LA’s Salvadoran Corridor
In Los Angeles, on the corner of Pico and Vermont, there is a mural dedicated to Archbishop Oscar Romero, whose 1980 assassination triggered the Salvadoran Civil War. The mural reads, “I’ve frequently been threatened with death. I must say that as a Christian I don’t believe in death without resurrection. If they kill me, I will be reborn in the Salvadoran community.” As if to prove this, the archbishop’s face appears frequently along the roughly 12 blocks spanning the El Salvador Community Corridor, from 11th Street in Koreatown to Adams Boulevard near the University of Southern California campus along Vermont Avenue. For this community, he is a symbol of El Salvador, hope, and the rebirth of a culture left thousands of miles away.
More than other LA micro-communities, the corridor is dense with evidence of its micro-culture. The blue and white colors of the Salvadoran flag decorate nearly every store. There are business where you can buy pan dulce, charamuscas, and newspapers from home. Most of the 100 businesses here provide services that connect Salvadorans to their home. The corner stores sell calling cards. The banks are dedicated to remittances. Though the corridor sits in one of the most socioeconomically disadvantaged parts of Los Angeles, and though Salvadorans make up one of the poorest populations in the United States, with a median earning of $20,000 a year, money wired from here keep the home country going.