After a momentous two-hour event with everyone for the first ever Open Mic hour at the Cahuenga branch library this past Saturday, April 14th, 2018, I realized something: each of us who participated, from the Open Mic hour poets, to our Featured Languages trio, and from the Friends of Cahuenga team, to the team of volunteers the day of and 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 these photos from the event with the site. Pictures include ‘build-up’ photos of Cahuenga’s surrounding area, as well as a few shots of the volunteers who helped organize the space. Also included are a couple of pictures of the Open Mic performances, and a 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.

The final photo in this column is a picture of the beautiful mural painted at the corner of Virgil Avenue and Burns Street in memory of Jesse, the late ‘hijo, tio, and hermano‘ of the community who attendants learned of 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, like the power of your voice, is what keeps this vecindad and others like it going all across Los Angeles. Moving forward, please consider our Open Mic and other events like it your events and that of all of our pueblo’s: mamaspapas, and abuelitas included.

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 we 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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