Pandemic in Los Angeles: Day 41

I want to take a moment through this series to recognize the myriad of teachers, professors, and other educators in Los Angeles whose herculean efforts to continue providing instruction to the many students relying on them are a clear show of the profound work they take part in on a daily basis during circumstances of all kind.

Only yesterday, I spoke briefly with an instructor who informed me that they “have no weekends,” as they do the work of lecturing, advising, and grading for three different classes with more than two dozen learners in each class all by themselves.

I marveled at the heroism in the professor’s voice, unbeknownst even to them as they told me of their troubles. Then I remembered a line by another professor, one of my favorites, from many years ago:

“Being a professor, is just like being in college for the rest of your life.”

Of course, it made perfect sense when she said it. And I can still remember thinking to myself, I can do that too.

So guess who’s looking at a credentialing program this morning. Our teachers need help! Let’s assure them more support is on the way.

J.T.

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Pandemic in Los Angeles: Day 38

I am driven by the challenge to not only survive, but to thrive all across Los Angeles, even during this most unusual time. The fact of the matter is that I love challenging myself, taking on one task after another, and finding out just how I’ll get through.

I know I’m doing it all for a story, or for a cuento, which I will get to share with many generations for many days to come. To that end, it’s my great pleasure to announce that I’ve officially received my Certificate of Clearance from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.

In the long term, the certificate allows me to pursue a teaching credential to become an official teacher in the state of California sometime within the next five years. In the shorter term, it assures that once the students get back to school later this year, I’ll be available to support their community on stand-by as a Substitute teacher.

It boggles my mind to think that I could actually do this. For the longest time, even while I believed that education was a world I was destined to be a part of, I struggled to find exactly what my role in it could be. This was due to a number of factors, including many jobs lost, many other jobs gained, and at some point as a result the notion that perhaps I had very little to offer my community after all.

But like the magical screen-printer from Compton whose talent allows me to pursue another dream for myself through Los Angeles, it’s true that at the end of the day, every human being has something totally unique and valuable to offer the world.

In turn, whether I am a substitute or a fully-certified teacher for students in Los Angeles and across California, what I can be certain of is this: I will give it my all to make our time an extraordinary one.

J.T.

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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.