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.

Brothers

Used to be inseparable. Just two kids from two cities along campus ground together.

Used to philosophize and riddle and debate as if no issue in our midst couldn’t diffuse.

Used to reflect on our classes together. Mutual friends. Romances. Foreign policy. No end.

Broke down habits. Responses to each other. Prism of our minds. That’s what homies were.

What being alive was.

I remember our deliberations on these grounds together:

Maximum profit by maximum strain,

Watching it unfurl across the world around us in lanes.

Student debt. Police. Prison policy.

Fast food. Oldies. Air in our pockets.

Worn out rooms another night. And yet, the unity.

Except I never would have expected walls to build around us as they did,

Somewhere along the way the strain got the best of us.

Perhaps the best of me,

Perhaps the best of you.

Now memory flutters wailing past Los Angeles,

Slave patrol still hovering.

People still coughing up on the sidewalk

While still more profits margin.

Turning the corner,

A brother hobbling along the street asks if I know

Where he can find a pookie,

Nah’.”

It’s been ten summers since we first spoke the rage.

Before another ten go by, I hope to find you again

If only to break free from this rift with you.

One between two

J.T.

Top 5 DON’TS with Your Friends this Summer

Okay, so hanging out with your friends (or not) over Summer can be a little tricky sometimes. This is especially true when you’re mostly used to seeing your friends at school since once school is out, there are different challenges that come up like not being able to see each other, or not exactly knowing what to do when you do see each other since you’re not on your usual routines. Here are five tips to keep in mind to make the most of all of it!

1. DON’T underestimate how much fun you can still have without your besties this summer. While it’s true that once school is out you can technically spend more time with each other without teachers looking over you, more often than not, summer STILL keeps you from many of the friends you enjoy talking and laughing the most with. This can feel very isolating. At some points you may even ask, “If we’re not seeing each other, are we still friends?” You’ll have time to figure this out later, but for now, just know this: you can definitely still enjoy the gifts of summer sunshine even without the cast of your besties surrounding you.

2. DON’T worry if it seems like “things are suddenly changing” with your friends for some strange reason. The fact of the matter is that things, including people, are always in motion. Even through the sluggish nature of the season at times, things continue shifting all around us. Take the tectonic plates of Southern California, for example; in less than three weeks this summer 2019, we’ve had hundreds of earthquakes rattling everything around us! So even the earth is moving, my friend, just like us. As it was during the shaking and rolling quakes, the whole feeling of “being out of control” over what happens with your friends can be strange and overwhelming. But then, after you get through it, it’s actually a pretty cool Cuento to look back on. And you know how much we love Los Cuentos!

3. DON’T just copy what your friends are doing because that’s the only way you can stay friends. I’m going to remind you of a little secret we can all lose sight of as we “grow up” together: It’s a myth, as in, not true, that you’ve got to be “just like each other” to remain besties with your buds. The fact is that each of you can do the things that satisfy you personally, even if they’re very different things. You do not have to walk all the same streets together, or even walk and talk in the same way. If you truly “got each other’s” backs, you’ll respect the differences between you. 100!

4. DON’T let your friends miss their next chance to win a new Los Cuentos Hoodie. That would just be selfish. And wrong. Tell them about the contest so you can all give it a shot together like true friends. Or, I guess you can do it on your own! It’s your life! Don’t let me stop you!

5. DON’T just watch your friends’ stories online and figure that’s all there is to do. I know, this one is really hard. Our phones are addicting, even if most of us don’t like admitting just how addicting! But there’s good news: Human beings were doing just fine without smartphones thousands of years before they took control of our fingertips! Which simply means that you can definitely take just a few hours away from your phone to do something of your own thing. But hey, isn’t it ironic, or just a little funny, that I’m advising you to take time off your phones from my website, which by default requires you to be online, and which probably means you’re still spending more time on your phones watching other people’s stories, which is what this item on our list is advising you not to get stuck on?!

Okay, that’s enough, then! Excuse me while I unplug for a little while, friend.

J.T.