Nestled between the Los Angeles River and the 710 freeway, and often passed off as just another crime-ridden neighborhood by outsiders, Boyle Heights is home to a growing concentration of Latino immigrants, many who lived in and strengthened this community for generations.
Boyle Heights became a center for immigrant life in L.A. as early as the 1920s and remained so for decades. It was a place to call home when other parts of the city wouldn’t open its doors. In the 1930s, its demographics began to shift when Mexican families started to populate the area as Jewish and Japanese families moved out. Today, Boyle Heights boasts nearly 110,000 residents.
Dissected by five major freeways and neighbor to several industries, the residents of Boyle Heights face significant amounts of noise, air, industrial and traffic pollutants every day. As part of the award-winning “Toxic Tour” reporting project sponsored by Newsdesk.org and Spot.Us, this project will bring you coverage from this underreported community highlighting the detrimental effects caused by pollution and other harmful environmental health factors.
Background: Newsdesk.org’s 2009 series “The Bay Area Toxic Tour: West Oakland” covered the impacts of pollution from the Port of Oakland on adjacent communities. The project was produced by three independent journalists, financed by Spot.Us, and won the Society of Professional Journalists Sigma Delta Chi Award for Excellence in Journalism.