I owe it to my mother, who crossed over 2,000 miles to find sanctuary in Los Angeles.
I owe it to my community, which includes everyone reading this note, but also many who won’t read it, who have all helped me along the way.
I owe it to myself, because connecting with the people and resources around me is in my veins, and each morning I get up driven by a sense of urgency to do more of it.
There is a new world to build, and we have to build it right through the one we see now.
If we’ve had the fortune to cross paths, I’m thankful to reconnect with you through these words. The world is spinning, but of course it has always been spinning in ways we’re still just learning to understand. Through the span of its incredible course, I’ve had the fortune to find myself in ways that I’m happy to share with others.
For many in this note, it’s been some time since we last spoke or saw one another. It’s my pleasure to update you, albeit briefly. For those who already know what I’ve been “up to”, you can skip on ahead; there’s only so much time for crying out loud!
Since graduating from UC Davis in 2014, I felt an enormous need to return to the city of Los Angeles for all the general reasons: to see my mother, my old friends and teachers, and to enjoy the sunshine that only Southern California could offer. It was every bit as enriching as it looked in my mind, and among it all, I felt large; at one point it was only a dream for my family to see me walk with that most invaluable piece of insurance that is a degree from an American university, and yet there it all was; we were truly stronger after my graduation for a better future together.
Then one evening I found myself walking through the old neighborhood when a vision took hold of me. Crossing shoulders with my fellow pedestrians, I was taken aback by all the families that could be my own. They looked and walked as we did, and put up their storefronts down the street no differently from us. Their faces were filled with dignity, and as I heard them chatting and laughing charismatically with one another I could feel the resilience and generosity of their character.
Then I looked at the whole boulevard, and its warm and brilliant lights under the vast sky filled me with life. I fell hard. I saw myself in the city, and I haven’t been able to shake the idea ever since. Two and a half years later, I see JIMBO TIMES more than ever in the endless shades of brown bodies that streamline through Los Angeles.
From there, with the humbling support of the community I developed “J.T.”. It was a magnificent ride, but apart from my time with the site as a recreational experience, I had to make ends meet at home! I found work where I could, ending up at Vons and then Starbucks for a time before landing an editing position with a local nonprofit working in juvenile justice. I also found a role with the Plus Me project, which was another nonprofit that saw me visit different middle and high schools to lead storytelling workshops with L.A.’s students!
Each experience taught me a great deal about myself in the city I call home, but more than anything, they taught me how to manage my time, one second at a time JIMBO TIMES style. The result was that my website shifted from a focus on storytelling in the traditional article or blogging fashion to a focus on photography; the latter was simply a faster way to get a point across, and also a hell of a lot of fun. Wouldn’t you say?
In 2016, although JIMBO TIMES did some commenting on the primaries leading up to November, I decided it was ultimately better to veer away from the race; there was only so much speculating to be done about the turnout, but it’s also true that my other jobs around that time picked up significantly; I was spread thin.
Still, on election night like many of us across the country and around the world I watched in shock as the results of the election came in. It was an unforgettable moment, as grim as they come when it comes to watching helplessly. Even so, I told myself that I would be as resilient as always and that the people around me would do the same. I was right, but I didn’t know just how right.
I saw people mobilizing swiftly, and although I initially thought their efforts would make a faint impact, I realized I was giving into my skepticism. Plus, I told myself, if J.T. was in fact going to be in touch with the city, how could I not pay attention and march with its people as they rallied to engage their fellow citizens?
POC Today was born in that moment. There was no more watching helplessly, as I realized that it was time to culminate from dedicating my work to the city of L.A. towards dedicating it to people of color everywhere fighting to be heard; standing amid the rows of bodies in downtown L.A. calling out for justice together, the two were one and the same.
Of course, there are many publications and media outlets across the vast channels of the web that are doing this, that is, focusing on the stories of people of color; however, POC Today will pick up where they leave off.
Why? What will separate POCT from the rest? You should already know. A vision by J.T.
CUT TO THE CHASE
I have created an outline/definitions sheet for POC Today that I’m proud to share. In it readers will see how while the project begins with coverage of the general political landscape; it will take a step beyond the general topics by working to mobilize others towards civic engagement and political participation. To be more specific for those who don’t have time to look at the sheet, POC TODAY will work towards getting more young people to vote.
With this in mind, I am excited to reach out to the community once again. If everyone included in this note donated just $5 to POC Today via J.T., I would have enough to develop a website, to purchase a couple of hard drives, and to promote the project both online and on the ground.
The truth is, there’s a great opportunity at hand with the tides of protest that are swarming through so much of the country. Many of the people who comprise the marches are people who want to participate in the process, but we need to do more than march; we need to learn how to vote, and how to teach others to vote. Our votes are our voices, and if we’re not utilizing our voices to truly take hold of policy-making, then our marching is truly just symbolic. It will thus be the responsibility of POCT to develop and refine formulas in order to help others increase their involvement with the political landscape.
To do this wouldn’t be anything completely new from what many media outlets out there are doing, but the way in which POC Today will relay this information is what will be new; our coverage will be done with respect to people of all colors and age ranges and other identities because that’s what the people included in this note are, and because that’s who our audience will continue to be as the platform grows.
So, what do you say? Are you ready to pitch in $5 or $10 for another dream, or are you still not yet convinced?
Besides giving you my money, what else can be done?
Sign up for the monthly newsletter with a simple “yes” in a reply to this note, and then get a friend to sign up so I can make it count for two. Follow us on Twitter or Facebook or Instagram, and again, tell a friend! The only way anything gets done is by passing it around like a hot potato, and this latest venture is no exception.
And if you can’t just simply donate or like or follow because there is more that you want to do, then let me know! Indeed it’s not easy work to put all this stuff together and work between schedules and all, but it’s been done, and with POC Today it’s being done again.
With this, thank you thank you thank you for your support throughout this time, and have no fear! Our world is brimming each day with new ways to save the day, and it’s true we’re cutting it close, but somehow I suspect that’s precisely what keeps it so damn interesting.
From marvelous Los Angeles,