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Museum Opening in Response to Historical Amnesia and Gentrification in Boyle Heights


Alhambra , CA United States

Boyle Heights, CA – JOSEFINA LOPEZ, the award-winning playwright and screenwriter, the creator of the pop culture play and film, Real Women Have Curves, and the Founding Artistic Director of CASA 0101 Theater has joined forces with Dr. George Sanchez, History and American Studies Professor at USC, to create the Boyle Heights Museum in response to historical amnesia and gentrification in Boyle Heights.


The First exhibit will be titled “Aqui Estamos Y No Nos Vamos (We Are Here and We Won’t Leave): Fighting Mexican Removal of the 1930s” and will highlight when Mexican immigrants and Mexican Americans in Boyle Heights fought against their removal to make way for ‘progress’ in the 1930s in Los Angeles.

Our opening reception will be held on October 1, 2017 at 1pm. Dr. George Sanchez will be discussing the repatriation period in Los Angeles and its effects on the Boyle Heights community. The Boyle Heights community fought against their removal but even then, repatriation and banishment occurred. There will be a special presentation honoring the work of Dr. Francisco Balderrama, for his scholarship on 20th Century Mexicans in the United States, specifically with his work on the repatriation period in Los Angeles. A reception will follow.

Josefina López, Artistic Director of CASA 0101 Theater says, “A museum about Boyle Heights is important and necessary because young people in this community have very little knowledge of the rich immigrant history of this community because it had always been portrayed as a ghetto by the mainstream media. The Boyle Heights Museum housed at CASA 0101 Theater would be a powerful partnership because theater can make history come alive. Theater goers will discover Boyle Heights history and history buffs will discover the magic of theater. It’s a winning combination. The Boyle Heights Museum will also serve as an affirmation of the contribution Mexican-Americans have made to this country. We want young people in our community to have pride in their community and we want new residents of Boyle Heights to have a powerful context so they appreciate the culture and history of this community.”

Dr. George J. Sanchez, USC Professor of History and American Studies says, “the history of Boyle Heights has long been recognized as one of the most important in defining a new American reality of life in a diverse, working class community in the United States. The Boyle Heights Museum will bring this rich history to life for people living in the community, as well as a broader audience of Angelinos interested in how people fought to have immigrants and people of all backgrounds living together. It will also show that groups and individuals from Boyle Heights have learned to fight for their rights amidst often hostile surroundings and forces
wanting to tear the community apart. We are delighted to have the opportunity to bring the stories of the past to current residents through this exciting partnership with CASA 0101 Theater.”

Curated by Dr. George Sanchez, Co-Curated by Jimmy Centeno and Dr. Priscilla Leiva, Michelle Vasquez, Yesenia Navarrete Hunter, Brittany Aquino, Yaneiry Barrios, Matthew Carrera, Alejandra Franco, Karla Hernandez, Karen Kwon, Kathy Pulupa, Savannah Robinson, Ivonne Rodriguez, and Samantha Sanchez.


The Boyle Heights Online Museum is an interactive platform dedicated to sharing the rich history of the Boyle Heights community. Information on each historical and cultural exhibit is available on the online platform. Learn about the history of Boyle Heights and share your own story on the interactive site. You can access community stories, educational materials, and public programming at https://www.boyleheightsmuseum.org. Our online grand opening is scheduled for September 21st, 2017.


There will be exhibits at the Jean Deleage Gallery happening every five to six months. The next exhibit scheduled March 1st will focus on the 50th Anniversary of the Walk Outs which will coincide with a theater show called Chicanas, Cholas & Chisme: The Blow Outs – commemorating this historic event as well as acknowledging the contributions of Chicanas in this historical event. A play titled Remember Boyle Heights written by Josefina Lopez will celebrate Boyle Heights immigrant histories by dramatizing real life stories that celebrate the multi-culturalism in Boyle Heights before World War II. This play will be presented next year at CASA 0101 Theater’s mainstage. The ultimate goal is to eventually raise awareness, interest and the funds to purchase a building that will permanently house the Boyle Heights Museum so that it can exist as its own separate organization. Future exhibits will be about the lynching of Mexicans in the Southwest, the Zoot Suit Riots and the election of Councilman Roybal who eventually challenged the housing covenants not allowing minorities to live west of the L.A. River.


