Who is your Neighborhood, the team behind two back to school parties in East Hollywood, is Now Official

It’s true! Quien Es tu Vecindario–also known as Who Is Your Neighborhood–or the team behind two Back 2 School parties in the LACC area for two consecutive years, is now an official “non-profit” corporation for arts and education in East Hollywood registered with the state of California, entity number C4612184.

The organization is the first non-profit in East Hollywood founded and led by members of the community born and raised in the community of immigrant single mothers and families. Following completion of our first fund-raiser, the team will begin work on our first grant application for opportunity programming with the L.A. County Department of Art & Culture. Goals for programming this Fall include an online book club for the neighborhood, homework help for teens, and forums for families in our community during these trying times.

Keep up with Quien Es tu Vecindario online, and please don’t hesitate to reach out with any lines of support. To be sure, as with our “unofficial” events before any non-profit lingo, we do not need a lot of money. We just need a lot of ganas!

J.T.

Summer 2020 will be the time to Empower more Parents to Become Teachers in Los Angeles

(Pandemic in Los Angeles: Day 68)

Despite a trove of news reports over these last two months, I believe one cuento that’s still under-reported has been that of a generation of parents in Los Angeles coming to know their children’s education amid this shutdown in ways that may have once been inconceivable.

Living in the tight-knit quarters of Los Angeles’s tiny places for home, it’s safe to say the process for this has been rife with emotions, lung-raising, and bodies shifting reluctantly to rest after lengthy days at home.

In Los Angeles, with 80% of LAUSD’s families at or below the poverty line, it’s meant only doing more with less. Despite the loss of work and income, the education of their children has still had to move forward, even if imperfectly.

I know many students in these families have done their best to keep up with their teachers despite all the last-minute scrambling, but I also know that many others who were already struggling have only been further disconnected. In both cases, it’s been critical for parents to see this at home.

As Superintendent Beutner has pointed out:

“When schools are open it’s relatively simple to measure attendance and have a pretty good sense of a how engaged a student is…You can see it in their body language, their interaction in the classroom, and in their work. Online, it’s not so simple. A login on a computer doesn’t necessarily mean a student’s engaged in learning, and the absence of a login if a student’s reading a book or working on a writing assignment can also be misleading.”

A shared understanding between educators anywhere is that we are constantly learning, and that we only learn more by asking questions of what we see around us. Now, more parents can place educators’ hats on themselves to ask:

Why is my child’s education important?
What tools do I have to support my child’s education, and what tools do I still need?
Despite the most recent challenges, do I still want my child to go to college?

For decades, the ways to create an environment for learning at home in ways that complement an environment for learning at school have been underappreciated, or written off as something there isn’t enough time to scrutinize during the frenzy of a school-year filled with homework assignments, standardized testing, and more. Now, with a summer of online learning ahead in Los Angeles, and possibly even further time at home, there is only more reason for parents to learn with their children.

These parents cannot be alone in this process, because another shared understanding between educators everywhere is that no child can get to college on their own, just as no single teacher can get them there; in fact, it does still take a village.

If that village is not there, then this is the time to call it forward and organize it.

Because here’s one last understanding between educators everywhere: we are not just constantly learning. Our actions ensure that we are also constantly teaching.

So now the question is simply what we want to teach, Los Angeles. The city’s future is counting on us.

J.T.

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A New Support Line for Workers, Families, Elderly and Disabled People in East Hollywood During this Crisis

Written all en español for madres solteras, mayores de edad, gente discapacitada, familias inmigrantes, y más, the Quien Es Tu Vecindario website posts daily updates and also maintains a chat-line to inform the community and keep them resource-full. Please take some time to visit the website, or direct someone you know who may need to it. And if you’d like to get involved or support, please reach out through our contact page.

A nuevo flyer for Quien Es Tu Vecindario, an arts and education collective in East Hollywood.

Thank you Los Angeles,

J.T.

Our Community is Getting Stronger, Este Hollywood

From the words of Dr. Mary Gallagher, President of Los Angeles City College:

“On Saturday, August 24th from 4 to 8 PM, staff from the non-credit department of LACC participated in a great local community event called Back 2 School 2, marking the second year of this event. I was able to attend and hear all of the things going on at the ‘grass roots’ level of our community. LACC was included because of the GED preparation and testing we do. We also provided information from some of our students currently attending non-credit classes. It was a fabulous event. I look forward to next year.”

Dr. Gallagher’s recognition of BTS 2 is a milestone achievement for the work to uplift more vecindades in East Hollywood and throughout Los Angeles. In the days ahead, the work to keep strengthening our community will remain challenging, but I also believe that as our special event showed this past Saturday–and last year–the promise of the work will remain bright and full of encouragement. There will be more following up on the success of BTS 2, but for now, I’d like to express my deepest thanks to each supporter, close and afar, who took a moment to contribute to this critical day for our neighborhood and families all throughout this great city.

J.T.

Estimados Padres y Madres de Back 2 School 2,

Dear Parents & Guardians of Back 2 School 2,

Who Is Your Neighborhood is a local organization of young professionals–many of whom grew up in the vicinity known as East Hollywood in Los Angeles–as well as fellow residents and other supporters, whose mission is to serve and support local families for the benefit and improvement of our community, which is a predominantly working class, immigrant community of renters and first-generation families.

At our first Back 2 School Party last August 2018, we provided a free day of art, food, music, poetry, and other programs for over 50 different guests from in and around East Hollywood; families walked away with artwork, prizes, new information about local resources, and most importantly: a stronger sense of community in their vicinity than when they first walked into our program.

This year, our goal is to provide a second Back 2 School Party with an even stronger program for guests to participate in. And this is the key goal: participation. In order for us to improve this critical service, the ultimate goal of which is to improve the quality of life for families in our community overall, the work requires continual and increased participation from others. We therefore hope that this day with Back 2 School 2 will encourage families to participate in future versions of this program.

As parents of the next generation of our community, you and your children hold the keys to our future. We therefore honor your valuable contributions to life in our city with this special day dedicated to you. In the days ahead, we can use your support to build even more for our community to grow and prosper from. Thank you for your time, and please enjoy a wonderful day with us in East Hollywood this Saturday, August 24th, 2019!

Your friend and fan,

Jimmy “Jimbo” Recinos,
Quien Es tu Vecindario

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.