A Note to Los Shoppers during this COVID-19 Season

Doña Ana is a single mother of two teenage boys who makes her living taking care of her neighbors’ children while the parents go to work for the day. She had a shift this past Saturday, meaning that she could only get to the store after her neighbors returned from their shifts to pick up their little ones come evening. When Doña Ana finally got to the store with her boys, however, the shelves were cleared of groceries and carried no toilet paper. She now figures that she and her family can use scratch paper or coupon magazines in the interim. This is who panic buyers take away from the most.

J.T.

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Calling All Bloggers, Writers, Storytellers: Publish Your Voice on Jimbo Times: The L.A. Storyteller

It’s true.

“After five years of JIMBO TIMES: The L.A. Storyteller, it’s time to make space on the blog for more voices and stories from communities in Los Angeles and beyond. Enter the new Submissions feature. To maintain and expand the blog’s love for city life and attention to its working class communities, here are the types of pieces writers everywhere are encouraged to submit…”

I’m very proud of this latest milestone for the site, and thereby look forward to seeing what types of stories we’ll be getting out there! Visit the new SUBMISSIONS page soon to go and see for yourself!

J.T.

Supay & New York City: Two Adventures, One Destiny

Since as long as I can remember, the background on my computer screen was the NYC skyline. I was drawn to the city lights and told myself, “in another life” I would live there. I was born in Cusco, Peru, but was adopted weeks after birth and raised in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. At 25, I had just moved into a beautiful apartment and had an amazing job and strong support system from my friends and family in Brooklyn Park. But I was craving more. At the time everything felt like it was too easy, I knew I could be more and do more.

In 2017, I sold my car, packed two suitcases, and followed my heart, purchasing a one way ticket to New York City.

It was then that I reconnected with Sam, a friend of mine I’d met years earlier on a family visit to Lima, Peru. Sam had also been adopted from Peru and we met while we were both trying to reconnect with our birth families.

We didn’t know we’d both be in New York City 13 years later, but there we were. One night, while we were playing soccer down at the pier, Sam asked if I wanted to be his partner with SUPAY, a design company he had started in Summer 2015 showcasing his South American ties through modern street-wear. I was thrilled! Our illustration styles were similar, we had both gone to college for Graphic Design, and both shared an incredible culture to look back on together. I knew we’d make a solid team.

We started with the idea of self identity – who we are, where we come from, where we’re going. We both struggled with identity since we were each raised by Caucasian parents, missing out on the experience and knowledge of a Hispanic family. We wanted to reconnect with our roots and so we began to research South American civilizations, studying designs, textiles, architecture and artwork to make sense of the history.

Sam looked into Incan mythology and selected Supay for the brand’s name because Supay was the god of the Incan underworld. He was a misfit, but his unique character provided sustaining springs of subterranean waters to the upper world of life. We could both relate to Supay since each of us is constantly searching for the light among the darkness in NYC. It’s what we aim to show in each design for our t-shirts.

Sam also now goes by Uku Pacha for his DJ name, which references the Incan underworld.

It all happened very fast, but I feel like I’m right where I need to be.

When I step outside I feel a tremendous amount of energy that the city permeates. There’s always something more you can do to push yourself and that’s something I didn’t feel in MN. I’ve had so many people stop me at coffee-shops asking what I’m doing when I’m designing, wanting to see more illustrations and learn about the story behind SUPAY. Their positive energy advances me forward. It brings me only more happiness to know this is just the beginning and that I’m blessed to be following my dreams alongside my best friend.

My advice for anyone out there who feels out of place sometimes but who still has a dream just like I did, would be this: your dream doesn’t have to be just an idea resting in your mind. You can will it into existence and take that first step. If you truly give yourself a chance to push through all the uncertainty and do everything with love, you’ll be steered in the right direction, every time.

M.R.

EPISODE 10 – THE THINK FARM

That’s right Los Angeles.

In our tenth episode, we sit down with Helen Kim of THE THINK FARM, the design studio whose flyers promoted our Back 2 School events beyond expectation. We discuss how gentrification of our neighborhood brought us together, the way “intimate” storytelling in Los Angeles is growing, creative collaborations in Koreatown, and more. See The Think Farm’s designs on Instagram: @thethinkfarm

J.T.

EPISODE 9 – THIS SIDE OF HOOVER

In our ninth episode for J.T. The L.A. Storyteller, we link up with Samanta Helou-Hernandez, whose page This Side of Hoover on Instagram documents the ongoing gentrification of the Virgil Village area in Los Angeles. Samanta describes how her own experience with displacement led her to start photographing her community, and also discusses working with us for the first-ever Back 2 School Party in East Hollywood. We also discuss her reporting on the local Union Swap Meet, thoughts on the L.A. Times, and more. Visit This Side of Hoover on Instagram: @thissideofhoover

Have You Kept Up? EPISODE 5 is In

I remember the moment this past Spring that it became clear it was time to publish a Podcast for J.T. The L.A. Storyteller, when Ed and I sat down at good ole Cahuenga Library for a special workshop on the whys and how-tos. As we thought about the possibilities with throwing our own hats into the podcasting scene, we looked back on everything leading up to that point: we had POC Today behind us, along with the completion of our first-ever Back to School Party, and not one but two (2) Open Mics at Cahuenga as well. Considering the podcast ahead, then, Ed and I could trust in one thing: we had a strong track record together, making some qualitative work ahead of us only that much likelier. Now, in our fifth episode, Ed and I continue thinking BIG for Los Angeles. Please join us by tuning in HERE. And if you like what you hear, please write us a review to tell others how so!

J.T.

Tune In to the 3rd Episode of J.T. The L.A. Storyteller Podcast

Yes, you read that right! Episode 3 is in. Tune in to hear all about how our event turned out, as well as more about the history that inspired BTS 2! Find the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and SoundCloud.

J.T.

Our Community is Getting Stronger, Este Hollywood

From the words of Dr. Mary Gallagher, President of Los Angeles City College:

“On Saturday, August 24th from 4 to 8 PM, staff from the non-credit department of LACC participated in a great local community event called Back 2 School 2, marking the second year of this event. I was able to attend and hear all of the things going on at the ‘grass roots’ level of our community. LACC was included because of the GED preparation and testing we do. We also provided information from some of our students currently attending non-credit classes. It was a fabulous event. I look forward to next year.”

Dr. Gallagher’s recognition of BTS 2 is a milestone achievement for the work to uplift more vecindades in East Hollywood and throughout Los Angeles. In the days ahead, the work to keep strengthening our community will remain challenging, but I also believe that as our special event showed this past Saturday–and last year–the promise of the work will remain bright and full of encouragement. There will be more following up on the success of BTS 2, but for now, I’d like to express my deepest thanks to each supporter, close and afar, who took a moment to contribute to this critical day for our neighborhood and families all throughout this great city.

J.T.

Introducing J.T. The L.A. Storyteller Podcast, Episode 1

In our first official podcast ever, Ed and I describe community organizing in East Hollywood, fundraising for our 2nd annual Back to School Party, and facing down other challenges in grassroots coalition building through Los Angeles. We also tell you a little bit about ourselves and why our experiences matter for our work with youth and education.

J.T.