Across Generations, Writers Gather at Manual Arts High School for 826LA Young Authors Project”
Article from LA TACO
By L.A. TACO
April 25, 2018
The literacy and writing organization 826LA is releasing the 15th Young Authors’ Book Project anthology Through the Same Halls: Journeys of Elders Born and Raised in South Central and Beyond, alongside the publication’s student authors and the vibrant, intergenerational communities of Manual Arts Senior High School Toilers and South LA on Friday, April 27 at WITH LOVE Market & Cafe.
“By writing about the experiences of their elders these students have captured, anecdotally, a history of Mexico, Central America, and, indeed, South Central L.A. that is undervalued and, mostly overlooked. After seeing their writing published these students will never feel disempowered vis a vis the English language, again,” says the foreword by author and former Manual Arts High School educator Donald Bakeer.
Through the Same Halls is written by 55 student authors from Mr. Aviña’s 11th grade U.S. history classes currently at Manual Arts Senior High School. In this anthology, students reflect upon the lives of their elders, capturing the true cultural, economic, and historical landscapes of the communities they call home in South Central L.A. and beyond. Living in communities that are often misrepresented and marginalized, these 55 students — made up of both recent immigrants and youth born and raised in LA — have bravely chosen to document the lives of community members and write their own histories and futures.
Through their writing, students revisit their families’ stories of immigration, walk the very same halls as Manual Arts alumni from the 40s, and relive the Watts Uprisings/Riots and the LA gang wars in the 80s, comparing this to the poverty, racism, and political climate of today. This exchange of history through personal narratives, interviews, and striking portraits makes Through the Same Halls both a refreshing historical text and a poignant photo archive of South Los Angeles.
826LA will host the Young Authors’ Book Project Through the Same Halls release party with featured guests: author and former Manual Arts educator Donald Bakeer, celebrated photographer and Boyle Heights native Star Montana, and Las Fotos Project. The event will include readings by the newly published student authors and portraits on display by Star Montana and Las Fotos Project. The event will take place on April 27 from 5pm to 7pm at WITH LOVE Market & Cafe at 1969 South Vermont Avenue.
Each year, 826LA partners with one Los Angeles public school to create a beautifully bound and designed collection of student writing. Over the course of seven weeks, trained 826LA volunteers work one-on-one with students to draft, write, and edit pieces centered around a common theme.