Josefina is the Founding Artistic Director of CASA 0101 Theater in Boyle Heights which is celebrating its 15th anniversary. She was born in Mexico, but at age five was brought to the U.S. by her parents and grew up in Boyle Heights. Josefina was undocumented for thirteen years and was a “Dreamer” long before that term was adopted. She calls Boyle Heights her home and always thought it was a great neighborhood even before all the hype and the Metro came. At CASA 0101 her commitment is to present plays that celebrate and shatter the myths and stereotypes of Women and Latinos. Josefina teaches playwriting and screenwriting to a new generation of Latino and women artists at Casa 0101. Her latest literary work is titled An Enemy of the Pueblo which is a modern day feminist adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s play An Enemy of the People which is about taking a stand and speaking truth to power, will premiere at CASA 0101 Theater on October 20th and will run until November 12th. Josefina is also a chef, restaurateur and co-owner of CASA FINA RESTAURANT & CANTINA just two blocks west of Casa 0101 Theater. She is currently working on several literary projects including the musical version of Real Women Have Curves and a futuristic feminist time travel comedy about Silicon Valley.


GEORGE J. SANCHEZ is Professor of American Studies & Ethnicity, and History at the University of Southern California. He is the author of Becoming Mexican American: Ethnicity, Culture and Identity in Chicano Los Angeles, 1900-1945 (Oxford, 1993), co-editor of Los Angeles and the Future of Urban Cultures (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005) and Civic Engagement in the Wake of Katrina (University of Michigan Press, 2009), and author of “’What’s Good for Boyle Heights is Good for the Jews’: Creating Multiracialism on the Eastside During the 1950s,” American Quarterly 56:3 (September 2004). His academic work focuses on both historical and contemporary topics of race, gender, ethnicity, labor, and immigration, and he is currently working on a historical study of the ethnic interaction of Mexican Americans, Japanese Americans, African Americans, and Jews in the Boyle Heights area of East Los Angeles, California in the twentieth century. He is Past President of the American Studies Association in 2001-02, and is one of the co-editors of the book series, “American Crossroads: New Works in Ethnic Studies,” from the University of California Press. He currently serves as Director of the Center for Diversity and Democracy at USC, which focuses on issues of racial/ethnic diversity in higher education and issues of civic engagement. In 2010, he received the Outstanding Latino/a Faculty in Higher Education (Research Institutions) Award from the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education, Inc. and in 2011, he received the first
ever Equity Award for individuals that have achieved excellence in recruiting and retaining underrepresented racial and ethnic groups into the historical profession from the American Historical Association. He was born in Boyle Heights, grew up throughout Los Angeles County, and received his Ph.D. in History in 1989 from Stanford University.


The Mission of the Boyle Heights Museum is to preserve and celebrate the rich and important immigrant histories of the Boyle Height community so that all residents, including young people, will be inspired to join us in preserving this history for future generations.


People in the U.S. recognize the importance of this community to U.S. History, acknowledging the role that immigrants play in transforming Los Angeles into a model city of diversity, and celebrating Boyle Heights as the Ellis Island of the west coast.


Casa 0101 is dedicated to providing inspiring theater performances, art, exhibits and educational programs to Boyle Heights, thereby nurturing the future storytellers who will someday transform the world. – Free Parking is available on several streets surrounding the theatre. Free Parking is also available on Fridays and Saturdays only at the Boyle Heights City Hall Parking Lot located at 2130 East First Street (at Chicago Street) by entering the lot from Chicago Street; the lot is closed on Sundays. For information, please call CASA 0101 Theater at 323-263-7684, or online at WWW.CASA0101.ORG – Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/casa0101theater

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