Thank you to each and every attendant for making it out to the first ever Open Mic hour at the Cahuenga branch library.

After a momentous two-hour event with everyone, it dawned on me that each of us, from the Open Mic hour cast, to our Featured Languages trio, as well as from the Friends of Cahuenga team, to the team of volunteers the day of, and from the locals who came by: we were not just participants in the event, but partners in it.

In seeing one another, we completed one another, and for this reason it’s my pleasure to share the pictures above with all. There is more memorabilia which I haven’t quite gathered yet, but which I’ll also be happy to pass along once it’s ready. For now, pictures include the ‘build-up’ photos to the event of Cahuenga’s surrounding area, as well as a few shots of the volunteers who helped organize the space, a couple of pictures of the Open Mic hours themselves, and the final group photo. Hashtags I’ve used for these pictures include:

#Multilingual, #Tongvalands, #RanchoCahuenga, #OpenMicCahuenga, #Immigrant, #Black, #Queer, #Resilience, and #LAPL #Stories. I’ve applied these terms in an effort to have more of the ‘identities’ implied by them reflected at our local libraries. If any of you are so inclined, it’d be great to have you all grow these and any additionally inclusive tags with me.

Also included in these photos are a few pictures of the beautiful mural painted in memory of Jesse, the ‘hijo, tio, and hermano‘ of the community who attendants learned about in what I’ll remember for a long time as one of the proudest and most important moments of our event: when a long-time member of la vecindad took the courageous step of making a stand for her loved one before everyone in attendance.

Thank you, M, once again. The strength of your heart, as well as the power of your voice are exactly what keep this vecindad and others like it going all across Los Angeles. Moving forward, please consider these and other events like them yours and that of all of our pueblo’s: mamaspapas, and abuelitas included, whose strength and courage we’ve been fortunate to learn from to carry on for our own health and well being and each generation following: the future of Los Angeles.

As a note: also included in this thank you are those peers and friends who couldn’t make it to the event but who expressed interest at one point only to find themselves committed elsewhere the day of, as well as those peers and friends who I hope to see at the next one, which is in order; after so much unity in the community for our Open Mic this past weekend, a promising success, I’ve got a feeling we’ll be seeing more Open Mics and Open Mic-like events at the library. But one step at a time.

To be sure, following Saturday what’s clear is that of course our communities need more events like these. It’s going to take some work though, which is to say more organizing, and that can only be accomplished with more unity in the community, which is to say, your voices. To that end, for those interested, I will be sure to follow up regarding the next Friends of Cahuenga board meeting.

In the meantime, please enjoy the rest of National Poetry month, and for anyone who needs me to send the pictures through another medium, just let me know and I’ll be happy to do so accordingly.

Thank you once again Los Angeles,


J.T.

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