Waiting Again, Los Angeles

We wait and we wait and we wait. Patiently. Lovingly. Anguished.

We wait for our schools to be safe,

For our streets to be cleaned,
For our vecindades to have jobs,
And for our kids to walk through these spaces without being criminalized.

We wait for our neighbors to stop leering at us,

For their dogs to stop barking at us,
For them to stop calling the police on our tios,
And for them to stop acting as if we entered their havens.

We wait for our landlords to answer our calls,

For our faucets to have clean water,
For our rent to be stabilized,
And for our roofs to stop caving in on us every time it rains.

We wait for our clinics to admit us without discriminating us,

For our doctors to work with us instead of just getting rid of us,
For our ‘coverage’ to stay put without our having to reapply,
And for healthcare that isn’t based on our (in)ability to pay.

We wait for our jobs to pay livable wages,

For our coworkers to stop bullying us,
For our interviewers to stop merely using our names,
And to work for our communities rather than just for the owners in our communities.

We also wait for these billionaires to stop bloating our veins,

For our ‘checks and balances’ to check and balance the ‘foundations’,
For our greatest pollutants, the GMs and the Exxon Mobiles, to be reined in,
And we for ‘officials’ who don’t call for these things only when it’s election season.

Finally, we wait for the courts to stop feeding on our vulnerability as these other waits manifest,

For any assistance in our resistance through these struggles to view us as partners rather than helpless,

For another way of life to finally arrive,

And for it to get here before it’s too late for another one of our babies.

We wait patiently. Lovingly. Anguished.

But the past has yet to die.

When is it time, Los Angeles.

J.T.

Thank You Once Again Los Angeles

I hope the new work-week finds you all well. This is ‘J.T.’ of Cahuenga Library’s Open Mic Saturday this past weekend, taking just one more moment to thank every one of our attendants for making it out to the first ever Open Mic hour as such at the branch.

After the momentous two-hour event with everyone, it dawned on me that each of us, from the Open Mic hour cast, to our Featured Languages trio, as well as from the Friends of Cahuenga team, to the team of volunteers the day of, and from the locals who came by just because, to myself, was not just a participant in the event, but a partner in it.

In seeing one another, we completed one another, and for this reason it’s my pleasure to share the pictures below with all. There is more memorabilia which I haven’t quite gathered yet, but which I’ll also be happy to pass along once ready. For now, the pictures include the ‘build-up’ photos to the event of Cahuenga’s surrounding area, as well as a few shots of the volunteers who helped organize the space, a couple of pictures of the Open Mic hours themselves, and the final group photo. Hashtags I’ve used for these pictures include:

#Multilingual, #Tongvalands, #RanchoCahuenga, #OpenMicCahuenga, #Immigrant, #Black, #Queer, #Resilience, and #LAPL #Stories. I’ve applied these terms in an effort to have more of the ‘identities’ implied by them reflected at our local libraries. If any of you are so inclined, it’d be great to have you all grow these and any additionally inclusive tags with me.

Also included in these photos are a few pictures of the beautiful mural painted in memory of Jesse, the ‘hijo, tio, and hermano‘ of the community who attendants learned about in what I’ll remember for a long time as one of the proudest and most important moments of our event: when a long-time member of la vecindad took the courageous step of making a stand for her loved one before everyone in attendance.

Thank you, M, once again. The strength of your heart, as well as the power of your voice are exactly what keep this vecindad and others like it going all across Los Angeles. Moving forward, please consider these and other events like them yours and that of all of our pueblo’s: mamaspapas, and abuelitas included, whose strength and courage we’ve been fortunate to learn from to carry on for our own health and well being, as well as for the generations that follow: the future of Los Angeles.

As a note: also included in this thread are those peers and friends who couldn’t make it to the event but who expressed interest at one point only to find themselves committed elsewhere the day of, as well as those peers and friends who I hope to see at the next one, which is in order; after so much unity in the community for our Open Mic this past weekend, a promising success, I’ve got a feeling we’ll be seeing more Open Mics and Open Mic-like events at the library. But one step at a time.

To be sure, following Saturday one thing that’s clear is that of course our communities need more events like these. It’s going to take some work though, which is to say more organizing, and that can only be accomplished with more unity in the community, which is to say, your voices. To that end, for those interested, I will be sure to follow up regarding the next Friends of Cahuenga board meeting.

In the meantime, please enjoy the rest of National Poetry month, and for anyone who needs me to send the pictures through another medium, just let me know and I’ll be happy to do so accordingly.

Thank you once again Los Angeles,

J.T.