EPISODE 58 – BELMONT HIGH SCHOOL IN THE 1960s

In our 58th episode, we are honored to chat with Karen “Kiwi” Burch, as well as her sister Cheryl McDonald. The sisters tell us about their respective careers in education through and beyond Los Angeles, their parents’ profound influence on their education, and the diverse student population of Belmont high school as early as 1963. Karen and Sheryl also describe running for the Associated Student government at Belmont high school, the once-prevalent LAUSD practice of “funneling” non-white students to separate schools, redlining’s impact on their families, and their grandparents’ cafeteria at none other than the Central Public Library. A truly can’t miss post-session for fans of our special panel series.

J.T.

Family Continues To Uplift in Luis Ek’s Name with Cochinita Pibil Sale this Saturday, the 24th, and Sunday, the 25th

The Ek family is hosting a special weekend food sale from 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM this Saturday, the 24th, and Sunday, the 25th, in the Virgil Village area to raise funds for memorial services honoring Luis Ek, 31, who unexpectedly passed away last Tuesday, April 13th, leaving behind two daughters.

The featured dish for the fundraiser, Cochinita Pibil, is a classic slow-roasted and marinated pork dish from the state of Yucatán, Mexico. Orders placed will be for pick-up only. To get your plate and support this effort by Luis’s family, please call (213) 793-5671.

J.T.

Please Uplift the Name of Luis Ek, whose daughters, now miss their Papa

This Tuesday, April 13th, in the early morning hours, Luis Ek, pictured above this column at the top right with his two daughters, died of unknown causes just a block away from his home while attending to an errand. He was only 31 years old.

Luis Ek (Licho to friends), second from the left, with his clan since childhood in 2007.

As was customary for youth growing up along Virgil avenue in the early 2000s, Luis attended Lockwood Elementary, King Middle school, and John Marshall High school.

Also true to the fashion for many young Latinx kids in our community, Luis came to love heavy metal music at an early age in his life, and was as true to the form, replete with the rockero style of black hoodies, jeans, and skateboards, as he was loyal to his many friends, primos, and more who knew him.

One of Luis’s life-long friends and neighbors, Rene Martinez, noted of Luis, whose nickname was Licho:

“Happy, always smiling, ready to crack jokes. And always willing to help no matter what. Always had your back.”

In his early twenties, Luis became a father of two girls. After a separation from their mom, Luis faithfully attended to his daughters as their single parent. His daughters will now miss their papa, who could often be seen walking with the girls along Virgil avenue on their way to school, or just out for a stroll along Hoover street and the accompanying thoroughfares.

Constantly on his feet, one could also run into Luis picking up some pupusas after work at local California Grill, or laughing with one of the compradres over a drink after work. He was rarely ever truly alone; constantly on his way to someone, or for someone, in good spirits.

In 2018, for our community’s first-ever Back 2 School Party, Luis attended the show with his daughters, reliably smiling on. Our main photographer for the event, Samanta Helou-Hernandez, captured this photo of the trio.

Luis Ek (Licho), with his two daughters at the first-ever Back 2 School Party in East Hollywood; August 25, 2018. Photo courtesy of Samanta Helou-Hernandez at This Side of Hoover.

Luis is now survived by his two daughters, his mama and papa, siblings, tios, tias, primos, and many friends locally in Los Angeles and out as far as Yucatan, Mexico.

His prima, Genesis Ek, has set up this FUNDRAISER for a proper ceremony with respect to his untimely passing.

J.T.