This Juneteenth: Emancipate History to Make Way for A New Future in Los Angeles

(Pandemic in Los Angeles: Day 92)

On June 19th, 1865, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation, General Gordon Granger for President Lincoln’s Union army issued an order to the people of Texas from Galveston, Texas:

The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired laborer.”

Why does this matter in Los Angeles, California, which wasn’t even a part of the U.S. northern states until 1848? Because chattel slavery in the United States, more than anything, was an economic condition, in which masses of laborers toiled daily for next to nothing as a small handful of masters profited immensely in a system enforced by laws, armed forces, and lies.

155 years later, today the relation between labor and profit is still a shining model of masses toiling daily for little return while CEOs like Jeff Bezos stand to make over a trillion dollars. Closer to home, one can find a myriad of bodies at countless L.A. kitchens, delivery, transportation and sanitation services, and at warehouses and factories, where sometimes workers produce for as little as $4.66 an hour, and where sometimes they’re not even properly paid that.

It’s clear then that we’re much closer to the past than it might seem, Los Angeles. But once we learn it, it’s also true that we’re that much closer to the better future we can aspire to.

J.T.

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Pandemic in Los Angeles: Day 47

This upcoming Sunday will mark Mother’s Day 2020. I’m taking mom out for some chile relleno, even if it still has to be takeout. Earlier today, I was stopped in my tracks when I heard LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner recognizing his own mother as the catalyst for his life in education during his weekly address for parents and families in L.A.:

The most important teacher in my life was my mom. She helped thousands of public school kids learn to read, including me. The love of reading she taught me led to a love of learning, which is with me today, as I try to better understand the world around me. Thank you, Mom.”

Austin Beutner

Let’s leave it simply at that for today, Los Angeles.

J.T.

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5 Tips for When 4th of July Sucks

So it’s supposed to be the big day. The day that everybody goes outside and watches fireworks blazing across The City. It’s also supposed to be the day of the barbecue. From what you’ve seen and heard, the way it’s supposed to be is that your family is supposed to get together, and you’re all supposed to have lots of food over the grill and charcoal, some water balloons, maybe even a water gun or two, and the loudest, most rambunctious fireworks in the world.

But what if you don’t have any of that? Or what if you’re actually totally ‘over’ the 4th of July before the first grill is even lit?

When I was a Young in Los Angeles, 4th of July was more often than not a day when it seemed like everyone except my family and I could enjoy the time. There was never much money for fireworks, and ever since my brother and I were toddlers, mom had completely banned any water guns for us to play with. This left just water balloons, but then, on the 4th, there were only so many kids who still wanted to chuck water balloons at each other as teens; everyone was more interested in the crackle and spark of fireworks. This left my brother and I to mostly just watch as other kids got to light up their explosions.

But now, maybe because you’re luckier, I’ve got 5 tips for you to get through the 4th of July when it’s dragging that my bro and I would have appreciated knowing about when we were in your shoes!

1. Don’t stay in while the pops crackle. Go outside because it’s fresher. Even if it’s just to go to the store to get some milk and cookies, that still counts as getting ‘outta the house. You’ll notice the slower pace of the city during a holiday like the 4th. In L.A., most of the roads tend to quiet down some, which relaxes the vibe of the whole place. And if you and your folks can hop on a bus or rail line to get out somewhere farther like the Santa Monica Pier or Elysian Park, the city will feel even more fresh for you to sift through. Ah, freshness. You need this!

2. Don’t just buy a cheeseburger or pizza. Make your own cheeseburger or pizza. For the former, I’ve got a secret for you: with just a little over five dollars, you can purchase ONE POUND of ground beef AND a bag of burger buns. With or without some parental support, you can throw some salt and seasoning on the beef, grill it–EASY on the oil–warm the buns, and then add cut up onions, lettuce, and a slice of tomato, avocado or whatever other ingredients your belly calls for. Then, WALAAH. Your burgers won’t taste like the kind you’re used to buying places, but they’ll be better because they’ll be made by YOU, COOK. Your own personal barbecue!

3. Don’t lounge around home being bored. Take a nap. If you’re able to, try to lie on your back and rest your mind with a good book, preferably during daytime since the evening will be locked in explosive sounds at least until midnight. A nap also works well with Item 2 on our list, since both the beach and the park can serve as key locations to catch a few Zzzzs. You also need this!

4. If you can’t sleep, fine. Get started on your own podcast for the Jimbo Times Hoodie Challenge. I mean, can you blame me for trying to spur you into some action? Now’s as good a time as ever! At least to get started on the outline, for crying out loud. You do realize you’re going to need a new hoodie after summer, right?! Yes, yes you will.

5. Don’t be a grump. Tell mom or dad you love them, then run like they’re zombies. Continue running. What I mean is, you need to take a jog! Why doesn’t anyone believe me on this? A light jog is good for your mind and body! It helps expel the pressure points, or the places where your body accumulates stress. It’s too easy, if you don’t over-think it. And your phone will still be there when you get back. Trust!

And that’s it, folks. That’s five tips for you this 4th. Now, is the short set of tips a bulletproof list of stuff to help you get through the day? Nope. It’s just a start.

Most importantly, what you have to know is this: if the day ends up dragging for you no matter what you do, you’re not alone. It happens. And quite frequently too as you come to terms with reality. But in this case, you might as well give at least one of the items here a shot just to see if it helps. At day’s end, it’s still never too late to make the day count in your own way, and of course you can do it. Jimbo Times believes in you.

J.T.