Rick from Rick's Produce, Serving the People

Our communities are not defined just by struggle. We thrive even as we fight for our humanity

(Pandemic in Los Angeles: Day 100)

Through more than five lifetimes across the American continent, even after the genocide and enslavement of our bloodlines, from the rainforests of Brazil to the mountaintops of Canada, and through this dizzied land of war-songs and bombs, Indigenous, African and more descendants of colonization have still managed to live, love, and laugh in America. We still do. Some days we only manage one of the three. But we get close enough. Each day we fight to keep living.

Most of all, we continue to push past heaps of winds threatening to slow down our progress. Let it not be forgotten that as hostility for our communities rose, our communities chose to rise up in power, guided by love, not by hatred. Let it not be forgotten how this pandemic has shown the whole world the way we keep rising. The way we refuse to be put down.

As one student I worked with last year put it in her first spoken-word poem:

“We broke them damn chains.”


We continue breaking them today. What has also lain exposed after three months of “Pandemic in Los Angeles” is that while the people’s elected leadership and representatives have largely failed in their duties to serve our communities, the people themselves have not. The land forgets nothing. And we are the land.

More than as just Americans, we have acted as global citizens with the world for our localities. In marching, outraging, and organizing, we have done so not just for the benefit of ourselves, but for the benefit of all people, for the 21st century and beyond, if our global pueblo can manage to see it.

We have done an immeasurable amount of teaching, just as we’ve done an astounding amount of learning. Consistently in our discourse it’s become apparent that our teaching and learning has been most of all for ourselves, to continue uplifting our youth, families, elders for the sake of one lifetime.

If white Americans have been able to grow in their perspectives from our teachings, which have been offered to all since the first day, to become more than “not racist,” but actually anti-racist, then great. If not, that’s fine as well, because what’s also become abundantly clear for our communities is that it’s not our responsibility as the oppressed to consistently guide our oppressors into behaving more humanely. Moreover, it’s clear that in any case, whiteness is breaking itself down, collapsing under its own fictitious weight, exposing its brutality through the baton for anyone who dares to challenge the inequality it has created as anything but just. One way or another, white Americans need to come to terms with this, which is likely not the end of “whiteness,” but the end of white supremacy, to the best of their abilities.

As for our communities, which still need to see to the development of at least the next generation of great teachers, artists, critical thinkers and more to expand on this great, axis-turning shift in consciousness:

We have an incredibly long way to go. But that’s because we have incredibly long ages to live for.


As I witness the brilliance of our people despite even a great fracturing of the roads before us during these last few months, I think of all the societies lost, burned down by the greed of the colonists and slave-masters; of all the great minds, kidnapped and broken into by the infectious lust for power. But the fact of the matter is that these minds never wholly died, just as the societies never entirely vanished. The land never forgets; its roots are here once again now, speaking through only more of our voices as we collectively reclaim a world we know we’ve been given to uphold.

Speaking of which, this makes 100 blogs from yours truly in as many days for “Pandemic in Los Angeles.” Thank you to each and every reader and supporter, and please expect more soon after a small break to refresh the sound and keyboards.

J.T.

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Kevin Walton King: During Crisis, Love is Essential

I was hesitant to write some of my thoughts during this time of change and transition due to the Coronavirus. The main reason is because it seemed odd to me to offer my metaphysical musings at a time when people are looking for physical solutions: Food. Economic resources. Material comfort and the like. But I realize there is no time like the present to focus on what is important to us. Finally, more people, including our mayors and governors are asking, what is essential to human culture and life? What are things or activities we can do without? Maybe in this way we can begin to live simpler and more sustainable lifestyles.

At the micro level we can ask the same questions. What is important to me? What gives my life meaning, joy, and strength and vitality? And when we find the answer, we can then find the courage to make sure that we commit to those things. For what gives us joy is a gift not only to ourselves but also to the world. Without these gifts being let to shine, we are left collectively poorer and wanting.

In my own life, I’ve found that love is essential. But I also understand that during trauma and crisis and times of transition it can be very hard to remember that love is essential. That joy is essential. That a smile is essential. That creativity is essential. The teacher said that ‘we can not live by bread alone.’ That means that there is an intangible nature to life. A spiritual nature. You can’t name it, but you know it when you experience it.

Trauma and crisis and transition bring our focus rightly to the material, but life is not only trauma and crisis and transition. The teacher has something to say about this as well when he offers ‘that he came to give us life and life more abundantly.’ The abundant life is a full life. Life in all its fecundity. Flourishing life. Life that beams in all seasons and at all times so that during the harvest we sing songs of triumph and during a drought we shout the blues.

I also understand that this time of adversity will affect our emotional and mental and spiritual well being. For some, it will be exasperating, one more inconvenience and difficulty and chaotic event thrust upon their already overwhelmed life.

For others, it will be like the Polish tale of the Rabbi who advises the farmer to bring his livestock into his home even as the farmer complains that his home is chaotic and devoid of peace and quiet. Many of us, like the farmer in that tale, may experience a moment of liberation when we realize that the majority of our complaints, in the grand scheme of things, are of little consequence.

The majority of us, however, will find ourselves somewhere in the middle. And the blessing of this state is that we will realize that we are a part of a vast continuum, with stress and anxiety on the one end, and liberation at the other. And with our eyes open to this reality we may find that we are a part of an expansive and infinite world full of possibilities. May we all, especially at this time of challenge, experience the greatest of these possibilities.

(This article was first published in The Weekly Oracle)

K.K.

Alan Keving Walton King is one of a growing number of Love Performers who finds creative ways to add love to his life and, in doing so, helps us to remember that love never fails. King is also the author and mind behind The Weekly Oracle, where he is an “oracle for the people – what is substantive, what matters, the heart, the core [of] what is important, what touches us deeply, out of which we come into being, and through which the world is created.”

Happy New Year! From Los Angeles

It’s a gift as precious as daylight to be able to greet the readers of JIMBO TIMES at the brink of a new year again. In the days following last Summer’s Back to School event, and the subsequent campaign to save Super Pan, my hands found themselves clinched before the magnitude of a host of other challenges and adventures through The City. Amid all of the bobbing and weaving to get to the next round with these latest travails, J.T. needed to be placed on hold, but at no point did the pages actually leave my sight.

In fact, The L.A. Storyteller has only gotten better organized. For example, readers can now visit the Poetry page for odes to The City in verse from yours truly. Or, they can visit the Events page for a list of gatherings featuring JIMBO TIMES and other friends over the last few years. There’s still more to do to bridge all the website’s material into one synchronized organ, but what I’ve learned through my time administrating for the website is that it’s a constant updating process.

I’ve also found that writing is a challenging, time-staking sequence of events that requires sums of energy and also one that takes a certain process of maturing in order for the clearest voice to break through. It’s mind-boggling to think of just how much of the world is actually made up in this way, that is, with so much effort from the ground up, day by day, one footstep after another. I look to continue writing the pages of JIMBO TIMES as such.

I read once that your heart is a muscle the size of a fist. Therefore, to clench my hands as extensions of that muscle before the gravity of a new world is to brace myself for the extension of life itself; to fight to keep what small body I have before its long shadow alive. The body of JIMBO TIMES.

And so I join the timeless fight for survival that I sprung from myself one day; a fight taking place all across The City but also beyond it, amid all of the places I’ve been to as well and many more I’ve yet to see; a world made up of peers, predecessors, successors and more alike, all of whom turn Los Angeles into Los Cuentos.

So let’s keep the momentum. And let’s keep it magnanimous, LOS.

J.T.