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MACARTHUR PARK : Time Capsule to Tell of Immigrants' Lives

July 25, 1993|JAKE DOHERTY

Despite its tarnished image and ongoing face lift, MacArthur Park has been immortalized, for better or worse, in a song by the same name. But 100 years from now, will anyone know what life was like for the thousands who came from Central America to make their homes in the neighborhoods around the park?

The answer is yes, thanks to a time capsule that is to be opened in 2093. Items for the capsule are being gathered by El Rescate as part of one of the many events of the upcoming Los Angeles Festival.

Throughout August and the first two weeks of September, El Rescate, an organization that provides legal and social services to Central American immigrants, will be collecting photographs, letters, cassettes, videotapes and other items documenting the lives of immigrants.

Many of the items will be recorded on microfilm for inclusion in the time capsule, which will be buried in MacArthur Park during a ceremony in mid-September, said Sara Martinez, El Rescate's coordinator of economic development.

"Home, Place and Memory" is the theme of this year's festival, which runs from Aug. 20 through Sept. 19 with more than 200 events scheduled throughout the city.

On Sept. 19 at MacArthur Park, Salvadoran artist Dagoberto Reyes will unveil his sculpture commemorating immigrants. No date has been set to bury the time capsule.

Martinez said individuals, families and businesses are invited to submit items for the time capsule. Individuals are also invited to submit a one-page statement about their reasons for immigrating to the United States.

Letters from family members still living in Central America also will be included, Martinez said.

"Sometimes when you are in another country you feel alone, and so letters of support are very important," she said. "It that sense, this project might be really emotional for many people."

Information: (213) 387-3284.

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