Virgil Village Loses Anthony ‘Lil Sleepy’ Ruiz

Anthony Ruiz, a 28 year old disabled man, was a life-long member of the Virgil Village community in the East Hollywood area of Los Angeles. On the evening of October 8th, 2019, shortly after 6:00 PM, Anthony was shot four times at the intersection of Virgil Avenue and Lockwood Street. He was rushed to the hospital, where hours later he was pronounced dead. For fellow locals in the area, Anthony was an unmistakable figure who crisscrossed the local side-walks in his wheelchair.

Also characterizing Anthony was a child-like smile that came over his face when laughing in the company of his homies. Anthony became disabled over 15 years ago during his early teen years, when another shooting permanently severed his spine. He was still at Thomas Starr King Middle School when he lost the ability to walk and would also go on to attend John Marshall High School before dropping out in the mid-2000s. He is survived by his Godfather Vic, as well as friends and family throughout the neighborhood now grieving his loss. If you would like to support memorial services for Anthony, you can do so at his GoFundMe page.

J.T.

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Happy Blogaversary: Jimbo Times

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There are birthdays, and then there are blog-days. Today is the latter for yours truly, as JIMBO TIMES: The L.A. Storyteller completes its fifth year in publication.

On this special day, I could think of few activities more fitting than sitting down to write just a snippet about L.A. for the purpose of bolstering the workshop experience for guests at our free and open day of art, workshops, and engagement with the vecindad.

See the following note for BTS 2’s workshop facilitators, because how can a workshop facilitator deliver a great experience for their workshop participants, if they don’t pause to consider a few key details about those participants before workshop begins?

“Consider a day in the life of Doña Maria and her two children in Los Angeles. By 7:30 AM on Monday morning, Doña Maria serves breakfast for her two children, Carlos and Miguel. By 8 AM, she begins walking her kids to school. She first drops off Carlos (11 years old), the younger of the two brothers, at nearby Lockwood elementary, then Miguel (13 years old), the older of the two brothers, at King Middle School, which is nearly a mile away from home. By 9 am, Doña Maria returns home and prepares to head out to her neighbors’ apartment nearby, where she’ll look after their toddlers for four to five hours. By 2 pm, Doña Maria finishes her shift with the toddlers for the day, and prepares once again to pick up Carlos and Miguel from school. By 4 PM, she’s back home with her boys. She spends the rest of her day preparing dinner, cleaning up after the kids, and setting up for Tuesday morning. Considering Doña Maria’s schedule, at which point in the day might she and her kids be able to access your program or resources?”

These are the questions we have to ask if we’re to deliver critical experiences to our special audiences. The party begins now. Happy Blogaversary, JIMBO TIMES!

J.T.

Los Cuentos Is In, Los Angeles

It’s been nearly two months since the first-ever sale for the new Los Cuentos took place on JIMBO TIMES. This morning, I’d like to take a glance back at just what the project has led to for Los Angeles. I consider each Los Cuentos hat to be an accomplishment both for myself personally, as well as for The City they’re dedicated to. They tell me that we’re only as limited as we believe ourselves to be, while everything else is up to our imagination. Thank you for your continued support Los Angeles, there’s much more on the way!

J.T.

It’s Going to be Another Trailblazing Summer in Los Angeles

Last summer when the First Ever Back to School Party made its way to East Hollywood in Los Angeles, it was following in the steps of an earlier precedent set in the neighborhood by the First Ever Open Mic at Cahuenga during Spring 2018.

Each event was designed from scratch, essentially made up of ‘thin air’, and would go on to create reverberations in and around the neighborhood for days. Now, with a 2nd Annual Open Mic Night at Cahuenga Library officially done and documented, and with the official start of summer just over a week away, it’s my pleasure to announce a 2nd Annual Back to School Party (BTS II), once again at El Gran Burrito in Los Angeles on Saturday, August 24, 2019. BTS II will coalesce with several other projects by yours truly, including the East Hollywood Neighborhood Survey, an upcoming Summer Writing Challenge for Students in L.A., and more Los Cuentos Merch, among other goodies.

In other words, it’s an exciting time to prepare for summer heat in The City, where our marks under the sun wait once again to be remade. In celebration and anticipation of the next ‘BTS’ Party, it’s also my pleasure to publish the gallery in this blog, each picture courtesy of Samanta Helou, of This Side of Hoover. Samanta’s pictures are proof of the power that emanates so boldly when communities come together unapologetically seeking something new for themselves. My world changed magnetically in the flicker of time that was the event–just as it would in the time following it–and I know I’m not the only one for whom that’s true.

I look to create the same opportunity and more for The City alongside my team this next Summer 2019. Expect nothing less than the world!

J.T.