Courtesy: sizzle007/Instagram

On July 1st, Zacil Pech wrote on her Instagram page: “Immigrant youth eventually grow up. Some of us are lucky to fully blossom into our power, despite all the trauma and pain. We become our parents, our communities, and most importantly, our own, fiercest advocates and protectors. Our lived experiences fuel our motives, hustle, and drive. No goal is too big for us to achieve…”

This sentiment couldn’t be more accurate for the girl that grew up being bullied by her classmates for being “La Hija de la Sopera”.

But now, Zacil Pech is having the last laugh. Earlier this month, Pech and her mother opened up a buzzy new restaurant called Sazón in Huntington Park.

Pech’s mother, Maria Del Socorro Vazquez, immigrated from Guerrero, Mexico to Los Angeles. When she first arrived, Maria supported her family by cleaning homes in Los Angeles. But she soon supplemented her income by selling tacos and sopes as a street vendor on the weekends.

While street vending has become more widely accepted as a profession in cities like Los Angeles, when Zacil was growing up, the vocation was still taboo. “Back in the day, 20 years ago, street vending was far more prohibited,” Maria told LA Taco in a wide-ranging profile. “But for me, it was a necessity.”

Zacil admitted to LA Taco that she felt shame and embarrassment at her mother’s profession. She wanted nothing more than for her mother to become a “legitimate” business owner. According to Maria, Zacil would tell her: “The day you get your restaurant, the police will no longer chase you, and you won’t be scared anymore.”

In 2020, through her own grit and from the financial support of her community Zacil secured a location for her mother to finally open her own restaurant.

But in March of 2020, the pandemic struck and the women’s plans were thwarted. They had to hold on and keep the faith for over a year before they could finally open their doors. And now that it’s happening, they are determined to make their business a success. “Vamos hacer maravilla con le que haya,” Maria told LA Taco. We’re going to create wonder with what we have.

As for Zacil, she has plans to make Sazón a hub for marginalized and underserved communities. “There is so much talent in our hood, but so often, we don’t have access to resources or spaces. We get overlooked. I want our communities to be highlighted. I very much want to continue to foster that community with Sazón,”

As she wrote recently on her Instagram page: “Our goal is to continue to grow alongside our community and keep honoring the drive, hustle, and brilliance of immigrant folks and #streetvendors.” Sounds like an admirable objective.