Kathy Masaoka, Community Elder

An interview with Kathy Masaoka, a Japanese-American elder who grew up in Boyle Heights

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Family and childhood photos of Kathy Masaoka

Interview with Kathy Masaoka, a Japanese-American community member who grew up in Boyle Heights, about how the neighborhood has changed over the years. Kathy lived in Boyle Heights when it was more diverse and organized in the area when she was older. Throughout her life here in Boyle Heights, Kathy has actively invested herself in building solidarity among other marginalized communities and collectively fighting for groups that face injustice and discrimination. 

ACTA · Sounds of CA - Boyle Heights
How have you seen Boyle Heights change?
"It changed right before my eyes. Before we left Boyle Heights, many of my friends, especially the Japanese American friends I went to school with, were starting to move out of Boyle Heights. That felt a little strange. When we left and then I came back, it had changed drastically because of the freeways---they had cut up the neighborhood so much. It just seemed like it was just a little sadder, in a way. I saw it through the eyes of a child, who had a lot of fun growing up there until I was 14---so I really saw things in a really positive way-- you know the little market on Indiana, the Chinese market always friendly to us, the raspados place on 4th St, and we loved the Russian bread that was at the markets. Everything to me was wonderful.” -Kathy Masaoka