The Mexican and Filipino communities in the San Diego neighborhood of East Lake have rallied behind the success of Jessica Sanchez, who is hoping to be one of the three finalists on "American Idol."
The California native is the daughter of a Mexican-American father and Filipino mother.
During the competition on the show this week, the 16-year-old Sanchez performed the songs "Steal Away" that Etta James originally recorded in 1964 and "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" from the musical "Dreamgirls.”
The Sanchez family gathered with about 250 neighbors and members of the local community at the East Lake Tavern & Bowl on Wednesday evening to support the singer long-distance.
Her uncle Matthew Odeane told Efe that it had been something very special for them to view Jessica's artistic growth, although the experience of being on television is not new for her since she participated in the program "America's Got Talent" when she was 11.
"Singing has been her life. Her talent shines both at family parties as well as before small groups or like when she sang the National Anthem for the San Diego Chargers. It's surprising that even on this program she's showing her same humility at the same time that her abilities have really developed," Odeane remarked.
Claudia Parra, one of the Sanchez family's neighbors, said she was proud of the young woman's success for the sake of the community, describing her as shy and sweet but always ready to give advice to neighborhood children.
Raymond Ha, the manager of the Eastlake Tavern & Bowl, said that the excitement surrounding Sanchez has allowed businesses to form networks to increase their income, something that has given the neighborhood economy a significant boost.
"It really creates a sense of community. You see whole families, Filipino and Mexican ones in equal proportion, who feel proud of her and this benefits local businesses," he said.