By Serena Maria Daniels.
When Franciscan nun Sister Karen Boccalero founded Self Help Graphics nearly half a century ago, her aim was to provide a space in Boyle Heights, then a mostly working-class Mexican-American neighborhood on the east side of Los Angeles, where artists could showcase their work and learn new skills.
First situated in a garage, the institution began by providing job training in silk screening, public education programming and a platform for some of the city’s most prominent Chicano artists.
In the decades since, the center has proven its staying power.
In the wake of Trump’s inauguration last winter, when millions of women across the country marched in protest, volunteers at the Boyle Heights space were on hand to print materials for the Los Angeles demonstrators.
It was the same scene after the Trump administration announced in September it would end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Self Help organizers set up a mini printing station in its parking lot, making posters in English and Spanish that provided tips on what to do if an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent stops someone. (Federal district court judges have since issued injunctions against ending the program.)