One of the things that fascinates me is how a community can come together over a common issue and be successful. As a first year student, I read a paper on the orgnanizing of the Madres del Este de Los Angeles Santa Isabel (Mother of East LA) who began organizing in the mid 1980s to fight the construction of a state prison in Boyle Heights. MELA-SI was ultimately successful in having a bill passed outlawing state prisons in Los Angeles County.
MELA-SI continued it’s organizing efforts mainly around issues related to the environment, conservation, public health and education. Another well known campaign centered on stopping the building of a municipal waste incinerator in 1987 and then joining with a broader coalition to stop the building of an oil pipeline a few feet below an East LA middle school. Although most of their initial efforts were targeted to East LA, they have also focused on similar campaigns in the Central Valley and in northern California.
MELA-SI continues it’s work in the community “to promote the environmental, political, and educational awareness, advancement, and well-being of the Latino population within (but not limited to) the East Los Angeles community.” Just last month, they spoke out regarding save our murals around the city from being destroyed.