Fundraising for Our Party Begins Today Los Angeles

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Greetings,

I hope this note finds you well. Today it’s a tremendous pleasure to share a monumental development in my work as a community writer, photographer, and organizer in Los Angeles.

On Saturday, August 25, 2018, along with a team of my peers, I’m overseeing a community gathering at El Gran Burrito restaurant. El Gran Burrito been owned by the same immigrant family for nearly 30 years, standing at at the intersection of Vermont Avenue and Santa Monica in East Hollywood.

The event will be a day of workshops, music, and dialogue for the local families of my neighborhood.

For parents, workshops will touch on local issues such as Renter’s Rights, Women’s Self-Defense, and Youth Crisis/Intervention programs. For teens, workshops will feature live art sessions, writing groups, sample book-making, and more. All of the facilitators for our workshops, like us, the organizers, will be volunteering their time for the day. And all parents and students attending our workshops will be given one raffle ticket each for a big show at the end.

Following workshop, our guests will be treated to lunch, that is, ‘GRAN’ burritos, as well as an Open Mic or open performance session, and of course, the MAJOR “Back to School” raffle. Items we look to hand out through the raffle include backpacks, Metro TAP cards, a skateboard, a bicycle, a scooter, helmets, and more. The goal is to have 50 people take part in this experience.

The event is unlike anything I’ve ever seen in my neighborhood before, and I’m exceptionally proud to be designing it alongside my peers, who are fellow locals and people raised in the community here like myself. I’m also in a slight crisis due to the event, however, as I now need to reach out to the larger community for support.

I am fundraising for this event on behalf of my community because it is the great gift of this country that such a thing is even possible. I think of the 13 year old and his or her mother, who will walk into El Gran Burrito on August 25 simply to get lunch, only to hear the music outside and walk on over to give it a chance. My great obsessive dream is to show these folks that they are magnanimously valued, by providing them with a day of resources and activities designed to uplift their social and creative spirits. I want to then call the raffle ticket number that’s going to gift a scooter or even a bicycle to one of these families for them to take home that day, because I believe such ‘little things’ can go quite a long way. I know that it’s somewhat absurd to visualize things so charitably, but I also remind myself that it’s instances like these when I was a youth which filled me with hope about some future. Now, I believe it’s my great responsibility as a young professional to give that feeling right back to the next generations of my community. Below is the outline for the fundraising I hope to do:

Lunch: $300

Printing Materials (flyers, wide paper for drawing, printed J.T. photography for raffle, and more): $300

4 Metro TAP cards with $25 fares loaded: $104

Backpacks, 1 Scooter & 1 Bicycle, 1 Skateboard and 3 helmets: $500

Extra materials to support facilitators: $300

Promotional Budget: $100

Total: $1,604

The truth is that I’ve never raised so much money for a single event before. But what’s also true is that I have an immense belief in the importance of this event for me and my peers, and for the families who we’re trying to put this together for. I believe enough in this collective moment for us to make this call, asking once again, for the support of an even larger community than the one through these streets; to the ones out there.

To donate, you can click the following: DONATE.

And to learn more about the special day, supporters can visit our facebook page HERE, where we’re also posting video updates for the event:

Thank you for your time, and please expect to hear from me sometime next week with an update on this crazy campaign! We are eighteen days away.

As always: with heart, honor, and respect,

J.T.

Look up from the deep, the static

Gold Line, Chinatown; Winter 2019
Gold Line, Chinatown; Winter 2019

All you see is what was,

what is
apparently,
enough.

Lungs inhaling, people slipping
past a line.

Space collapsing on itself;
time churning, slipping, sulking.

Light pulsing,
passing,
placing,

itself

on a face it’s seen before, or a billion of them

Only to leave them,
fading endlessly
into darkness.

Or what’s called darkness,
death, or a dead end. The abyss.

A dark point; or a point within itself.

A point not going anywhere, lying still in the middle of space.

A point trapped within itself, frozen,
suspended, sucked of all its time.

A point alive only when it’s named, but at no other point in time.

No other–
What’s the point

Getting larger and larger into emptiness.

Universe unfurling into a big empty nothing.

All forms of life fading, disintegrating from light, proceeding into darkness

Fragmenting into space

outer,
empty,
space.

Just space, taking space, creating space,
transforming

gone.

space.

Lying amid a billion other empty spaces just like it.

Nearly breathless, though still heaving.

Nearly obliterated, but still funneling

Consciousness

still percolating information

still transmitting noise into

this.

Pointless roads. Until now.

Breaking ground until BROKEN

A howl throttles from eons away

A vision spirals from the blood of these veins:

HOW tomorrow we rise again.

Look up from the deep, the static

All of time and space,

The stars.

They are still OURS.

J.T.

There’s nothing to fear

When you hold yourself up long enough

After a while,

The stars begin to catch you if you fall.

