“What Connects Us” is an editorial and events series spotlighting the ideas, places, and questions that have shaped the welcoming and diverse public square Zócalo has created over the past 20 years. As part of these birthday festivities, we will publish reflections on the state of the public square, reimaginings of some of our most read and most impactful stories, and more—and we will host public programs across Los Angeles County, culminating with our 14th Annual Zócalo Book Prize event in June 2024.

As part of Zócalo Public Square’s 20th birthday, we’re sharing the sounds of the Southland with “Diaspora Jukebox,” a series of playlists that celebrate the unique communities and musical traditions that represent greater Los Angeles.

Listen along to the full mix from our contributors and read about the IRL dance party we threw at the Port of L.A. that reminded us how communities mix and mingle, collide, and compound through the songs that move us the most. …

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| Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

A Song and Dance for Los Angeles' Cultures and Communities

Zócalo’s ‘Diaspora Dance Party’ at the Port of L.A. Celebrated the Music and Melodies That Define and Connect Us

They drove from Van Nuys, Boyle Heights, and Long Beach. They biked from Santa Monica. And they made the short walk from just down the street for …

STORY

Alejandra Campoverdi’s Diaspora Jukebox Playlist | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Alejandra Campoverdi's Diaspora Jukebox Playlist

The Sounds of Faith, Struggle, and the ‘Magic Dark’ Braid Together in This First-Gen Soundtrack

Author Alejandra Campoverdi’s playlist braids together songs of ancestral inheritance, G-funk bass lines, and unconditional love …

STORY

Karen Tongson’s Diaspora Jukebox Playlist | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Karen Tongson’s Diaspora Jukebox Playlist

From the Philippines to the Inland Empire, George Michael to Taylor Swift, Songs That Chart a Queer Awakening

Our fifth Diaspora Jukebox playlist features tracks from queer studies scholar Karen Tongson’s life—songs that quite literally moved her from the Philippines to Hawai’i to the Inland Empire, and moved her to better understand the inner workings of love, life, and herself …

STORY

Tannaz Sassooni's Diaspora Jukebox Playlist

An Iranian Jewish Mishmash That’ll Make You Gher

Our fourth Diaspora Jukebox playlist features songs from food writer Tannaz Sassooni’s Los Angeles Iranian Jewish world, from classic banquet hall jams to a contemporary ballad of freedom …

STORY

Chiwan Choi's Diaspora Jukebox Playlist

This Playlist Will Have You Falling in Love on a DTLA Rooftop and Dancing Like It’s 1982

Our third Diaspora Jukebox playlist features the songs that accompanied poet Chiwan Choi through his youth in Koreatown, late nights in West L.A., and his DTLA wedding …

STORY

Gustavo Arellano’s Diaspora Jukebox Playlist

Essential Music for this Zacatecano Spans Corridos, the Beatles, and AM Radio

As part of Zócalo Public Square’s 20th birthday, we’re sharing the sounds of the Southland with “Diaspora Jukebox,” a series of playlists that celebrate the unique communities and musical traditions that represent Los Angeles. Read columnist Gustavo Arellano’s picks …

STORY

Shivonne Peart’s Diaspora Jukebox Playlist | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Shivonne Peart's Diaspora Jukebox Playlist

A Love Letter to South L.A., This Soundtrack Celebrates Life, Community, and the Rhythm of the City

Our second Diaspora Jukebox offering is from Shivonne Peart, whose playlist is a love letter to South L.A., where she was born and raised. Peart’s list celebrates life, community, and rich traditions, with tracks ranging from “Dedication” by Nipsey Hussle featuring Kendrick Lamar to El General’s “’Rica y Apredaita” featuring Anayka …

STORY

Illustration of a brown man's face sideways. One side of his face is a brown silhouette of a city skyscraper landscape, and the landscape has tree-like roots.

What Does Brown Mean?

In a World That Often Feels Black and White, I’ve Learned to Embrace My Space in the Middle

Writer, actor, and filmmaker Christopher Rivas reflects on what Brown—as color, as concept—means to him, inspired by the 2017 Zócalo event “What Does Blue Mean?

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Recap of “Do We Need More Food Fights?”

Making Pozole and Memorializing Mexico’s Disappeared

Watch the event and read the Takeaway by editor Talib Jabbar.

An exhibition based on Recetario para la memoria, a cookbook that collects recipes and remembrances from these families in collaboration with photographer and creator Zahara Gómez Lucini, is currently on view at LA Cocina de Gloria Molina, a first-of-its-kind museum dedicated to Mexican gastronomy. Zócalo and LA Cocina host Gómez Lucini and culinary historian and Hungry for History podcast co-host Maite Gomez-Rejón to cook pozole in the museum’s demonstration kitchen and discuss what happens when the kitchen becomes a battleground …

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