FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 12, 2024
Elana Eden, Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles
East Los Angeles, CA – On Wednesday, February 14 at 9:00 a.m., the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles (LAFLA) will commemorate the beginning of the process to preserve and restore a beloved mural of the Chicano arts movement, which currently adorns its East Los Angeles office and will be reinstalled there when the site is rebuilt in early 2025.
The ceremony will be held at 5228 Whittier Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90022 and feature remarks by Willie Herrón III, muralist and pioneer of the Chicano cultural movement in East LA; Amy Lerner-Hill, Chair of LAFLA’s Board of Directors and Deputy General Counsel for City National Bank; Jim Burgess, owner of Burgess Dispute Solutions and Chair of the LAFLA East Capital Campaign Committee; and Yolanda Arias, Managing Attorney for LAFLA’s Economic Stability Workgroup and East Los Angeles Office. The Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles will also provide a written statement that will be read at the event.
“Across Los Angeles, historically low-income communities of color have fought to protect their public murals from being erased by new development,” said Yolanda. “LAFLA’s roots in East LA go back over 50 years, and we are proud to honor our shared history by preserving this culturally significant piece—which will have pride of place on our new building at this very same site.”
“I’m honored that my artwork has become such an integral historical landmark for the East LA community, and proud to have contributed to the legacy of an organization that has fought poverty and discrimination in my hometown for over half a century,” said Willie.
The iconic mural depicts Joaquin Murieta, a legendary Mexican and Chilean figure known in Gold Rush California as the “Robin Hood of El Dorado.” Herrón created the piece for LAFLA in 1972 to honor the struggle and resistance of Mexican miners, who faced violent discrimination in their quest for economic opportunity. He will personally restore the work, and the process will be documented by LAFLA.
LAFLA opened its East Los Angeles office in 1972 and plans to rebuild its current location to expand services, increase accessibility, and provide a welcoming environment for clients and staff. Private interview rooms will allow attorneys to see clients in comfortable, confidential settings; a children’s play area will increase access to services for families without childcare; and a dedicated event space will allow LAFLA to host more legal clinics for on-the-spot services.
The new building is planned to break ground this spring. During construction, LAFLA’s East LA branch continues to provide services just across the street at 5301 Whittier Blvd., 4th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90022.
About Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles
Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles is a nonprofit law firm that protects and advances the rights of the most underserved – leveling the playing field and ensuring that everyone can have access to the justice system. Every year, LAFLA provides free, high-quality legal services to more than 100,000 people living in poverty across Greater Los Angeles. Our unique combination of neighborhood offices, self-help centers at courthouses, and domestic violence clinics puts LAFLA on the front lines in vulnerable communities, and at the forefront of change.
About Willie Herrón III
Born in 1951 in Los Angeles, Willie Herrón III’s artistic career spans over 50 years of nationally and internationally recognized performance and conceptual art, including music composition (as a member of Los Illegals and founder of East L.A.’s Vex Club), as well as the design and execution of internationally recognized iconic world-class murals. Herrón was also one of the founding members of ASCO, the East L.A.-based Chicano artists collective (1972-1987).