The neighborhood known as Pico-Union is a pocket of Latin America that sits in the shadow of downtown Los Angeles' skyscrapers. Times staff photographer Rosemary Kaul has spent 1 1/2 years living here, exploring the lives of immigrants who have fled crushing poverty and, sometimes, political persecution, torture and death. Too often, they have found that their new homeland offers them little relief, only more hardships. And their struggle for survival merely continues, this time in a world of strangers.
In this first in a series of photo essays, Kaul visits with four women who came to Southern California to find a better life for their children.
They live in tiny rooms crammed with family and friends, trying to make the dingy quarters feel like home.
Those who pass them on the street, or who buy the clothes they sew or the food they sell, may not see beyond the immigrants into their private worlds--especially their dreams for their children, and their daily struggle to attain those dreams.