Pandemic in Los Angeles: Day 51

Sprinkled along Santa Monica boulevard, coronavirus notwithstanding, sun-baked tios and tias clad in face-masks offer bouquets of red roses in time for the dia festivo. Inspired by the gleaming spirit of their calls, one day before Mother’s Day, I am gifting readers with a new category for mom’s Newsstand in East Hollywood, facilitating for visitors of the webpage some time to connect with a few of her cuentos; I offer the collection of words nestled by the category as my mom’s newsstand has offered the community literacy and information for nearly two decades: with an utmost belief that words can in fact change the world.

Happy Mother’s Day, Los Angeles

J.T.

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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.

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.

On Black History Month (For the Students of Los Angeles) 2020

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,

Up to the final seconds of that fateful morning above the hills in Los Angeles,

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

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

8:24, Nipsey Hussle, Tupac Amaru Shakur, Angela Yvonne Davis, and more.

Their voices shaped this city and continue to do so, and it’s a privilege to recognize them as we Open this Mic, on this second to last day of Black History month 2020.

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, and more.

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 the sunshine of 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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Get Your First Ever Los Hoodies by Jimbo Times

Los Cuentos Hoodies – $40.00

Black & White, & Maroon. Both 50% pre-shrunk cotton, both 50% polyester. Super comfy!

Place your payment for your hoodie via VENMO.

J.T.

EPISODE 9 – THIS SIDE OF HOOVER

In our ninth episode, 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

J.T.

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EPISODE 1 – INTRODUCTIONS

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 about ourselves and why our experiences matter for our work with youth and education.

J.T.

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J.T. with the new Los Cuentos golf hat

Schoool (For the students of Los Angeles)

A little remix of 21 Savage’s billboard-topping ‘a lot’ by yours truly for the students of Los Angeles. Listen to the instrumental while using these substitute lyrics:

“How much homework you got? (straight up) 
How much homework you got? (straight up) 
How much homework you got? (straight up) 
How much homework you got? 

How many homeworks you got (a lot) 
How many quizzes you got? (a lot) 
How many teachers done doubted you? (a lot) 
Kicked you out the class? (a lot) 
How many lessons you lost? (a lot) 
How many field trips it cost? (a lot) 
How many laughs did you caught? (a lot) 
How many admins you shock? (a lot) 
How many times did you try? (a lot) 
How many times was it pride? (a lot) 
How many times you cold feet? (a lot) 
How many times did you sigh? (a lot) 
How many times your hope grieve? (a lot) 
How many times did it cry? (a lot) 
How many chances rap done gave you? (a lot) 
Thuggin’ round words like poets (a lot) 

Every day that I exist, I’ma side with the kids 
I’d rather be paid their thoughts than collect like Trix 
Told my students take my cred if my speech starts to cringe 
But I’m J.T. forev ain’t no way I’ma fidge(t)”

We give these schools they ground, we give these schools they ground 
We give these schools they ground, we give these schools they ground
We give these schools they ground, we give these schools they ground
We give these schools they ground, we make L.A. go ’round.

Huge potential outcomes if you state a couple facts 
Your dream so bold you could put it in your cap 
Fam vs the world, me and moms, it was us 
Then school sent me to da station and they really cuffed me up 

My father broke wives so he failed to be my teach 
My brothers popped ice and it fell em to the streets 
I been through the court but it turned me to J.T. 
Now the other side is sunny, I get paid these thoughts on sheets 

How many homeworks you got (a lot) 
How many quizzes you got? (a lot) 
How many teachers done doubted you? (a lot) 
Kicked you out the class? (a lot) 
How many lessons you lost? (a lot) 
How many field trips it cost? (a lot) 
How many laughs did you caught? (a lot) 
How many admins you shock? (a lot) 
How many times did you try? (a lot) 
How many times was it pride? (a lot) 
How many times you cold feet? (a lot) 
How many times did you sigh? (a lot) 
How many times your hope grieve? (a lot) 
How many times did it cry? (a lot) 
How many chances rap done gave you? (a lot) 
Thuggin’ round words like poets (a lot) 

We give these schools they ground, we give these schools they ground 
We give these schools they ground, we give these schools they ground
We give these schools they ground, we give these schools they ground
We give these schools they ground, we make L.A. go ’round. (x2)

How many sent to the deans’? 
For throwin ‘ they shots like vaccines 
I can see behind the phones and filters 
Egos ain’t big as they seem

Intersects like a string
Everybody got they thing 
Some students make dean’s list, other students make lean
I’m gon’ reflect on the scene
I’m not gon’ choke, I’ma free ‘em 

I don’t wan hear your concerns 
This ain’t no parent-square but I’ma care 
When they dragging kids down for expressin’ they heritage 
U know kids can learn from rap battlin’ and culture 

I guess you were hoping the rules would just tame they true selves
But these bars flowin ‘ college of self

OK, I got it, we’ll show up on everyone’s algorithm 
You know what bro Malcolm would preach 

Bettin ‘ a thousan

It’s got to the point that these schools ain’t even always the safest to be 
Fuck it cause that’s where this Los Cuentos fashion just hit me
It led me to save kids a spot, on a new remix to drop 
Shout out to “a lot, ” I polish the hook and I jot 

Pray for our schools cause they robbed like Iraq 
I picture the slaves on the fields pickin ‘ cot 
Respecc how they made it past all em cops 
Risking no less than they death if they caught 

I pray for the students who think they should cut 
Just want you to know your lives matter, my kiddos 
If I never met you, still know that you special 
And that the world needs you, don’t doubt it, for reala 

All the real teachers, stay solid, amigos 
I’m only tellin ‘ it just how I felt it 

I saw this parent look lost and abandoned  
When told that her kid goin ‘nowhere by standin’ out,’ I got amends 

It’s said that ur grades all about ur success, jot this dissent 
Flow on a mission reflectin’ how goals at our schools got be bigger 
Before we relent, reala

How many homeworks you got (a lot) 
How many quizzes you got? (a lot) 
How many teachers done doubted you? (a lot) 
Kicked you out the class? (a lot) 
How many lessons you lost? (a lot) 
How many field trips it cost? (a lot) 
How many laughs did you caught? (a lot) 
How many admins you shock? (a lot) 
How many times did you try? (a lot) 
How many times was it pride? (a lot) 
How many times you cold feet? (a lot) 
How many times did you sigh? (a lot) 
How many times your hope grieve? (a lot) 
How many times did it cry? (a lot) 
How many chances rap done gave you? (a lot) 
Thuggin’ round words like poets (a lot)

We give these schools they ground, we give these schools they ground 
We give these schools they ground, we give these schools they ground
We give these schools they ground, we give these schools they ground
We give these schools they ground, we make L.A. go ’round.

J.T.