Making Place: Mapping South El Monte and El Monte

East of East Logo Final-01

South El Monte Arts Posse’s upcoming project “East of East: Mapping Community Narratives in South El Monte and El Monte” will use interdisciplinary workshops to create a digital archive. Our hope is that our archive will be accessible to community members, journalists, and scholars and thus produce more written and other forms of cultural production about El Monte and South El Monte. Ultimately, we hope this will produce a better sense of place.

Over a four-week period (Jan to Feb 2014) we will be bringing a range of professionals from Mexico City to work in South El Monte and El Monte with community members. Together, we will create a range of primary sources–oral histories, creative non-fiction, maps, and a newspaper. Unfortunately there is very little scholarship on El Monte/South El Monte and very little that provides a comprehensive historical narrative. This makes it hard for Mexico City professionals, SEMAP collaborators, and community members to have an understanding of SEM/EM’s past and present.

We are inviting you to help us produce a SEM/EM reader for our Mexico City colleagues, SEMAP collaborators, and community members by writing an encyclopedia-like entry about a particularly person, event, or place (see list below). Entries should be smart, engaging, and accessible to both professionals and community members. Entries should include a “For Further Reading” section, listing 2-3 secondary sources and 1-2 internet websites/links. When possible frame the entry within a larger historical context: Los Angeles, California, Mexico, and/or the United States.

Ryan Reft and Alex Cummings will be in charge of receiving and editing the entries. The immediate audience for the entries will be our collaborators and Mexico City colleagues, but we will post a few of the entries on Tropics of Meta and SEMAP’s website. This will help build momentum/excitement for “East of East,” and allow community, SEMAP, and Mexico City professionals to learn about SEM/EM at a “leisurely” pace.

Available entries are italicized but feel free to propose an entry. If you are interested in contributing, please email us at


  1. San Gabriel Mission Revolt of 1785 (Eric Frith)
  2. El Monte Berry Strike, 1933 (Melquiades Fernandez)
  3. Ricardo Flores Magon, 1917 Speech in El Monte (Senia Barragan and Mark Bray)
  4. San Gabriel River Valley Dispute (Marie Christine Duggan)


  1. Hicks Camp (Daniel Morales)
  2. Legion Stadium (Steve Valenzuela)
  3. Legg Lake (Carribean Fragoza)
  4. South El Monte (Nick Juravich)
  5. San Gabriel Valley (Wendy Cheng)
  6. Starlight Swapmeet (Jennifer Renteria)
  7. The San Gabriel River
  8. Cielito Lindo (Leticia)
  9. Golf Land (Michael Jaime Becerra)
  10. The 60 Freeway (Maryam Hosseinzadeh)
  11. Rush Street (Carribean Fragoza)
  12. Valley Blvd (La History)


  1. Art Laboe (Jude Webre)
  2. Benjamin Dominguez
  3. Bobby Salcedo
  4. Michael Jaime Beccera (Vickie Vertiz)
  5. Joaquin Murrieta (James T. Roane)
  6. Gloria Arellanes (Juan Herrera)
  7. Toypurina (Maria John)
  8. Queer Community (Alberto Duarte)
  9. Toni Plummer (Alexandra Maria Landeros)
  10. Salvador Plascencia (Raquel Gutiérrez)
  11. El Monte Boys (Mike the Poet)

Youth Culture

1. Punk and the Seamstree (Apolonio Morales)

2. ‘The Sky is Black and the Asphalt Blue:’ Placing El Monte in the early LA Punk Scene (Troy Kokkinis)

3. Zumba (Carribean Fragoza)

4. House and Music Scene (Alvaro Parra)

Migration to El Monte/South El Monte

  1. Japanese (Andre Deckrow)
  2. Cambodian (Brian Sun)
  3. White Americans
  4. Central America
  5. Tongva People
  6. Spanish (Carolyn Arena)