The Work Continues, Los Angeles

Everything is moving so quickly. I feel the world spinning. I see my place in it, and though a part of me just wants to celebrate every bloom now springing all throughout my environment, the rest of myself -the one in movement- is just focused on getting, getting, and getting through to it all.

On Friday of this upcoming week I return to my alma mater at King Middle School for some more work with The Plus Me Project. This is followed by an important workshop for the day at L.A. Trade Tech.

The Friday after that, I’m set to hit my alma mater at UC Davis for the tenth annual SAYS conference, and my second year in a row presenting there. Then, there are a myriad of appointments in between and right afterwards so that May will evaporate in a feverish lapse like L.A. winter.

On May 25th, an anchor of worlds leaves the shore for me to see, that is, on classified terms, which will require another trip out North. Then just a weekend after that, I get back to LAX again, this time for another flight to a world once thought impossible. Also classified, that is! Until further notice, at least.

Just. Like. That.

What do you think, Los Angeles?

The fact is that it’s you that moved us to it.

J.T.

The Writing Is On the Wall: California Progresses Only in Robbing More of Its Black and Brown Youth of their Future

The state of California is a racist entity. From Orange County to Los Angeles, to Ventura, Santa Barbara, and on. First the state impoverishes Black & Brown kids, then it expounds on that impoverishment by incarcerating them, and finally, when those young people happen to find themselves as recipients of “services” developed by “shadow” organizations funded and controlled, or contracted by the state, both of these entities put the kids on display in order for their alliance to gall over their “reform” efforts on them; as if the kids were simply livestock led astray which the state was kind enough to contract other folks into shepherding back.

But the state and its proxies are wolves in sheeps’ clothing. It is the state that first places Black and Brown youth into poor schooling to begin with, and then it is the state which places batches of them on probation, a lifesucking form of surveillance and regulation that hardly allows for any youth to develop their education and work opportunities successfully. Then it is the state which moves at the first minute to further penalize these probationed youth the moment they fail to meet the stringent policies of the probation forced on them. Where is the constitution in this? Or the supreme court? America is far from the right side of history in the matter.

It is a disgrace, and I am deeply offended, but as a Chicano in California I’m used to being offended by the state’s policing and harassment strategies, which act as attrition towards my character and that of my peers. It is actually the fact that so many “reformers” touting their non-profit umbrellas have the nerve to believe in their own status as “the helping hand” in this racist power structure that disturbs me more. This is not new, but rather, the professionalization of what once may have been a genuine effort of resistance to the mass incarceration of Black and Brown youth into a mere hashtag for fundraising and photo opps is the continuation of a long history of radical ideas being co-opted by the state and its beneficiaries.

I will not be silent in the matter, however. Instead, as I know it is my responsibility to do, I will spread this information as far and wide as daylight and earth allow me to. There will be more soon.

J.T.