Thank you to each and every attendant for making it out to the first ever Open Mic hour at the Cahuenga branch library this past Saturday, April 14th, 2018.

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 the locals who came: 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 these photos from the event with the site. There’s more memorabilia which I haven’t quite gathered yet, but which I’ll also be passing 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 is a picture of the beautiful mural painted in memory of Jesse, the late ‘hijo, tio, and hermano‘ of the community who attendants learned about in one of the proudest and most important moments of our gathering: 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, for the strength and courage they’ve passed on to us for our own health and well being our here, as the future of Los Angeles.

I would also like to say thank you to those who couldn’t make it to the event but who expressed interest or support for its success, as well as those peers and friends who I hope to see at the next one, which will have to happen; after so much unity in the community for the Open Mic, I’ve got a feeling we’ll be seeing more events like it 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 the pictures through another medium, just let me know and I’ll be happy to reach out accordingly.

Yours L.A.,

J.T.

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