© 2023 by Boyle Heights Museum

2102 E 1st St, Los Angeles, CA 90033

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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

Curator & Exhibit Designer

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. 

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. 


Karen Kwon

Karen Kwon is a first-generation student at USC majoring in Sociology. She was born in Los Angeles and raised in Koreatown. She is from of a family of four: her mom was born and raised in Mexico City and her dad was born in South Korea and raised in Argentina.


Due to her diverse racial background, Karen’s research interests focus on the identity formation of mono-racial and multiracial individuals: how social interactions, familial experiences, and the intersectionality of race and gender affect the racial identity of individuals, and the implications of having one or multiple identities.


Aside from her research interests, Karen is interested in the Boyle Heights Museum project to learn more about Boyle Heights and to inform local community members about the beautiful, tight-knit neighborhood they reside in.

Research Team Leader

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, immigration and survivance.


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. 


Kathy Pulupa

Kathy Pulupa is currently a sophomore at USC, double majoring in Gender Studies and Contemporary Latino and Latin American Studies. Her parents immigrated to the U.S. from Ecuador, and she grew up in Los Angeles, as a first-generation college student and member of the LGBTQ community.


Kathy currently works as a research assistant for Dr. George Sanchez on his book and project on Boyle Heights and various other publishing work.


She is committed to researching Lesbian Latinas in order to create space for them in the realm of academia and is currently researching Lesbian Latina Artists and their explicit or non-explicit lesbianism through art.


Public Programming Team Leader

Ivonne Rodriguez

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. 

Public Programming Member

Karla Hernandez

Karla Hernandez is currently a junior majoring in Communication at the University of Southern California. She grew up and went to school in the South LA area and is now working with a college prep program called USC Upward Bound that targets schools in that area.


Her research interests revolve around the interactions between different cultures and races. The Boyle Heights area is particularly interesting to her because it was a community of different races and cultures living among each other with little to no problems.


She look forward to learning about this community and being able to help tell its story.

Social Media Team Leader

Matthew Carrera

Matthew Carrera is a second-year Graduate student with the USC Rossier School of Education. He is pursuing a Master of Education in Post-Secondary Administration and Student Affairs. Simultaneously, he is working on a graduate certificate in Nonprofit Management and Policy with the Sol Price School of Public Policy.


Matthew is a graduate of the University of California, Riverside and hold two Bachelor of Arts degrees in Sociology and Chicano Studies. He is a proud transfer student from California State University, Los Angeles and is a native to East Los. 


Matthew has a genuine interest in establishing a museum in his community that can civically engage community members to learn about the historical context in which they live and can be representative of the identities of the community.


Yaneiry Barrios 

Yaneiry Barrios is a Guatemalan native raised in Napa, California. She is currently a senior at USC double majoring in Social Sciences with an Emphasis in Psychology and Contemporary Latino and Latin American Studies. As a Guatemalan native, she has been conducting research on the Guatemalan genocide to bring awareness to the fact that although Guatemala is a small country, it too went through genocide where thousands of indigenous people were murdered.


She hopes to have an opportunity to continue research on the Guatemala genocide to look at individual traumas and to find ways to change the country for the better.


Since she is not from the Los Angeles region, Yaneiry is interested to work in Boyle Heights because it is an opportunity for her to learn about the community.

Public Programming Member

Alejandra Franco

Alejandra Franco is an undergraduate student double majoring in Political Science and Contemporary Latino and Latin American Studies and minoring in Dance at the University of Southern California. Besides being a student at USC, she is also an undergraduate research assistant for the Office for Diversity and Strategic Initiatives, whose purpose is to serve and support underserved and underrepresented students at the university level.


Alejandra is a first-generation university student, born and raised in a humble community of the East Coachella Valley. Now a junior at USC, Alejandra has become an ambassador for the United Nations Association cohort on campus. She was recently selected to be part of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship, which seeks to diversify academia by providing guidance through research for students from minority backgrounds.


Her research in the Boyle Heights Project has been centered on the LA Blowouts of 1968 that occurred in the local high schools of the area, specifically focused in the female involvement that then led to the emergence of the Chicano Movement.

Public Programming Member

Brittany Aquino

Brittany Aquino is a junior at the University of Southern California where she is majoring in Public Policy with a Nonprofits, Philanthropy and Social Innovation track. As in intern in the Boyle Heights museum project, she is looking forward to learning the process of creating a museum that can help provide a community with a pool of resources that reflect their history throughout the years.


She strongly believes in the power of narrative and states: “There are so many ways to keep history alive and a museum is an important factor. It is especially important today to fight against any oppressive powers that could easily omit a communities’ story.”


Her research focus looks into the lives of activists in the 1968 East LA Student Walkouts. She wants to understand the influence that an individual can have in their community and what events lead individuals to take action and strive to be heard.

Archival Team Member

Elvis Arteaga

My name is Elvis Arteaga and I am majoring in Law, History and Culture with a minor in Computer and
Digital Forensics.
I went to school just down the block from USC at Manual Arts High School and then Foshay Learning Center during which I was also a part of the Neighborhood Academic Initiative (NAI).
The program aims to bring college access to underprivileged youth in the South and East Los Angeles

I’m primarily interested in the way the history surrounding the Boyle Heights area also forms a part of my identity as a Latin American student pursuing higher education and bringing these stories to life to a wider audience to demonstrate that history is a living thing and that everyone plays a part in shaping it.
Archival Team Member

JoseMaria Ibarra

My name is Josemaria Ibarra and I am a senior at the University of Southern California studying History with a focus on Culture and Language. Born and raised in Compton, CA and the youngest of a family of five, the importance of succeeding in academia and helping others come up from my community became a fundamental part of upbringing.


Being from the inner city, History was never a subject which various individuals that call these regions home could relate to their lives. My interest in history is to establish the history of those communities which the major American historical narrative has ignored. Being able to take part in the Boyle Heights Museum offers me the opportunity to do this, as well as finally putting everything that we learn in class to work in communities outside the vicinity of USC and academia.


Through the Boyle Heights Museum, I am interested in opening the doors of history to everyone by giving people access to the a past beyond the classroom.

Lead Web Designer

Samantha A. Sanchez

Samantha (Sami) Sanchez is a current USC undergraduate majoring in Communications with an emphasis in New Media and Culture as well as a specialization in Web Technologies and Applications. She just finished my first year at USC as a transfer student from Los Angeles Trade Technical College (LATTC). 
Her research interests include Digital Communications, History, User Experience,  and Immersive Technology. She looks to find how museums can become more effective with the use of technology in order to improve and enhance museum-goer experience. 
I am extremely honored to bring the history of Boyle Heights to life on an online platform because that is what this richly diverse and vibrant community deserves. The youth of Boyle Heights should know their history and have it at their finger tips. I look to continue to bring exposure and awareness to this community alongside my amazing team for years to come. We are just getting started.
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