Monrovia Heritage Latino Society teaches young people about their heritage through photo exhibit

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BySid Garcia via KABC logo
Saturday, October 8, 2022
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'We have to tell our story so people aren't confused about who we are.' Monrovia Heritage Latino Society teaches young people about their heritage in the San Gabriel Valley.

MONROVIA, Calif. (KABC) -- A new photo exhibit in the San Gabriel Valley documents the long history of Latinos in the area, including families who date back to the 19th century.

"People consider all of us as immigrants but we're not," said Jimmy O'Balles of the Monrovia Latino Heritage Society. "A lot of other people are immigrants and we welcome them. But we have to tell our story so people aren't confused about who we are."

If a picture is worth a thousand words, some of Monrovia's history includes the days of segregation.

Monrovia has changed quite a bit since then. Some Latino families can trace their ancestors back to the 1880s. Photos show the past, but today and in the future they're working with the school district to teach young people about their heritage.

"Expose our youth to that history and we've partnered with Monrovia Unified School District for all fourth and fifth graders at all five elementary schools to have art -- different mediums of art -- depicting historical characters or textiles in the Hispanic culture," said Maritza Flores-Travanti of the Monrovia Latino Heritage Society.

"We're showcasing the past and future heritage," said Henry Caro Olivas, Jr. of the Monrovia Latino Heritage Society. "And the future heritage is very important, hence the art work from the students. So hopefully they're seeing these historic photos and maybe seeing a little bit of themselves in the pictures as well."

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