This short documentary shot on June 29th 2016 gives light to the struggles and dire need for ethnic studies in k-12 schools in Compton, CA. Through the voices of two Compton community members, Lucha Arevalo and Desiree Gaytan, a story is painted of what it is like to grow up in a city that they feel deserves better educational and cultural investment.
Lucha shares on her experience: “I have always been hungry to know my own culture but also that of my neighbors. There is a history of black and brown solidarity. To be the first latino family in a historically black neighborhood and then go to college and learn that actually learn that Compton was historically all white. I was growing up in a part of the city that was meant to exclude black people.”
Compton has a unique history and demographic that should be celebrated and empowered. It is a place of violence and neglect but also an example of resilience and hope. “Ethnic studies for Compton gives us a language for the trauma.” Desiree explains. They express how an ethnic studies education for youth will be an essential tool to healing the city and allowing it to flourish. Lucha says “We want young people in our community to be able to begin to tell their own stories block by block, street by street, district by district.”
Lucha Arevalo and Desiree Gaytan are part of a larger advocate group. For more information please visit: Ethnic Studies Now Compton Facebook Page
shot by: Arlene Mejorado
cut by: Sarah Garrahan