Why MacArthur Park/Westlake?

MacArthur Park/Westlake is a community cut off by freeways. It’s surrounded by the 101 to the North, the downtown 110 freeway to its East, and the 10 freeway to the South. The only way Los Angeles visitors and Angelenos “discover” the community is to go through it to get someplace else. Or, like me, to avoid traffic.

When I first moved to the USC area, I dreaded taking the 110 freeway to get to my boyfriend’s house in Silver Lake. I discovered a shortcut, which was to go through the streets, right through MacArthur Park’s neighborhood. While driving through this community, I experienced a whole new facet of Los Angeles, even though I had lived in the city for 6 years. The community was populated with Latino immigrants, people that had the color of my skin but completely different experiences from where I grew up in the comfy suburbs of Ventura County. I was fascinated, and I admit frightened, while driving through this busy, bustling, brown community. As a fresh and idealistic reporter, I decided to report on this community that I was uncomfortable with. I found the people were nice, almost always willing to help tell their stories. I then decided to focus on this community for my thesis project, because I knew it had stories to tell, and people that wanted to listen.