EPISODE 58 – BELMONT HIGH SCHOOL IN THE 1960s

In our 58th episode, we are honored to chat with Karen “Kiwi” Burch, as well as her sister Cheryl McDonald. The sisters tell us about their respective careers in education through and beyond Los Angeles, their parents’ profound influence on their education, and the diverse student population of Belmont high school as early as 1963. Karen and Sheryl also describe running for the Associated Student government at Belmont high school, the once-prevalent LAUSD practice of “funneling” non-white students to separate schools, redlining’s impact on their families, and their grandparents’ cafeteria at none other than the Central Public Library. A truly can’t miss post-session for fans of our special panel series.

J.T.

EPISODE 43 – THE POEM WE SIGN

In our 43rd episode, we catch up with none other than Bethanee Epifani. We talk inauguration, Amanda Gorman’s “The Hill We Climb,” vaccination in Los Angeles, and even $100,000 dollars. That’s right. If you’d like to support more of the work at jimbotimes.com, you can join us for a new adventure on Patreon at patreon.com/jimbotimes.

J.T.

Second Chance (A Ninth Grade Student’s Poem on Redemption)

Everyone needs a second chance,

A second chance to say goodbye.

To say sorry, to understand.

To hold a grudge or to start a new chapter,

A chance to remain hurt, or a chance to forgive and forget.

But why remain hurt if there’s a second chance to stop hurting.

I need a second chance, you need a second chance,

We need a second chance.

MT

MT is a Black 9th grade student at Dorsey High School in the West Adams area of Los Angeles. His favorite hobbies include playing basketball when he’s outside, and playing Fortnite when he’s stuck at home. This poem is dedicated to his father.

Every Month is Black History Month in the U.S.A.

There would not be any United States of America if it wasn’t for Black people.

From the moment the first ships docked to shore in Hampton, Virginia (1619),

To the final seconds of that fateful morning above the hills in Calabasas, Los Angeles,

Black stories have constituted American history since before it was a Union, and continue to do so to this day.

In Los Angeles, where would we be without our Black icons?

8:24, Nipsey Hussle, Tupac Amaru Shakur, Angela Yvonne Davis; that’s just the beginning.

We recognize their voices as we open this Mic,

But we also recognize:

Black mothers,

Black fathers,

Black brothers,

Black sisters,

Black grandmothers,

Black grandfathers,

Communities in Historic South Central,

In Compton and Watts.

From Long Beach, to Inglewood,

To Leimert Park, West Adams, and beyond.

We recognize:

Black custodians,

Black bus drivers,

Black shopkeepers,

Black cooks,

Black healers,

Black teachers,

Black artists,

Black authors,

And especially

Black poets.

In the words of

Langston Hughes,

Who would also come

To greet sunny Los Angeles:

‘I too,

Sing America.’

We too

Will sing!

Now,

Let’s get this

Open Mic going.

J.T.

EPISODE 13 – BETHANEE EPIFANI

In our 13th episode, we sit down with Bethanee Epifani for a discussion on “cultural work” in Los Angeles vis-a-vis the publication of her second book, Don’t Fall Prey! Our discussion touches on the need for more Black spaces in L.A., as well as Bethanee’s very own live event for her book taking place this Saturday, February 29th, 2020 at South LA Cafe. To learn more about Bethanee’s work, find her on Instagram @bepifani.

J.T.

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ferriswheel at night

Two Sides of Wonder (An 8th Grade Student’s Poem on Being)

U sit and wonder in class,
U sit in wonder at home,
I wonder why,
Why do I wonder,
Why do u wonder?

But isn’t it all wonderful
When we wonder
About being wonderful,

Or when we wonder about
What makes us wonder.

I wonder why, actually
I wonder why we wonder,
And what we wonder.

I wonder about my lady
Who’s got me bubbling lately,
Says my side is where she stay
But what happens when u drift away.

Look back at my pops, wonder where he’s at all day,
No kap, I’m just a young Black teen
Who wants to grow up and pursue his dreams.

A young visionary who wants to make sure
It’s always food in mom’s fridge,

Who wants to rise, uplift his friends,
Get bands, and count up the dividends.

KD

A 7th Grade Student’s Poem for Black Lives in Los Angeles

Black Potential

by Te’Aunee Turner

We are BLACK, We are BROWN and we are even more than what they make us seem.

They make us seem weak, worthless, and they use us as scapegoats.
But the fact is
We are
Preachers,
Teachers,
Singers,
Fighters, and
Leaders.

Don’t you try to put US down because they already tried,

They insulted us like HARRIET TUBMAN
They abused us like EMMETT TILL
They disenfranchised us like MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.
THEY EVEN TRIED TO MAKE US SLAVES,
BUT WE BROKE THEM DAMN CHAINS.

WE are BLACK
I am BLACK
I AM BLACK
I am BRAVE, COURAGEOUS, and DETERMINED
And let it be known,
I ain’t no BURDEN.

So do not UNDERESTIMATE our potential,
MY POTENTIAL
My BLACK POTENTIAL.

Because Harriet Tubman helped free her people from chains,
So Rosa could sit,
So Martin could march,
And finally, so Obama could lead.

I can be the next Michelle
I can be the next Harriet
I can be the next Maya Angelou,
This is because of African-American leaders who fought for our Rights.

Now, I fight for my Rights.

About the author: Te’Aunee Turner is a 7th grade student in Los Angeles. In Te’Aunee’s own words, she hopes her poem shows others “[that] being equal is not treating someone with an advantage because they’re in a higher class, or taking advantage of others because they don’t have money. This is how our great African American leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. and Nipsey Hussle got killed. The whole point of this is for people to see others for who they really are so we can treat each other more equally.”

Te’Aunee’s sister, Dasia, and Language Arts teacher, Ms. Morales, also provided support for this poem.

J.T.