In 2010 a group of Peruvians were at World Cup screening at Plaza Mexico in Lynwood when they had an epiphany: If Los Angeles has a Little Armenia, Chinatown, and Koreatown, why isn’t there a Peruvian area?
Peruvians first came to California during the Gold Rush of the mid-nineteenth century. Since then, there’s been three other waves of migration from Peru; the biggest one being in the 1980s and 1990s when Peruvians fled political turmoil and a crumbling economy.
Of the nearly 680,000 Peruvian immigrants living in the United States, over 27,000 live in Los Angeles. Many of them settled in Hollywood before dispersing throughout the county.
Today, a grassroots initiative made up of Peruvian immigrants seeks to designate a part of Hollywood on Vine Street between Melrose Ave. and De Longpre Ave. as “Peru Village LA.”
The organization hosts a variety of events including “Peru Village Festival: A Taste of Peru,” their most popular event. Peruvians across the city gather to share their complex culture which includes Indigenous, African, European, and Asian influences.
The festival, which attracts more than 5,000 people and is now in its fourth year, features food vendors, Andean and Afro-Peruvian live music, dancing, and folk arts for sale.
In addition, Peru Village LA hosts clean ups of Vine Street and beautification efforts. They’ve presented their initiative to City Hall and are waiting for official designation.
“Culture is the best way to showcase any society, human group, or country,” says Milagros Lizarraga, former President and CEO of Peru Village LA. “Inclusion is fundamental and the official inclusion of Peruvian culture in the multicultural city of Los Angeles would truly be a huge win.”
They came to Los Angeles because of political problems in Peru. The gateway for these Peruvians was Hollywood - Milagros Lizarraga