adopted by an Act of Congress in 1782. Though never codified by law, E pluribus unum was considered a de facto motto how people from all over the world, of many cultures and religions, became one nation, the American nation.
Boyle Heights History
Boyle Heights is a neighborhood east of Downtown Los Angeles in the City of Los Angeles, California. It is Los Angeles oldest neighborhood and was once the Ellis Island of the West Coast, USA, from where E pluribus became unum.
Few Los Angelinos, including the current residents, know the history of Boyle Heights, which easily can claim a rich convergence of European, Asian, Latino, Jewish, African cultures. Really, everybody American, passed through this neighborhood.
Despite housing discrimination, crime and the largest freeway interchange system in the country in its midst, Boyle Heights survived. Today, Boyle Heights’ locals are looking forward with hope of satisfactory urban growth, while continuing to connect with and inspire diverse cultures.
The other day I was invited to ‘CASA 0101’ Theatre, located in the heart of Boyles Heights, to attend one of the world premieres of ‘Remembering Boyles Heights‘, a play created and devised by Josefina Lopez, Corky Dominguez and the ensemble cast, directed by Directed by Corky Dominguez.
The play, an audience participatory, with emphasis on political activism and neighborhood gentrification debates, unlocks the early history, stories and memories of Boyle Heights’ years gone by.
The theatrical story, a mixture of ethnic groups and cultures that over the years have first set foot in this neighborhood, to have left a deep foot print that formed the all-round character of this historical barrio. The story of America; a story of religions, ethnic cultures and coexistence melting pot of Europeans, Asian, Spanish, Jewish, African, legendary matzah-ball soup holidays treat.
The play, using much modern 21st century lingo, some provocative, is a joyful, sad and angry, yet hopeful, call for better political leadership and quaint neighborhood life.
Boyle Heights, a pioneering neighborhood, a magnate of all ethnicities, is calling for its revival through the vibrancy of the play. The play strongly reminds us what we so often forget: that collectively, Americans are one nation under God, with liberty and justice for all.
The Boyle Heights Museum, co-founded by Josefina López and Dr. George J. Sanchez, a USC Professor of History and American Studies, is in the Jean Deleage Gallery, located in the lobby of CASA 0101 Theater. The exhibit will put the viewer in the atmosphere of the play to come.
I took a long walk in the ‘CASA 0101’ Theatre vicinity and I was mightily impressed by the clean-up this neighborhood, for many years known to be crime entrenched, has gone through.
‘Remembering Boyles Heights’ tells the story, to perfection, of dreams come true, of victorious future, America so generously gave to so very many.
Visit Boyle Heights, see ‘Remembering Boyles Heights‘ and contribute to the revival of this re-emerging neighborhood.