Let’s spread our wings Los Angeles;

Let’s fall and fall

And rise again.

J.T.

Dear Los Angeles,

It’s actually been quite some time since I wrote a ‘letter’ to The City. But at last, I’m back with so much excitement for what I see ahead. But before what’s ahead, I want to take a moment with The People of J.T. to think about what’s been.

As I said to a friend the other day, somehow things are always interesting for yours truly, with the last few months of work proving to be no exception.

It’s been nearly six months since I linked up with Starbucks, and while many terms come to mind for the experience, even to say it’s been fascinating would be an understatement. I think back to the first week on the job, when the act of standing for four to eight hours of the day flat out exhausted me by the time a shift came to an end. I’d go home and just doze off during those early days, and when I’d get the day off of work, I’d mostly just spend it at home, resting my body, and enjoying the peace and quiet of the neighborhood as opposed to the noise and commotion on the job.

At the same time, while at home, I’d take a glance at J.T., and mostly pass up the idea of another entry, telling myself that I’d get to it when just the right idea came along. A part of me was content with this, as I figured that rather than waiting for the right idea to come along, I’d sort of just let it happen more organically instead.

Naturally, however, another part of me couldn’t help but get a little anxious about the infrequency of an update, as it felt like I was neglecting the site. Beyond this, there were other things going on: needs around the home, schools to visit with The Plus Me Project, or weekly classes to attend with the InsideOUT Writers program.

And with work always around the corner, J.T. sort of had to edge out at the seams in the background. Following this period, as I got more in touch with the rhythm of work, J.T. found itself interested in the dynamics of the work environment, i.e., the people. I suppose this was inevitable; the people at work were so much like me at the same time that we were all so distinct from each other.

At Starbucks there was a team, and the team was made up of different personalities, skill sets, and habits, all of which came together to form the machine that powered the work. This machine fascinated me, as it allowed me to observe the way my teammates dealt with the challenges of the job, and as it gave me the opportunity to hear them describe their challenges outside of the job.

Through it all, I searched and found common ground with my teammates, and at the end of the day, I couldn’t help but be humbled at just how much our time together would reveal to me not just about them, but about myself.

Naturally, I didn’t spend all my time at work sharing with the team just how much I’d go home and think about our interactions, or how I’d analyze the shifts we’d get through together, but it was inevitable that I’d find a way to sneak in a blurb or two about how I viewed us as a unit, just as it was inevitable that at first the team wouldn’t exactly get my views, smiling politely but also estranged from me.

Eventually though, the team would come around to appreciate the musings of yours truly as what one might call ‘Jimbo’s times’, and of course J.T. came around to truly appreciate the team.

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Nonetheless, even with an understanding between me and the good folks at work, as time passed the job wasn’t all smiles and laughter. Apart from the customers, at times the differences between the team also led to moments of distance, disagreement, and even dysfunction. This would mean more than just a shortcoming at the store, but it’d mean that rifts would take form, and that we’d either have to resolve our differences or make a shift harder than it needed to be.

More often than not, we chose to be a team, which spoke to just how good of a unit we actually were, but even when there were issues that went unresolved, in my view they didn’t really stem from any deep-seeded differences between each other, but rather from how one of us felt at a particular moment on a particular day of a particular week in contrast to someone else’s feelings.

At once this revealed the way any given moment of a day is made from the singularity between a myriad of moments before and around it, at the same time that it revealed just how any moment really does wield the power to shape our days, and by extension, the lives we lead.

And as this came into perspective for me at the job, I realized how the time I spent away from the pages of J.T. was in a way traded for a time in which I could only embody J.T. as a lifestyle; one of humility, resilience, and hope, and constantly drawing inspiration from the work-day.

This would go on to show me how more than sunshine or car culture, and more than ‘chucks’ or ‘American Apparel’, more than anything, really, L.A. is so much work, or a place filled with hard workers, including yours truly.

The thing is, as the days on the job became weeks, and as the weeks became months, somehow going to work became less about making money, and more about about honoring a dedication; a dedication to the team, to my mother, and to myself.

It was strange, as I learned a lot about just how much I can handle at the same time that I learned about my limitations in a way I wasn’t aware of before the job, which forced me to take a step back from it all.

When I did this, I realized how grateful I was for work, and for the regularity it provided, and for the people it exposed me to, all of which showed me that not only could I stand for four or eight hours, but that I could meet my friends afterwards, hang into the morning, and still walk into work to get through another day.

This showed me my resilience, but more importantly, it brought to light how all the time and energy I’ve spent working for Starbucks over the last six months is exactly the kind of time and energy that I want to put back into JIMBO TIMES: The L.A. Storyteller.

At this critical time, where the whole world is still ahead of me, I know I can do anything I truly want to, but that what I want is still to take the city of L.A. on a ride like it’s never seen before!

