A mural along Melrose avenue depicting Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna Bryant

A reflection on Father’s Day for every working-class father, and all the working-class mothers who also play the role in Los Angeles

(Pandemic in Los Angeles: Day 94)

On this day–during this most critical year for our nation–I hope it’s only becoming clearer that if our nation has respect for the concept of the family, then it should show that respect in its treatment of families everywhere by uplifting them, as Kobe “Bean” Bryant was celebrated for uplifting his daughter Gianna Bryant.

In the days and months following the untimely passing of this first-class pair, the city of Los Angeles, along with people all over America, mourned their sudden loss with many words, moments of silence, and testimonials. Though it may seem just a faint memory now, one can still recall that in the short time before the coronavirus, almost every other day in L.A. was marked by some kind of space for mourning the unthinkable loss of the Bryants and other families above the hills in Calabasas.

Today, when mothers and fathers march for the deaths of their sons and daughters–or those who could be their family members–especially following their deaths at the hands of law enforcement–which, don’t forget: are preventable deaths–they’re only participating in the same collective grieving that arose for these far more famous figures not long ago.

But every human life, no matter how rich or how poor, is absolutely worth the world, worth fighting for, and worth demanding a better world for, as so much of the working-class is now calling for, once again, in America. When state and public officials thus choose to meet such demands with indifference, force, or disdain, they are openly betraying–once again–one of the ideals they claim to want to uphold. Hence why we mourn, Los Angeles, and why we must continue to rise again.

The battle is long. But it is still our duty to win. Kobe Bryant knew this. And that’s why we loved him. Or at least, why we claimed to. The time has now come to extend that love to people just as human as Bryant and his 13 year old daughter. We march for justice.


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In Passing

It’s been three months since Dear Leo was published, and the name still rings across the city. It also still maintains a candlelight vigil at Virgil and Burns, where everyone from the local homies to the local hipsters, police officers, and others in the neighborhood has mutually respected the humble memorial set up by Leo’s friends and family.

Whether in South Central or East L.A., or even just around the corner in Echo Park, gang violence is still tearing across the streets of the city. At the same time, the stories which don’t make it to the news desks –of individuals within the community organizing, building, and breaking bread with each other– continue changing the cycle for a new generation of young people. I’ve seen it steadily since Leo’s passing, and as a result am more hopeful today than ever about contributing to the peace in Los Angeles.

If even through so many heated days and windy nights, Leo’s candlelights could still maintain their ‘peace’, then so can I. So can all of the neighborhood; from South Central to East Los, and from Echo Park to Pasadena, and everywhere in between and beyond, The L.A. Storyteller believes in the strength of each block and the people who honor them.

With More Soon,