Gloria Molina

L.A.'s Mexican American cultural center begins to blossom after a rocky start

L.A.'s Mexican American cultural center begins to blossom after a rocky start

There was a time when children of Mexican descent were slapped if they spoke Spanish in school.

As Toni Gomez walked through an exhibit at La Plaza de Cultura y Artes on a recent afternoon, she saw a reference to Malabar Street Elementary in Boyle Heights — and remembered that her mother, Ines, was once one of those students.

“It’s hard to be reminded of those things,” Gomez said. “But this is our history, and it’s important for us to come here and see it.”

It was her second visit to La Plaza, a cultural center and museum that opened six years ago, aiming to be the city’s leading home of Mexican American heritage.

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