By Suzanna Franek
"...One day I stopped by the house during my lunch hour to check on the construction progress and noticed a gang tag on my side porch. Etched into a thick layer of dust were the initials ‘CYS’. Instead of waiting another few weeks for construction to finish, with my 5-year old in tow, and another sister and niece who were living with us at the time, we pulled the bare necessities together and moved in the next day. I too was staking claim to territory. ..."
By Maria Fernandez
"... The gun battle that followed between the the Salcedas and the Valdovinos left only one wounded man on the Valdovinos's side; but nothing was ever the same. Most of the Valdovinos clan had to move to another town. Aureliano's family home and his father's land had to be sold. Aureliano missed his friends, and working on his father's fields, but more than anything he missed Esther. ..."
By Trace Richardson
"... Zula Mae was made in Mississippi. Her ‘sippie roots made her tough for hard times. She taught the family what it meant to love unconditionally and not be afraid to do so. She was born to sharecroppers. Her parents where a mix of Cherokee Indians, whites and African slaves. Her granddaddy had been a slave as a boy, and could never talk about his experience during slavery without crying. ..."
By Jian Huang
"... He only ever spoke enough English to get by at his motel job, but never had the opportunity to learn more. My mother on the other hand didn’t speak any, so by default I was the family’s representative. I struggled with how to translate the word “seizure.” I translated the diagnosis as a malfunction of the brain. The word “lost” I translated into “disappeared” so to clear up any ambiguities about recovery. My dad, who was 65 then, seemed to understand. He turned his head away from me after hearing these words. My mom, who was mostly deaf, didn’t bother to ask me to repeat into her ear what I had just said; she guessed from the looks on our faces. ..."
By Susanna Fránek
"... I was working for the Spanish-language daily that catered to the immigrants of the “lost decade” of Mexican economic stagnation, and Central Americans who were fleeing civil wars. My early clients were small businessmen. There were the Iranians who had fled the new Islamic Republic that came to power in 1979. Savvy entrepreneurs that they were, they set up shop in Hispanic neighborhoods, learned Spanish, and sold electronics, appliances and other household goods. ..."
By Cecelia Flores
"... One of the girls saw us drinking one night in the dressing room and told on five of us. When Bob called me into his office he told me that I was fired. He then told me he would talk to the Fenton brothers on my behalf. I told him thanks but no thanks. I’d had enough. ..."
By Joanne Mestaz
"...There is a temporary society that forms daily on buses all over L.A. Unspoken rules apply. Find a seat and mind your own business. When something unusual happens on the bus – and that happens everyday – you behave as if it were ordinary. If you get involved in nonsense on the bus, you are on your own. ..."
By Brian Rivera
"... We stopped at a mini-mall in San Ysidro. Blocks away, were parking lots for individuals who preferred to walk across the border. Oscar stayed with Luis. Luis handed me his birth certificate and his California I.D. I gave him a hug. He gave me his blessing. ..."
By Susanna (Whitmore) Franek
"...Instead, after two days of trekking in the rain through Prague on my own – in the worst storm of the century – letting my intuition guide me, I acquiesced, realizing I had fallen in love at first sight with a partially blind man. ..."
By Jose Nunez
"...We passed the corner house where a girl named Gerri used to live. Once, her brothers got into it in the middle of the street. Their mother went into the house and came out with a monkey wrench. She looked mad enough to swing at their heads. Instead, she smashed the windshield to her oldest son’s Impala. That stopped the fight. ..."
By Olivia Segura
"... He walked up the stairs and saw men in suits rushing in and out of the glass doors. He saw, too, his own reflection – a farm boy in work clothes. He turned and headed down the stairs and found a hotel facing City Hall offering rooms for two dollars a night. He sat on the twin bed and re-counted the money saved from his work in the farmlands of California. Miguel hid most of the money in a sock and placed it in a jacket in the closet. He headed back to Broadway where he paid 35 cents for a full meal at a cafeteria called Clifton’s. He bought a navy blue suit, white shirt and tie at a shop nearby, and then headed to Plaza Olvera for a haircut and a shoeshine. ..."
By Susanna (Whitmore) Fránek
"... Yet I couldn’t keep my mind off the photograph of Peter and Lettie Mae, most likely taken when they first met or had just married – the union of two cultures that was just beginning to mix and create what became Los Angeles. ..."
By Johnathan Quevedo
"...Then my car's transmission went out, so I had to take the train to work. I had to be there at 6 am.
One day, I was walking to the Blue Line station in Compton, when an SUV with four Latino gang members passed me as I was at the intersection. The passenger held a gun out the window and said, "Don't move, motherfucker!" They were talking directly to me, as if they knew me personally. ..."
By Richard Gatica
"...The day before I killed Donald Evans I did not even know he existed. The day he died I was smoking crack cocaine and when I smoke crack, nothing else matters. Not family, not friends – not even God. ...
At the time, I was out of money and robbing drug dealers on the streets of Los Angeles. ..."