Our Partnership

Josefina López, Artistic Director of CASA 0101 Theater believes that 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. 


She believes that 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. 


She has faith that the Boyle Heights Museum will also serve as an affirmation of the contribution Mexican-Americans have made to this country.


She wants young people in our community to have pride in where they live and wants 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 believes that 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. 


He believes that 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. 


He is delighted to have the opportunity to bring the stories of the past to current residents through this exciting partnership with CASA 0101 Theater.

Mission Statement: 

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.

Vision Statement:

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.


Our Team

Dr. Jorge Leal

Co-Curator and Museum Educator

Dr. Jorge N. Leal is an urban and cultural historian whose research focuses on how youth culture producers and participants have reshaped California transnational Latina/o/x communities in the late twentieth century. Previous to earning his Ph.D. in History at UC San Diego, Leal was an active participant in the L.A. Latina/o music scene both as a rock critic and concert producer.

Dr. Leal is currently a Postdoctoral Scholar and Teaching Fellow in the History and the American Studies and Ethnicity Departments at the University of Southern California, where he teaches courses on history, race, gender, and culture.

Co-Curator and Research Lead

Michelle Vasquez Ruiz

Michelle Vasquez Ruiz is a graduate student in the department of American Studies and Ethnicity at USC. As a daughter of Oaxaqueño immigrants who reside in Los Angeles, her academic work is dedicated to furthering an understanding of Indigenous diaspora, histories of displacement and immigration. She is interested in looking at how Indigenous communities who migrate across borders maintain culture and community. Through her current role as co-curator with the Boyle Heights Museum she is dedicated to preserving and sharing the histories of underrepresented communities. She actively encourages community members and students to construct their own historical narratives through various mediums.

Graduate Researcher

Yesenia Hunter

Yesenia Navarrete Hunter is the daughter of Guadalupe and Alberto Marquez and grew up as a farmworker in Washington State.  Yesenia’s art and public engagement brings her to scholarship. She is studying with Dr. George Sanchez in the Graduate History Program at the University of Southern California. Her interests in American History focus on how immigrant communities make place in fragile spaces. One question guiding her work is: how do new immigrants use material practices such as music, art, and recipes to evoke memory and make connections to history? Yesenia centers her work around space, place, memory, community and individual art practices, and Indigenous studies.  Yesenia's art and scholarship are fueled by her role as a mother and wife, and deeply influenced by the music, poetry, and community-building elements of the practice of the fandango. 

Graduate Researcher

Cassandra Flores Montano

Cassandra Flores-Montano is a 2nd year PhD student in the American Studies and Ethnicity department at USC. She grew up in Temecula, CA, but attended Wellesley College in Boston, MA where she received a B.A. in Women's and Gender Studies. Her broad research interests include women, gender, sexuality, social movements, the Chicano Movement and Civil Rights Era, and public history. Her research project centers on the Brown Berets of East L.A. both historically and in the contemporary moment. Cassandra is excited to work on her second exhibit with the Boyle Heights Museum!

Kathy Pulupa

Hi all! My name is Kathy Pulupa and I am a rising senior at USC. I am majoring in Contemporary Latino and Latin American Studies with a minor in Gender Studies. I have been part of the BHM team since it has started and I am so excited to have you all along our journey in making history accessible and pertinent to everyone. I am also applying to graduate school this fall and I am hoping to continue supporting this project while I am in graduate school as well. 

Undergraduate Researcher

Undergraduate Researcher

Rosa Noriega-Rocha

Rosa Noriega Rocha was born and raised in Watsonville, California. She is currently a Junior at the University of Southern California Majoring in Chicanx Studies and Contemporary Latinx Studies. Rosa's academic interests revolve around racially marked bodies and their experiences in modern time particularly looking at dual marginality. 

Ivonne Rodriguez is a life-long resident of South Central Los Angeles and proud mother of three children. Guidance and motivation from family and friends encouraged her to return to school in 2013, obtain her G.E.D. and transfer from LATTC. In the fall of 2016, she entered the University of Southern California as an American Studies and Ethnicities major just as her eldest son began his first year at Cal State University Northridge. She currently serves as Project Specialist for the USC Neighborhood Academic Initiative, a college access and success program that works with resident families from the communities neighboring USC’s South L.A. and East L.A. campuses.  She is committed to serving first generation, college-bound scholars of color and families, like her own, and keeping stories of resiliency alive. 

Ivonne Rodriguez

Public Programming Coordinator

Museum Consultants 

Priscilla Leiva

Priscilla Leiva is an Assistant Professor of Chicana/o and Latina/o Studies at Loyola Marymount University. Her research interests include relational ethnic studies, urban history and sports history, particularly as it relates to place making and community formation.

She is currently working on a book manuscript that examines how stadiums have produced and sustained racial meanings that shape ideas about the city and belonging. She is also the co-founder of Chavez Ravine: An Unfinished Story, an oral history and archival collaboration with residents of Chavez Ravine that documents a long history of displacement and its aftermath in Los Angeles. Her public humanities work includes collaborations with the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes, Imagining America, Los Angeles County Museum of Art and, most recently, Boyle Heights Museum. 

Museum Alumni

Karen Kwon
Undergraduate Researcher
Yaneiry Barrios 
Undergraduate Researcher
Alejandra Franco
Undergraduate Researcher
Karla Hernandez

Public Programming Member

Matthew Carrera

Social Media Team Leader

Brittany Aquino

Public Programming Member

JoseMaria Ibarra

Archival Team Member

Elvis Arteaga

Samantha A. Sanchez

Archival Team Member
Lead Web Designer