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photo: @lawomanbookvia @veteranas_and_rucas / Guadalupe Rosales

Capturing Californian youth culture in the 90s

Guadalupe Rosales’s Instagram account pays homage to the all-female Chicana communities of East LA

For Guadalupe Rosales, Instagram was just another way to connect. After moving from east LA to New York nearly 14 years ago, the California native lost contact with the people from her past – leaving her with pangs of nostalgia, worry, and intrigue.  “I created @veteranas_and_rucas to reconnect with long lost friends and family,” she says of her much-loved archive account. “From there it evolved to create a virtual space for Chicana and Latina women from SoCal. An account where people can share personal photos of their youth, because there wasn't really anything out there that I felt I could relate to.”

Unfortunately, these frustrations are rooted firmly in fact. In the Chicana community, chances of staying out of trouble are low, while chances of overblown prison sentences and racist exclusion remain high. Veteranas and Rucas – while a fascinating look at one of the most misunderstood movements of Cali history – has quickly become a vital tool to counteract this corruption: reuniting friends, and paying homage to the forgotten scenes of the 90s. “It’s a living archive of criminalised and exploited brown youth,” Rosales stresses. “Its very existence is a reclamation of our stories and how we chose to represent ourselves.”

Given that the account already has 55,000 followers (and counting), her methods are clearly working – and have even led to their own exhibit at the UCLA Chicano Studies Center. “This history gets overlooked or is not really respected,” she adds. “So many of us were part of it that it’s kind of like, ‘How could it not be important?’”

Follow the Veteranas_and_Rucas account here, or send your photos to Rosales here