I also know that I’m already on my way, and that the journey is promising, but that there’s still a great deal of ground to cover. As with any job or investment, I’m not afraid of the time it will take nor the challenges that I’ll find, but I’m eager to get started on delivering something amazing.

I’m also thankful for every ally that has helped me to reach this point — including the people at Starbucks as well as those outside of it — and for every ally still coming up!

At the end of the day, I’m confident that we’re all still coming up; and as I move forward with just what this will mean for The L.A. Storyteller, I trust that the people of J.T. will hold me accountable!

With honor, respect, and so much excitement for what’s ahead,

J.T. – The L.A. Storyteller

Dear Friends,

With only one more weekend left before The PLUS ME Project’s big fundraiser, it’s a pleasure to thank so many friends for purchasing their tickets to the event! It’s also a pleasure to share a little more about what makes the organization so special.

As I wrote in my last note, speaking with students over the last couple of months hasn’t just been a lot of fun, it’s also been an honor. The truth of it is, going to schools is a humbling experience: more often than not, the students are filled with energy, humor, and the desire to just have a good time! Which makes the work easy.

And I’ll be honest, at first I prepared for something different: I thought students would be skeptical and just not all that into my visit to their classroom, at least, since that’s how I often found myself feeling about so many other educators during high school. By contrast, I’ve found that most students are happy to welcome visitors to their schools. After all, they’re there for an education! And most students do appreciate an opportunity to learn from someone else, especially when they know that someone cares.

Here, I think it’s particularly important to recognize the power of acknowledging the youth in our city. In the “concrete jungle” of L.A., it’s easy to take for granted how much so many students have to harden themselves to at such an early age: streets, homelessness, violence, and everything in between.

And I think that now more than ever, in an age where smartphones and the internet are so widespread, there’s just an incredible amount of information rushing at young people. So much, in fact, that they just have to wall themselves off in order to remain healthy. What’s more, if this information is anything like what I see online, then there’s a lot of negative imagery being sent their way, making it all the more special when someone from outside of their school stops by to let them know that–contrary to what so much of the media says about things–it’s going to be okay.

The students cheer their hearts out for this! They laugh, and applaud, and this energy catches on like fire. It radiates so brightly that one can’t help but laugh and applaud with them, which in turn lights up the entire room in the triumphant wavelengths of a community celebrating itself. Together, we affirm one thing loudly and clearly: that no matter what’s going on out there, we still have each other, and that because of this, everything is going to be okay after all!

For this experience, I’m indefinitely thankful to The PLUS ME Project, and you can see why I’m all the more excited for next Saturday! On May 2nd, another room is set to light up again, to celebrate the magical power of storytelling, acknowledgement, and ultimately, the community which its developed over the last couple of months! And I can only hope you’ve got your ticket too, as I can assure you, we’ll be happy to have you there.

With Cheers,

Jimmy “JIMBO” Recinos

Dear L.A.,

JIMBO TIMES is officially seven months old tomorrow, and seven months later, I’m just as ambitious about its potential as ever! I want to build, and build, and build higher ground with JT like the skyscrapers of L.A., and I want to design, and refine, and redefine what it means for the people who have supported my journey over the years.

In an effort to get one step closer to that next level, over the last two weeks I’ve sent out the link for JT to two different organizations in hopes of landing a good job with them. Finally, Rejection doesn’t mean any kind of failure to me. It only entails the process of going from one door to the next until I find the right one by which to burst onto the scene.

Maybe failure’s always meant that to me: a part of the process. At the end of the day, I don’t believe anything has ever really failed me in a full sense of the word. I think everything has worked cohesively with every other facet of the universe to lead me just to where I am.

And over the past seven months of working on JT, I’ve exposed myself to the world of creative forces out there like never before! But I’m just getting started. The two organizations I’ve sent the website to are only the tip of the iceberg; I’m going to take JT everywhere. At the same time, I can see my photography reaching new depths, and it’s not just that I’ve got a new camera to play with, but it’s also that I’m playing with more patience, subtlety, and simply more experience at shooting something and delivering it to viewers in an interesting way; it all adds up!

Of course, getting to this point hasn’t been a breezy walk in the park. Like the thousands of photos I’ve shot for the website, only a tiny fraction of them have made it to see the page. The same is true for moments like these; in a world with so many twists and turns for the mind, there’s only so much time to stop and say hey there to the rest of what’s going on! Still, here we are, and the few moments we get to share our hope with the world are made all the more precious by each of those moments we can only treasure for ourselves.

Tonight though, those moments are one in an absolutely marvelous feeling of hope. And so, from the sacred silence of my mom’s place here in L.A., on through the ends of the Milky Way: my hope is your hope, my love is your love, and our shared success is inevitable. Like the days of the new Spring ahead of us, we’re each just waiting to have our work blossom!

With everlasting hope for those days ahead,

Jimmy “JIMBO” Recinos