Pandemic in Los Angeles: Day 19

The question of how to continue educating and organizing for communities during this public health crisis is burrowed in my mind, and I am moving forward with more vision. Today, I am announcing the launch of an official website for Who Is Your Neighborhood/Quien Es Tu Vecindario in East Hollywood, Los Angeles, primarily written in Spanish, which will serve as a tool and resource guide for las familias in the neighborhood to learn about grassroots efforts to support our community during the pandemic.

The fact of the matter is that before the coronavirus swarmed over each walk of life, JIMBO TIMES was only getting started with bringing together the vecindad; two consecutive Back to School Parties and two Open Mic Nights for youth and families in East Hollywood were just the beginning. This year, before the shuttering of L.A.’s schools and libraries, there was already a 3rd Open Mic Night scheduled at local Cahuenga Public Library for this April 9th, replete with another flyer by The Think Farm. That event is of course now cancelled, and it’s a question as to whether there can be a 3rd annual Back to School Party this August 2020, but I do know this: there is no need to wait until summer to rise once again for the uplifting of our communities.

Indeed, there is already a community at work each day with or without any organization making a formal commitment to it. There are neighbors speaking with their neighbors, daughters dialing their mamas, friends texting, emailing, and face-timing each other, bloggers passing on the latest to subscribers, and more.

Even so, I know it’s not easy for many of the humble gente still carrying this wondrous city on their backs while quartered at home, whose kids rely on school meals, and whose work relies on the good will of many they’ve now lost touch with; people who don’t quite have the time to read the L.A. Times reports–even if they’re en Español–and whom also therefore still have much to learn to get through these times still better prepared for the future rather than not.

For these reasons, the new site will seek simply to build upon what their voices and manos have already taught this blogger (or is it blogero): to be honest with our intentions, graceful in our learning, and ever ambitious in our will to go the distance no matter the depth of the road.

We can do this, Los Angeles. Or is it, si se puede!

J.T.

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Pandemic in Los Angeles: Day 7

Today it dawned on me that what’s more likely about the proximity of the coronavirus to my community is not that it’s on its way, but that it’s already here, somewhere in the vicinity, albeit undetected.

When I think about that, I realize just how much I’ve got in common with millions of other Americans who’ve little to no access to basic healthcare services. In one of the last estimates, the Wall Street Journal notes that the “average” test or screening for coronavirus can run a patient up to $1,464.00 USD. According to the statistics, more than half of American households–which is to say somewhere around 165 million people–don’t even have an emergency savings account.

While Congress passed legislation to make screenings for coronavirus free of charge earlier this month, healthcare systems all across the U.S. are notorious for still billing people who can’t afford thousands of dollars in fees relating to pre-screenings or other costs that can accrue in a last-minute visit to the hospital.

In turn, even if the stock market surged earlier today in lieu of a stimulus package making its way through Congress promising $1,200 USD to Americans impacted by COVID-19, the fact of the matter is that the check is a one-time payment that’ll barely cover rent for many when it’s due next week. After that, where is our country to go?

Four years ago when the president launched his campaign, were millions of Americans who were out of work and on the verge of eviction, for which his administration would promise only a one-time payment to, as if to bid them good luck and farewell, was that his idea of making America great again?

In the meantime, at least Governor Cuomo in New York has put in place a statewide ban or eviction moratorium for New Yorkers unable to pay rent through the next 90 days due to a lack of income. Governor Newsom, on the other hand, has yet to announce any such plans for renters here in California, of which there are more than 17 million, or nearly 43 percent of the state’s total population.

In Los Angeles, the L.A. City Council canceled meetings for the rest of March a day before a scheduled vote on expansive orders halting evictions. If not for an executive order issued by Mayor Garcetti placing a temporary ban on evictions of people affected by COVID-19, L.A. tenants would have virtually no protections during this time.

I’ve thus got a feeling that more coordinated leadership from our elected officials would be much appreciated by those who’ve financially been hit the hardest by this pandemic. Those people who comprise the community this blog continues to be dedicated to.

J.T.

The Situation is Crucial in Los Angeles

In the last ten years, inequality across the city lines has never been more abundant. The number of unhoused people on the streets has skyrocketed, while political leadership on the issue has all but abandoned these citizens to the dust of L.A’s crust and freeways.

Just around the corner of makeshift “tent cities” founded by this inequality, minimum wage in Los Angeles continues to bleed workers out of their living; these workers are parents, siblings, community college students, and a myriad of other vulnerable people just trying to survive another day. Maybe another month.

At L.A.’s schools, swaths of students continue to be underserved while their teachers and counselors continue searching past the droves of work placed on their desks for a better way. Those teachers also continue to be widely underpaid.

L.A. as home appears to have never hung more in the balance. On some days it feels like I only see more of my community falling into the same old cliches.

And yet, here comes LOS CUENTOS.

Los Cuentos is love for my community. Just like my blog, Los Cuentos is an ode to my community recognizing the people of Los Angeles for who they are:

Resilient,

Loving,

Wonderous,

Heroes to this lover of all things Los Angeles.

It is between their shoulders that jimbo times was founded. And now it’s on their shoulders that we stand.

Los Cuentos hoodies are thus but a handful of precious threads to warm those awesome shoulders.

Our hoodies may not save the world for our community, but they will say thank you to their sacred beings.

Thank you is a start. As good of a start as we need right now. 40 Cuentos have become 9 Cuentos left to get out to the city.

Thank you Los Angeles,

J.T.

Get Your First Ever Los Snapbacks by Jimbo Times

Los Cuentos Snapback –

85% acrylic & 15% wool. Structured, 6-panel, high-profile hat to wear like a crown or visor. Also accompanied by six eyelets. Plastic buttons for adjustment in the back.

$30.00

J.T.

EPISODE 7 – CHINA, CUENTOS, JT

In our seventh episode, we reflect on our recent trip to China, which was much appreciated after a busy year of community work in Los Angeles. We also update listeners on the next phase of LOS CUENTOS for this winter season, as well as a new feature on Jimbo Times, the blog! It’s a jam-packed episode for all things in the land of JT!

J.T.

Join Who Is Your Neighborhood at LACC this Saturday, October 12, 2019

That’s right! Los Angeles City College is celebrating the College’s 90th Anniversary in East Hollywood with quite the event: a Community Resource Day this Saturday from 10 AM – 2 PM on the College Campus.

Naturally, the team behind Back 2 School and I have got to be a part of the special day. So we’ll be staffing a table at the event, where we’ll be talking with visitors about our annual Back 2 School Party, our local Neighborhood Survey, and more ways to get involved with our ongoing efforts to uplift this side of Los Angeles. We’ll also be debuting our brand new banner, courtesy of The Think Farm. Come enjoy the festivities with us!

J.T.

Subscribe to J.T. The L.A. Storyteller

That’s right! As our work in Los Angeles continues making waves, it’s important for yours truly to take the site’s organization and contact information to the next level. Enter the brand-new Subscription list for JIMBO TIMES: The L.A. Storyteller, now open to all readers and visitors to the site.

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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.

What a Ride, Los Angeles; Our Final Flyer for BTS 2 is Now Live

It’s going to be a show like no other that day in Los Angeles. I sure hope you’ve saved the date! August 24th, 2019 from 4 – 8 PM.

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.