Celebrate People's History: Mothers of East Los Angeles

Jen Cartwright
GVSU Collection
2 Color Offset Printed Poster
July 2004
Artworks - Height: 17" Width: 11"
A red and yellow poster that reads "Mothers of East Los Angeles" at the top. On a yellow background in black text there is a description: “A group of Chicana mothers formed MELA in 1985 to with the construction of a prison in their East L.A. neighborhood. Years of community mobilizing and candlelight vigils eventually paid off and the prison project was cancelled. MELA also successfully fought against an oil pipeline and toxic waste incinerator being built in their community. They have gone on to establish programs for scholarships, water conservation, and health education.” Below this, on a background of a group of women holding red candles there is a quote that reads, "The politicians thought we wouldn’t fight, but we united and said, Ya Basta, enough, this is a dumping ground no more… The kids around here were babies when we started. Now they will fight for what they believe in because we showed them their voices count.” Below this there is the "Celebrate People's History" logo and then an image of toxic waste cans and pipelines in yellow on a red background.
Historical Context:
The Celebrate People’s History posters are rooted in the do-it-yourself tradition of mass-produced political propaganda. These posters embody democracy, inclusion, and group participation in the writing and interpretation of the past. Unlike most political posters, the posters part of the Celebrate People’s History series tell the stories of the underdogs, those individuals and groups helping to move forward the collective struggle of humanity to create a more just world. For 20 years, over 130 different posters have been displayed on the streets of over a dozen cities representing over 150 artists and writers. The Celebrate People’s History Poster Series has been organized and curated by Josh MacPhee since 1998.